Another day, another customer cancellation – but is that a bad thing? Customers cancel subscriptions all the time. Rather than lose sleep over your churn rate, you should leverage it to gain valuable insights through your customer exit survey.
Your customer exit process should always help you improve customer experience and retention. Here’s how to achieve this.
Back to basics: What is a customer exit survey?
A customer exit survey is a questionnaire given to a customer who has (or is about to) cancel their subscription to your SaaS product. This can be conducted online, via email, or over the telephone.
For many businesses, a customer exit interview is a tick-box exercise, with the results going no further than a colorful graph at the quarterly team meeting.
But, for growth-hungry businesses, the customer exit survey is a unique opportunity to learn about your business from someone who matters: the person who needs you, but doesn’t want you (yet).
The importance of a customer exit survey
Why should you interview someone who doesn’t want your SaaS product, and probably doesn’t have anything nice to say about it?
Criticism sure can hurt, but it offers valuable feedback on matters such as:
- Product/market fit — Are you targeting the right audience?
- Features — Does your product have the tools people need and want?
- Bugs — Are there any bugs or design flaws that impact usability?
- Support — Are you providing customers with the necessary support for your product?
- Marketing — Does your product marketing match reality?
- Competitors — How do your competitors compare?
Together, these insights can improve your SaaS product, enhance your user experience, and increase retention. In some cases, you may even convince a departing customer to stay, or return after you’ve added certain features.
Remember, this customer is already leaving — asking them a couple of questions upon their departure will only result in the same or a better outcome. You have little to lose, and much to gain.
6 Questions to ask on a customer exit survey
It’s essential to ask the right questions to get the most out of your customer exit survey.
Before divulging the six best questions to ask in a customer exit survey, let’s first cover the essentials:
- Short surveys get better results. Price Intelligently found that SaaS customer development surveys between one and two minutes in length had a 90%+ response rate.
- Optimize for mobile and desktop. According to Customer Thermometer, 75% of customers complete surveys on their mobile phones.
- Use a mix of open and closed questions. The human attention span is now only eight seconds long — keep people engaged.
Now onto the six essential questions for your customer exit survey.
1. What made you cancel?
Start with the elephant in the room – why they’re canceling.
Customers will tell an average of nine people about a good experience, and an average of 16 about a bad one. By asking them straight away about their experience, they get it off of their chest and feel heard so they’re much more likely to continue the questionnaire.
This is also the most important insight for your business. Understanding why someone wants to leave you can help identify pain points, or resolve the reasons for cancellation. For example, you can explain a misunderstanding or provide extra support.
2. What did you like about the product or service?
Your survey shouldn’t only focus on the negatives. Asking an exiting customer what they like about your SaaS product reveals what you’re doing right and should continue to do.
It also reminds hot-headed and reactive customers what they love about your product, which might be all they need to retract their cancellation.
3. What didn’t you like about the product or service?
In most cases, customers will list everything they disliked about the product under “what made you cancel?” However, it’s good to revisit this topic.
Perhaps there were little inconveniences that snowballed into frustration, bugs that prevented operation, or a surly customer service agent who wasn’t helpful. The more information you can gather on existing issues, the more data you’ll have to fuel improvements.
4. What suggestions do you have to improve the product or service?
Customers love putting on their CEO hat to tell you what you could do better. This question can prompt small, but positive adjustments, or even uncover new features and tools that would improve user experience.
You spent a lot of money attracting that customer to your product, so this is one final way to earn something valuable in return.
5. Would you reconsider our product in the future?
Sometimes, a cancellation is a simple case of the wrong time, wrong place. Either your SaaS product is too small for a customer’s needs, or their needs are too small for your product.
By identifying customers who would reconsider your product in the future, you can (with their permission) hold onto their details and keep them informed about future product updates, or contact them directly when the product meets their requirements.
6. Would you recommend us to others?
Similarly, just because your product doesn’t suit that particular customer doesn’t mean they wouldn’t recommend you to others.
If someone is willing to recommend you elsewhere, you can ask them to leave a testimonial or review for you to use. Not all churn is negative.
One final question…
What are you going to do with the results?
Your customer exit survey is only effective if you capitalize on the results. Use engagement and completion data to enhance your exit survey, and analyze the survey results to discover what customers want, what they don’t want, and how you can make them happier.
A lost customer isn’t the end of the world; it’s an opportunity to turn their loss into your gain.