By: Jeff Hoffman
Customer Success Managers are responsible for managing many different accounts and customer relationships with varying levels of detail. With so many moving parts it can be hard to recognize when one of your customers is not aligned with your product or guidance. Ideally, none of your customers want to leave, and the work you do provides them with value and success.
But it happens. Sometimes your customers decide to move another direction. How do you know what your customer is thinking? Do you know what to look for to determine whether or not they’re considering leaving you?
Here are some signs to watch out for that could reveal your customer is a potential flight risk.
1. Your primary point of contact is delegating tasks to others on their team.
You’ve been working with a customer for a year and a half or so, and suddenly, out of seemingly nowhere, your main point of contact drops off your calls. Instead, they’re sending their colleagues, or other team members, to meetings you request, and delegating messages and tasks to anyone but themselves.
This is a bad sign.
Your main point of contact is delegating tasks to others because they feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. They know they’re going to leave, or they’re not going to renew. And they feel awkward about it. So to avoid this, they’ll send others to deal with you and your product, to avoid feeling like that.
2. Their response to a feature or pricing change is mild.
And what I mean by that is that is they probably express dislike for the changes, but it’ll be delivered mildly and sort of … meh. It certainly won’t be an angry outburst.
A mildly delivered reaction to a cost-related change for the customer is far more dangerous than the ‘what the hell, Steve!’ reaction.
Because they are being incredibly honest with their reaction with how shaken or unshaken they are with those product changes. If they react in an unshaken matter, then you probably have a problem and should be worried.
3. Their lack of response is an indication they are going to leave you.
A late response is not an indication that your customer is going to leave you. But NO response definitely is.
If you sent you an email two weeks ago and they didn’t respond, and then you send you another one and they do– That’s an indication they’re planning on leaving you, or not renewing.
The idea that it takes you multiple attempts to get an answer from them shows that they are not prioritizing your communication. This indicates that their focus and attention is elsewhere and that they are potentially evaluating a replacement product.
4. When you finish your conversations, they do not ask you for anything.
This is the one you have to pay attention to. When you finish a conversation with a customer, and they don’t ask you for anything – that customer is at risk.
Customers ALWAYS want stuff! Every time I talk to a customer, they want something. Whether that’s information, consulting, whatever! Customers will always ask you for things.
You are your customer’s personal resource. And when they stop relying on you as a resource, that’s when they’re at risk of leaving. If your customer is not asking for that next call or requesting the next action item, then they are not invested in the product or your relationship and are getting that help from another vendor.
And I see a lot of customer success reps who get caught up in this. A prospect won’t volunteer action because they don’t want to be closed. And so, sometimes, we’re just not used to the fact that customers are meant to be demanding. So when we get a customer that is not demanding, but friendly, we’re thrilled! But I’m here to say that it the opposite of how you want your customer to act.
These are the main signals to look out for when evaluating flight risk with your customers. It’s important to remember that you’ll never be able to read your customer’s mind or prevent customer churn in its entirety. These signs will give you an idea that your customer’s priorities lie elsewhere, and potentially give your company insight into your customer management processes so that you can make adjustments for the future.