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8 Powerful Ways to Prevent Subscription Churn

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Written By: author image Natalie Jones Reviewed By: Spencer Finnell

Looking for ways to prevent subscription churn?

If you sell subscription-based products or services, you already understand the importance of keeping customers for as long as possible. While new customers are great, long-term customers are the foundation of a healthy business.

In this article, we’ll offer eight powerful ways to fight subscription churn.

What is Subscription Churn?

Subscription churn refers to the rate at which customers cancel their subscriptions within a given time frame.  It’s a critical metric for subscription-based businesses, including eCommerce, because it directly impacts the company’s revenue and growth.

While some churn is inevitable, it’s important to combat churn so your business grows as much as possible.

1. Determine Where the Churn Occurs

Naturally, your first step to preventing churn is to determine why it happens. In many cases, the bulk of churn has a single, fixable cause. You could pour over your analytics, watch user sessions, and run A/B tests all day, but the best way to identify churn is by communicating directly with your customers.

In some cases, contacting a cancelled subscriber in a timely manner can immediately show that you genuinely care about the problem and want feedback so you can fix it.

If you’re already using WP Simple Pay to accept payments on your site, you can easily set up personalized cancelled subscription email confirmations directly from the payment form builder. The plugin lets you add links to surveys. You can also include your contact information.

Once you’ve started collecting feedback from cancelled subscribers using confirmation emails, make a small list of objections from ex-customers and then methodically address each one. Each fix could represent a customer who sticks around.

2. Allow Customers to Manage Subscriptions

Empowering customers with the flexibility to manage their subscriptions at their convenience can greatly mitigate subscription churn and enhance customer satisfaction.

Additionally, this proactive approach aids in minimizing instances of unsuccessful recurring payments, ensuring a consistent revenue stream.

You can use WP Simple Pay’s subscription management block feature to let your customers manage their subscriptions. To update their payment method, customers simply need to type in the email address associated with the subscription. To learn more, see our detailed guide on how to allow customers to manage subscriptions in WordPress.

3. Create an Effective Email Welcome Series

While there are several reasons why consumers cancel their subscriptions, it’s usually because they weren’t able to use the product or couldn’t see the product’s value.

You can help customers hit both of these goals with a smooth and efficient onboard sequence.

Your onboarding sequence should lead the user straight to the component they find most valuable—their reason for using your product or service in the first place. It should help them realize some benefits as quickly as possible so they think, “I’m glad I bought this.”

You should create an email welcome series to introduce new customers to your brand, provide essential information about your products, and encourage them to use it while they feel motivated. It’s a sequence of multiple emails you send to new customers.

Welcome emails have much higher open and clickthrough rates. Be sure to use them to show new subscribers why they need your product or service.

For more information, see our full guide on how to engage customers and increase sales with an email welcome series.

3. Identify At-Risk Customers

Most customers exhibit certain signs before churning. If you figure out the signs, you can keep your eyes out for customers who are about to churn. Then, you can take the steps necessary to stop it.

For instance, SaaS companies typically recognize inactivity as a sign of churn. If a user doesn’t log in for, say, two weeks, they are considered at-risk. At-risk customers should receive re-engagement emails.

An online course might flag customers as at risk when they stop completing assessments or fail to watch videos. A simple email that prompts them to visit the next video could be enough to keep them engaged with the product.

4. Educate with Documentation

Do your customers know how to use your product or service? If they have questions, is there somewhere they can go to find answers without contacting you? If you have a repository of information, does it cover everything?

If your answer to any of these questions is no, your customers might churn due to lack of information. It’s important to provide an easily accessible home that offers quality educational support materials. This might include documentation, webinars, tutorials, product demonstrations, how-to articles, templates, or whatever else it takes to turn your customers into experts.

5. Develop Your Product’s Value

If customers are going to pay over time for access to a product or service, they want to see it grow with them. They want new features, slimmer workflows, and better solutions to their problems. They expect you to boost your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses.

How do you develop your value? It depends on the nature of your product. If you offer one-on-one consulting, consider developing some downloadable worksheets or templates to help your customers take action with your guidance.

If you sell an online course, you could add videos or quizzes or make the product more robust. If you run an eCommerce site, you could add a new site feature, like customizations, wish lists, or personalization.

6. Track Your Competition

If your competitors start offering a better service or a comparable service at a better price, your customers will leave. So it’s important to keep an eye on your main competitors at all times so you know how you compare. Have they deployed new features? Do they have a better price model? Do they engage and educate their customers more?

This isn’t to say you should copy whatever your competitors do, of course. You don’t have to mirror their product roadmap or marketing strategy. Just make sure your value is at least equal to theirs.

7. Implement a Check-In Process

Most businesses only speak with their customers when there’s a problem. But just because a customer hasn’t complained doesn’t mean there isn’t an issue. Eventually, unhappy customers reach a point where there’s nothing you can do to make them happy again.

Implementing a check-in process with your customers can help you identify and fix issues early. Be sure to e-mail them from time to time to ask how they like your product or service. Encourage them to be honest with their feedback and make it clear that they should reach out to you whenever they have a question or problem.

8. Offer Long-Term Subscription Plans

An easy way to prevent churn is to extend your customers’ commitments by offering longer subscription plans. For instance, instead of accepting recurring payments every 30 days, see if they’re willing to commit to six months or a year and pay upfront. This has a few benefits:

  • You have more time to show the customer that your product or service has value.
  • The customers will devote themselves to your product or service because they have already made a significant investment.
  • You’ll gain more revenue from the same customer, which makes it less painful if they decide to churn anyway.

In most cases, customers are only willing to commit to longer terms if you offer them something in exchange, such as a small discount. This is a small price to pay for guaranteed revenue.

With WP Simple Pay, you can offer daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly subscription plans. The plugin also lets you offer discounts and free trial periods.

To let customers try out your products or services before they’re charged, providing a 100% discount is also possible.

To encourage customers to stay committed to your business, you can collect a one-time setup fee along with the first subscription payment.

For more details, see our detailed guide on how to add a setup fee to a Stripe subscription payment plan in WordPress.

We hope this article has helped you learn how to prevent subscription churn.

If you liked this article, you might also want to check out Are Subscription Payment Plans Right for Your Business?

What are you waiting for? Get started with WP Simple Pay today!

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