Why your customers churn involuntarily and how to prevent it.

Mark Thompson




Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson

Episode Summary

Today on the show we have Mark Thompson, co-founder of PayKickstart.

In this episode, we talked about how an internal tool their team built ended up being their main product, affiliate programs as a channel for growth, and the challenges they face when it comes to churn & retention.

We also discussed how PayKickstart optimizes their onboarding to tackle churn, how they measure its impact, and how to avoid credit card failures by being proactive with your customers. 

Mentioned Resources



The holy grail of every online business. 00:01:60
How an internal tool their team built ended up being their main product 00:03:02
Why they decided to combine Billing management and affiliate management. 00:06:14
Affiliate Programs as a channel for growth and retention 00:07:54
What are their challenges when it churn & retention? 00:11:13
How PayKickstart optimize their onboarding to tackle churn and how they measure its impact 00:14:06
Simple hacks to retain customers - The dunning process 00:18:15
The hardest thing Mark had to learn about churn & retention and what he wished he knew before he got started. 00:22:36


Andrew Michael: [00:00:00] Hey, Mark. Welcome to the show

Mark Thompson: [00:00:02] thanks so much for having me, Andrew. Appreciate it

Andrew Michael: [00:00:04] it's a pleasure for the listeners. Mark is the cofounder of pay starts a flexible shopping carts, affiliate management platform. they have over 1,500 customers and they've processed over half a billion dollars in transactions since being founded in 2016.

prior to PayKickstart, Mark was the CEO and founder of digital kickstarts and has built and sold multiple companies over the past 12 years. So my first question for you, Mark, is what excites you about the subscription economy?

Mark Thompson: [00:00:32] I love it to me. It's the Holy grail, any online business, right? It's all about predictable revenue.

And that was a mistake I learned early on when I've created lots of different products and programs over the years and sold them online. And for many years I would sell them at a one time fee. And while that was nice to get a nice bump in revenue and you know, when they purchase, but you know, to me, that's not right.

Really building an online business. That's just really a revenue. Stream, just a short term [00:01:00] revenue model. So to me, you know, the recurring revenue model is the Holy grail of every online business.

Andrew Michael: [00:01:07] Yeah. I definitely echo that. I think the thing I love about it most is its predictability. Like once you get to a certain scale, like being able to predict your growth and understand like the different levels and the dolls that you can pull to increase, it is really magical.

I think when it comes to building and growing a company, a nice, so. Pancake starts, like, tell us a little bit about it. what is that you do? Like, how are you different from others in the market?

Mark Thompson: [00:01:34] Yeah. So we'll pick start started as an internal tool. So we have used every shopping cart under the sun to accept payments.

But what we noticed was that there were not very flexible. So back in the day before we even built pick, start, you know, we had different types of products. We had SAAS solutions, we had WordPress plugins. We had information programs. And we just noticed that there was just [00:02:00] very archaic. They were not flexible at all, and it didn't really adapt to our business, our business and the products that we offered.

So we just decided, you know, we were a software company and we were going to build it ourselves. And so that's what we did. So for a couple of years, we, built our own shopping cart and we managed, you know, accepting payments and managing our recurring revenue and manage our affiliate partners. And then we had people asking us.

About this platform that we created. And, we decided, you know, well, Hey, why not let other vendors use the platform? So we opened it up to a beta group group about four and a half years ago now, five years ago now. And, there kind of the rest is history. We had some people test it out. They gave us their feedback.

And we decided, you know, if we were going to go down this route and, and, you know, turn this into a mainstream, a SAS application that we really had to put our focus and effort for Intuit. And so as it started into it, internal tool, it's a quickly started to mature and grow over the last four years of [00:03:00] being open to the general public.

Andrew Michael: [00:03:02] Wow. So, and then this became, now the main focus in for the company. Did you, would you call this like a pivot and internal pivots and

Mark Thompson: [00:03:09] it did. Yeah, so we, we still have, you know, the digital kickstart business, which is our sister company. but a lot of it is kind of run. We have, you know, certain people that manage it.

the, like the majority of our time money, resources is going towards the growth of the PayKickstart platform. and so it's been kind of an exciting time for us over the last six to 12 months. with more people, more vendors starting to use the platform, I'm starting to, you know, getting building trust, especially when it comes to dealing with people's money on mine.

They, they really, I need to be able to trust the platform that they're using. And so I feel that we've really built that over the last few years, with our customers. And so, yeah, that's been our main focus.

Andrew Michael: [00:03:47] Yeah, it's very interesting. I think definitely billing is one of those areas. Like you mentioned, like there's a lot of different nuances that go into it and finding the right solution for your business is not always easy at the same time.

I think like in my personal [00:04:00] opinion, I think a lot of businesses make the mistake of trying to go and build their own custom solution in house. because I think ultimately like if you're not really focusing on your core competency as a business and really trying to deliver value to that, You ended up spending a lot of time and resources trying to build in these like billing functions and like probably as you've seen as well, like it became and consumed your business the end of the day.

Mark Thompson: [00:04:21] Yeah. I don't recommend it as someone who personally has built a billing system from scratch. I wouldn't recommend any business and I think that's one of the reasons that we, we and other people, you know, other, solutions out there are, are in business because, I think you realize once you start to go down that rabbit hole, there's a lot.

That can go into it. so really, you know, we tried to remove all of those technical hurdles when it comes to billing and affiliate management.

Andrew Michael: [00:04:46] Interesting. And why the combination of the two? So the billing management and Philip management, like where did you see the crossover there? Like,

Mark Thompson: [00:04:55] Yeah. So, I mean, it seems like a natural fit, really.  So, I mean, and a lot of it was [00:05:00] from personal experience. So we bootstrapped all of the different businesses that we've created. And a lot of it has been off the backs of affiliate partners that we've worked with. So just like minded entrepreneurs, online business owners who have a list of following and they would promote our products and we give them a commission.

So a lot of it was just. That's that's one of the growth levers that we used. and you know, it just, it seems like a natural fit, right? If you're selling a product, it can be a great way to build your, your business, get exposure, by offering an affiliate program. And we noticed that there were a couple of platforms that were doing both offering both the billing and affiliate side.

but they, in our opinion, they weren't doing it very well. and so. we, we thought that we could do it better. and so that's, that's what we did. And we didn't want to, we didn't want to diversify too much. We've seen some solutions go out there and put themselves in a really bad position where they try to be your shopping cart, your affiliate solution, your email autoresponder, your CRM, your webinars, and what [00:06:00] happens is you become average at all of these things. And so cited billing, affiliate management. We want to be the best at that. And so that's what we've done.

Andrew Michael: [00:06:09] Cool. So I definitely think feels like then you're sitting on some interesting data when it comes to affiliates and churn and retention.

Mark Thompson: [00:06:15] so we are, yeah, it's kinda, we're, we're kind of in a really neat position to be able to look under the hood of all these businesses and see what works, what doesn't work.

Andrew Michael: [00:06:26] Absolutely. So it's one thing I'm interested. Maybe we can dive into a little bit psych I think definitely when you think about referral campaigns internally and like existing users referring and promoting a product tends to be a good channel. And it's always good coming from word of mouth, but how do you see affiliates as a channel for growth as well in lines with channel for growth, that's strong in retention as well.

Mark Thompson: [00:06:48] Yeah. So it's going to be different free. Industry. so if you're an established brand you've been around for, you know, five, 10, 15 years, you typically rely less on affiliate partners just [00:07:00] because you already have the brand recognition. You may even have your paid ads dialed in really well. and you, and you have probably other traffic channels.

If you're brand new, maybe you're on a limited budget and you want to share some of your, your revenue with affiliate partners as commissions. that's really where I see a lot of. the, the opportunity. So the companies who are either just starting out or they've been around for a couple of years, so we've built a marketplace to facilitate that.

So our affiliates, I think there's over 60,000 affiliate partners inside of the marketplace that can go and find products that are relevant to them. They can go and promote them. There's built in marketing materials provided by the vendor. So we just make it super easy and streamlined for affiliates to connect with vendors and now online businesses and promoting them.

Andrew Michael: [00:07:46] and then the same thing, like it just went through now in terms of like commissions and stuff like that, is it typically, is it like one of commissions? And so it's similar, like recurring revenue that these affiliates are building. And, what is the preferred method for companies using an affiliate model?

[00:08:00] Mark Thompson: [00:07:59] Yeah, it's, it's both. And a lot of it's gonna come down to your numbers and what type of overhead you have, obviously, if you're like a physical seller, you have to worry about creating the product, fulfillment, shipping, all that kind of stuff. So your margins are probably a little bit lower, which means commissions are probably going to be a little bit lower, but we focus.

We mainly work with digital sellers. So people running membership sites, software information products, that's really our sweet spot. coaches. And so they're able to offer more competitive commissions. but then again, it's different per industry, right? Health and fitness. That's a really big space for commissions.

You know, it could be anywhere between 30, 40% commission. the internet marketing space can even go up there 50%. some are as low as 10%, so it really just depends. but obviously the higher the commission, the more incentive there is for an affiliate. but you know, we've seen something where.

They'll they'll offer something like 50% for the first payment and then anything recurring, you get 20% for the [00:09:00] life of the customer, something like that. Nice.

Andrew Michael: [00:09:03] then who are the customers that using your services or like, what are these types of businesses? What are their stages of growth? Like,

Mark Thompson: [00:09:09] yeah, really all stages of growth. so we work, as I said, mainly with digital sellers. So maybe you're creating an online course or you're running a membership site. Or you're selling a SAS solution or a WordPress plugin or theme or desktop app. There's a built in licensing engine that you can utilize, or maybe you're selling a simple physical product, like a book or just one package that you want to ship off.

we, we do, you know, a lot of that as well. we work with coaches who are selling services, so, those are really the main type of customers we work with.

Andrew Michael: [00:09:45] Interesting. So like a widespread and the reason for asking the question, as well as just to get an idea of maybe some, the challenges that you'd have when it comes to training and retention.

and in my mind I mentioned, and this is something as well, like when we speak to companies like have similar natures, like. Once you get [00:10:00] built into, a company and you've become a core component of their billing infrastructure, which is a core component of their business, like churn and retention tends to be not that much of an issue.

And some of the reasons for churn tends to be outside of your control. So I can know a few of the cases you mentioned, I think like going out of business and, this could be like maybe one of the bigger reasons why you would lose a customer as opposed to maybe the product or service not delivering on its value.

So how. Is these assumptions? Correct. So like, how do you see like general retention in your own company as well for your customers?

Mark Thompson: [00:10:33] Yeah, that's a great question. So one thing that we've really been working on over the past year to 18 months has been churn. And so we've seen that once we can get a stick rate, meaning we can keep customers for at least three months, their customers for life almost right.

Because as you said, you know, the billing part is such an integral part of their online business. Once they're comfortable with the platform, we see that there, they use it, [00:11:00] you know, month in, month out. Now, one thing that we've noticed is we have to get them over that hump. And so what we've done is created an onboarding process that allows them to really go step by step through the, the key actions we want them to take.

And then just to get, get that, get that aha moment, have them get to value and be able to, you know, get our system integrated with the rest of their own systems. And so. Yeah, we've have lots of native third party integrations inside the platform we've even added, an in app onboarding wizard that they can walk through.

And we've also recently just added a 30 minute onboarding call so they can go to directly with, one of our product specialists and ask questions and make sure we get them up to speed. Because again, if we can provide that upfront investment into them, we feel that there's going to be a longterm return on it.

Andrew Michael: [00:11:54] Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I think the one thing as well, just to dive into a little bit more detail here, it would [00:12:00] be interesting to hear, like, from an onboarding perspective, you mentioned you've done quite a few things recently. Like how did you go about deciding on what to work on first?

And I think because also the nature of your product, it's not something that's in my mind, at least a really quick implementation and something that's going to be set up in one day and then you're up and running. So typically you'll have like a alum. Onboarding cycle and on onboarding process. So what are some of the metrics for civil that you look at in terms of like your onboarding process and how you go by measuring its impact?

And then how did you go about sort of deciding what steps in the onboarding flow first?

Mark Thompson: [00:12:38] Yeah, it's a, that's another good question. And so this was kind of something tricky that we had to figure out. So the first thing we had to figure out, what are the key actions we need them to take? So, you know, in our, in our platform, they create a campaign.

They, they add their products and then they build out a sales funnel. Once they've done that. They can take their checkout links and, they have to integrate with one of our payments gateways, [00:13:00] so they can process payments, but once that's done, they have their checkout links and they can start processing orders.

So it can be done so done as we tried to simplify it as best we could. So asking them for. As little information as possible, but then they can go back in there and dive into it, the nitty gritty details, if they need to customize something. So that was something that we set up actually internally just to measure.

Okay. What are the key actions that they need to take? Are they taking what percentage are taking those key actions? And that's what helped us to build our in-app onboarding sequence that we've created. so that was, one thing we did. And then we also coupled it with, custom emails that we send out.

If they get hung up on a certain step, right. So they've completed step one, but for whatever reason, they didn't complete step two. We'll send them a reminder to try to get them back into the onboarding flow, get them to complete that flow.

Andrew Michael: [00:13:57] Yeah. Okay. And then the next thing as well, like [00:14:00] on that looking at sort of onboarding.

What's the timeframe you're typically looking for this to happen within. Like how, what is the typical user going through? And the reason I ask as well as looking at your pricing and packaging, you're offering a 14 day pretrial. do you see many of your customers who end up becoming sort of those sticky ones that go get over the three month hump being the ones that are converting and seeing that value within those 14 days?

Like, are you measuring time to value as one of the metrics for your customers?

Mark Thompson: [00:14:29] Yeah. So what we've seen as the quicker, we can get them through that onboarding process, the more likely they are to stick. So we do give them the 14 days. We're generally seeing people finish usually within the first day or two.

so they're there. We try to get them engaged as quickly as possible. So one thing we are actually in the process of adding is a voicemail, a ringless voicemail drop. So we can just say, Hey. Go and schedule your 30 minute onboarding session. Let's get you set up as quickly as possible because we know that if we can get them through [00:15:00] that process, again, they're more likely to, to convert into a longterm customer.

A couple of other things that were really tricky for us, particularly, particularly where if they were coming from another billing platform or another shopping cart, you know, they have questions of, well, how do I, you know, I have all these stripes subscriptions, how do I get them into your platform?

So, one thing we did add was the ability to import their subscriptions right into the PayKickstart platform. So from a customer standpoint, They, they don't really notice anything different. And then from, you know, the vendor, they can manage all that. There's a subscriptions right inside our platform. They don't have to go to the third party platform that they were using or they don't have to go into Stripe.

so that was another hurdle that we tried to overcome by allowing them to import existing subscriptions. That's

Andrew Michael: [00:15:48] very interesting as well. In terms of you say like the day or two being the ones that tend to stick, whoever gets set up into value. It's definitely something that's like a recurring theme in the shows.

Like the faster you can get customers to value. [00:16:00] And not only from like a retention perspective, but even from a sales, like we discussed in a previous episode with Mark Roberge, which is going to air. Pretty soon, that HubSpot's like, let's just something similar and obviously not a lot of different companies where, in the sales side, if you're not speaking to a customer within that first hour of contact, like you have diminishing returns after us in Ireland, again, similarly as well as the lesson, in their early days when they were trying to sort of figure out what was the biggest lever for retention, right.

What they actually figured out was the amount of time spent in their product on their first session. Like if that number was high and they were able to keep people engaged and maintain in that first session, they were able to get that for the longterm. And I think it goes back to sort of just the most time they spent the more value that we're getting out of that service and that initial session that's.

Mark Thompson: [00:16:44] Yeah. Yeah. That's great advice.

Andrew Michael: [00:16:47] Yeah. So the next thing as well, I wanted to ask about was I see that you have a retention accelerator, six simple hacks to retain the customers that you've earned and stop the leaky revenue record. what is included in [00:17:00] this? I can maybe give us one or two of the, the hacks that you have, for the audience.

Mark Thompson: [00:17:04] Yeah. So, yeah, and a lot of this, we learned the hard way we, you know, for about, I think from like 2014 to 2015, we, the previous, platform we were using, didn't have just like simple Dunning notifications. So if you're not familiar with what Dunning is, there's a few different types of Dunnings.

So I'll start with. Pre Dunning. So pretending would be, you know, just trying to find out, Hey, who are customers who are at risk commuting? There there's a good chance that their payment is going to fail. So most of the time it's because their credit card is going to expire. So we previously didn't have a way to contact those customers and say, Hey, Your credit card is about to expire next month.

No worries. Here's a link. Go in, update your details and your smooth sailing. Right. and then once they had the, once you get into the Dunning process is when the payment has already failed. And so a lot of it, again, the majority of the time it's because their credit card has expired, but there's other reasons as well, the credit limit was [00:18:00] reached or, or.

There's other reasons, but so having a system in place to reach out to the customer, just to get them to go and update their details. so you're, you're minimizing involuntary churn. so one thing that in one feature we actually recently just added was the ability to not only send email notifications, Dunning email notifications.

Now you could also do in-app. Notifications. So when some of the law, it goes into their account, you can say, Hey, your credit cards won't expire or Hey, you're late Paymentus failed. Or even like the strong customer authentication that is being required. in, in, by the credit card companies, to have customers authorize or reauthorize the, you know, recurring payments, can really significantly decrease your churn rate.


Andrew Michael: [00:18:46] that's Tiffany interesting as well as specifically on like sort of the pre Dunning work as well, because I think if you think about it as well, I think the average card expires every two years. so on average, like you could have anywhere between like three to [00:19:00] 5% of all cards on file expiring at any point in time.

so you're having that sort of proactive approach and reaching out to customers early can definitely be a good way of reducing it. Another one, like that's actually come up in the show and interesting to hear if you've seen similar is credit cards being processed, like cross continent and cross country, depending on where your processor is.

and this cycle, I think it came up in episode where a lot of the revenue was, or the business was maybe based in Australia, but a majority of the revenue coming from the U S or vice versa. and there, we're seeing a lot of churn happening for like, Declines from the bank's perspective from this like paying to a foreign, processor.

Is this something that you've seen as well now in the work that you're doing around Dunning? Like, have you seen any companies implementing the smart ways around this?

Mark Thompson: [00:19:46] yes and no, it hasn't been then a huge issue. I know. one thing that can be impacted is making sure that your business is listed under the right category.

so, because you know, certain, like if it's listed in the wrong type of category, it [00:20:00] can be flagged and it can lead to. you know, a failed payment. so I know if you contact the, the difference, payments providers and tell them, make sure you're associated to the right category that can help.

I haven't seen too much in terms of, cross countries. Obviously there are certain countries that are at higher risk. So if you're accepting payments from, you know, Nigeria or a country like that, it can definitely have. an impact. One thing that we love to do is be able to offer lots of different payment methods.

So not just credit card, but offering PayPal, offering, like an ACH or a SEPA wire transfer. we're also in the process of being able to, support Apple pay, Google pay. so you can just, you know, which is very secure as well. So, offering lots of options can help to overcome that challenge.

Andrew Michael: [00:20:48] Interesting. Yeah, I like his old, like, I've never had that before. So in terms of making sure categorized for companies categorized in the right with companies and I would somebody go about doing that? Exactly.

Mark Thompson: [00:20:58] Hmm. there is, you know [00:21:00] what I'll do, I, we actually just recently wrote a blog post on it. It gives you step by step.

So in the show notes, maybe I can provide that to you and it'll show you exactly what you need to do.

Andrew Michael: [00:21:08] Awesome. So we'll definitely be adding that as well at the end. yeah. So the next thing I wanted to ask, just a little bit of a random question, but what is like the hardest thing that you've had to learn when it comes to churn and retention like of your career and, that you wish you had known, like when you got started.

Mark Thompson: [00:21:24] Yeah, I think a lot of it is what we've been talking about. So getting, getting the customer to first value. So when we first created PayKickstart we were, we were so focused on, okay. We need to worry about this feature and that feature. And after like a couple of years, The platform got so big, started just throwing features here and there.

And we never really thought about the customer experience and just like that people could be getting confused. And so for the longest time before we really started to dig deep and see why customers were churning, the biggest reason was they were just confused. They didn't know what path [00:22:00] they should be going.

And so I would highly recommend for everyone is. You know, simple or complex as your product is to really hold the customer's hand hand, and don't assume everything. Don't assume they're going to know where they need to go next. Right? So it needs to be as simple for, you know, my eight year olds to go and click around and be able to figure out what they need to do.

Andrew Michael: [00:22:26] yeah, I think that's also definitely a big recurring theme that we've come across. I think Heaton Shaw actually in episode, when we had him on the show, you mentioned exactly. This is, I think being one of his biggest lessons that he learned is really like.

Focusing on what that onboarding experience. And then also not only what the onboarding experience looks like, but the next time they come back to your product, what that experience looks like as well as, because a lot of times they might come in and maybe have not done the correct onboarding process, but then come back to expect to find value and not get treated with like no data or, or nothing there.

And it's supposed to just making sure you maximize like, [00:23:00] Every time somebody comes back to your product, like thinking about what that experience is like and how to make sure you can make it as clear and simple as possible for them to extract value. we also talk about this quite a lot as well with the onboarding.

Yeah. It's a concept that you mentioned how you kept on adding features, like all the way along is the concept of like when onboarding starts and stops as well. Because like, as you're continuously adding new features in, in some mindset, you need to continue onboarding your customers to these new features and then.

Your whole onboarding as well. Like for new customers who might come in the future needs to be adapted to the adjusted to this. So it's an interesting sort of balance I think, to play between like, what is, and what is an onboarding and like, how do you ensure that you bring in your customers along with the product changes that you make?

Mark Thompson: [00:23:45] Yeah, it's a, there's a fine line there. And so what we've, what we've tried to do is really not introduced customers to more advanced features or features that they're really not going to need to, be exposed to until they've done X, Y, and [00:24:00] Z. So once they've, once they've completed that initial onboarding, that's when we can send them a trigger to say, Hey, we'll go and explore this feature, go and explore that feature.

And so we'll do a combination of emails, but then. We've also just added some in-app notifications so people can be exposed so we can just give them subtle nudges, just so they can get exposed to, to the new features that are constantly being added to the system.

Andrew Michael: [00:24:26] And as soon as it it's actually something as well at Hotjar where I'm at.

At the moment, it's like six years into the company now, and now are we on your list and to give this good emphasis and focus in terms of like, how can we create this activation and onboarding experience? That's tailored to the actual use cases of our customers. So I think like you mentioned, you have a few different customers and they might be coming to you for different reasons to begin with and understanding like, what are they trying to achieve from our product first?

Gives us a better way of giving them an onboarding experience that gets them to that value because our jars, like it has seven different tools within one. and you [00:25:00] could be coming to us for seven different reasons. obviously we know the majority of where they lie of being hit maps and recordings, but, having that first context of understanding what people are trying to achieve is now allowed us to sort of create these experiences for them. And we are seeing some really, really positive results in terms of retention from our activation initiatives.

Mark Thompson: [00:25:19] Yeah, I think it's really important as you start to scale, to be able to segment those different groups of customers and then give them a tailored onboarding experience. So, you know, you know, SAS companies that use our platform, they use it completely different than someone, you know, like an online course creator, a membership site.

So it's important to identify what's important to them, the features do they need, what path are they going to take? And then personalize it for them. Yeah.

Andrew Michael: [00:25:45] I noticed that on your site as well, you had had singled out like a couple of different business types. And for those, are you doing anything special in terms of the onboarding or is it really just more around educational content and emails that you're trying to drive them?

Mark Thompson: [00:25:58] Yeah, it's, it's, it's [00:26:00] both. So on the website, we do try to help. Speak specifically to each segment and try to highlight the features and benefits of, of what they need in particular. because our onboarding is still, we're still kind of tweaking the main core onboarding once that's optimized to, you know, somewhere where we feel really comfortable with it.

That's when we're going to start breaking off branching off into, you know, customize onboarding. For each segment. So it's, it's always a work in progress. It never, you know, it's something that you always need to be tweaking.

Andrew Michael: [00:26:31] I was going to say that, as you said, like where we fairly happy with it, it feels like you're never happy with onboarding.

It's always going to be like in a constant evolution. It's one of those weird things as well. Like actually like speaking to my mother, for example, she was like, Well, what do you do all the time? Like work, like you built it, like, so like, like it just doesn't work. I think people outside of tech and outside of building software, don't really understand all the work that goes into making these changes and constantly iterating, experimenting to improve the product for [00:27:00] customers.

And I think it was hits and Charles said it as well on the episode is like product market fits is a moving target and you're always trying to aim for it. And you, you always need to be adapting and moving with it, which is, something to. Yeah, that seemed throughout the business, like from onboarding to product.

Mark Thompson: [00:27:16] Yep. Yep. Well said.

Andrew Michael: [00:27:17] Cool. So the last question I would, so I'll ask for the show, cause I see we're running up on time here and something else. Everybody gets to join the show as let's imagine a hypothetical scenario, now that you've joined a new company and a you've arrived and you see the general attention is not doing great.

And the CEO's asked to you, put you in charge to help turn things around for the company. but it's looking for results fast and it's given 90 days, like what would you be wanting to do in these first 90 days to try and make a dent on churn and retention at the company?

Mark Thompson: [00:27:48] Yeah. well, before I answer that question, I think everyone needs to place a lot of emphasis on churn.

So many companies worry about driving more traffic, more leads because it's like the sexy thing to do. [00:28:00] Right. but if, if you don't have. Way to manage those customers and try to increase our poo and, and, and, the retention, it's, it's going to be wasted money and time and energy. So, but to answer your question, the first thing that I would do is we need to figure out why are they turning?

What, what is the reason? and it could be a combination of a few different things. It could be both voluntary churn and then voluntary. So you need to make sure you have a system set up for involuntary churn and try to automate as much as you possibly can to get the customer, to be able to update their details.

So. You don't have to worry so much about that, but, it's more so on the voluntary turn. Why is it that people are leaving? And so it's, it can be as simple as contact acting the last 25 to 50 people who canceled and just get them on, on a call or on Facebook, or just reach out to them. It's so easy nowadays, to connect with customers.

you have no reason. Not to reach out to them and find out, well, what was it? Right. And now, again, some things are going to be completely out of your control. Like you mentioned at the [00:29:00] beginning, but some things will be in your control. Right. They were confused. They didn't know what to do. They needed a certain feature.

There's there's different reasons. So. If you turn a blind eye to that, then you're not going to know. And so actually, a new feature that we just added today, just just release. That was our cancellation saver. So it's a sequence, it's a retention sequence that you can use. So when someone goes to cancel.

Right. your, their subscription, your account, you can ask them, well, what is it? Why did you cancel, right? Is it price? Is it a feature? Are you using a different vendor? What is the reason? And then you could also ask them for some additional feedback and you can also add in some. Automation. So, you know, if it's, if it's a price thing, you could apply a coupon code.

If it's a feature thing, Hey, talk to our chat team. Maybe there's something we can do. We actually might even have that feature available. so these cancellation flows can be a great way to somewhat automate, gathering the intelligence that you'd need to [00:30:00] make better decisions moving forward so you can minimize churn.

Andrew Michael: [00:30:03] And then like he says, or maybe even in some cases deflect it as well. Yep. Nice. cool. So I think Mark, I mean, it's been a pleasure having you the show today, a really great listening. There's obviously a couple of resources that you mentioned that we will be wanting to add to the show notes. Is anything else, like final notes, like you want to share with the audience before we drop off any ways to keep up to speed with what you're working on.

Mark Thompson: [00:30:25] Yeah. So, I mean, obviously you can go to pick kickstart.com. We have a, I'd love for you to sign up for a free trial. See if it's a good fit. I'm happy to answer your questions there. We have live live chat. If you have any questions. we also have a, a really nice Facebook group, where we're talking about subscription growth and subscription hacks.

So just go to Facebook and type in pay kickstart, you'll see our Facebook group and you're able to join and there's. Tens of thousands of likeminded entrepreneurs and subscription based businesses. and we have lots of great discussions there. So you're more than happy to join that and I'm in there and I'd love to connect with you guys further.

Andrew Michael: [00:30:59] Awesome. [00:31:00] Well, thanks so much for joining the show today. I mean, it's been a pleasure having you a lot of interesting takeaways for the audience and I wish you best of luck going forward.

Mark Thompson: [00:31:08] Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.

Andrew Michael: [00:31:10] Thanks.


Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson

The show

My name is Andrew Michael and I started CHURN.FM, as I was tired of hearing stories about some magical silver bullet that solved churn for company X.

In this podcast, you will hear from founders and subscription economy pros working in product, marketing, customer success, support, and operations roles across different stages of company growth, who are taking a systematic approach to increase retention and engagement within their organizations.


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