Another day, another customer cancellation – but is it a bad thing? Customers cancel subscriptions all of the time, but rather than lose sleep over your churn rate, you should be using it to gain valuable insights through your customer exit survey.
Your customer exit process should always help you to improve customer experience, satisfaction, and retention. Here’s how to achieve that.
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 tickbox 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 yet want you.
The importance of a customer exit survey
Why should you quiz 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 gives you 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 features that are impacting usability?
- Support: Are you providing customers with the necessary support to use your product?
- Marketing: Does the marketing of your product match reality?
- Competitors: How do your competitors compare?
Together, these insights can help you to 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.
You have to remember that this customer is already leaving – asking them a couple of questions upon their departure is only going to result in the same or a better outcome. There’s not much left to lose, but a lot to gain.
6 Questions to ask on a customer exit survey
It’s essential to ask the right questions to get the very best out of your customer exit survey.
Before looking at the best six questions to ask on a customer exit survey, let’s first cover the essentials:
- Short surveys get better results. Price Intelligently found that SaaS customer development surveys of between one and two minutes long 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 big elephant in the room – why they’re canceling.
Customers will tell an average of 9 people about a good experience and an average of 16 about a bad experience. By asking them straight away about their experience, they get it off of their chest, they feel heard, and they’re much more likely to continue the questionnaire.
Plus, this is the most important insight for your business. You need to know why someone wants to leave you. This can help you identify pain points, or overcome the reasons or 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 tells you what you’re doing right and should continue doing.
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.
There might be little inconveniences that snowballed into frustration, bugs that prevented operation, or a surly customer service agent that wasn’t much help. The more information you can gather on what you don’t do well, the more data you 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 can do better. This question can help you to make little improvements, or even uncover new features and tools that would improve user experience.
You’ve spent a lot of money attracting that customer to your product, so this is one final way to get something valuable back in return.
5. Would you reconsider our product in the future?
Sometimes, a cancellation is a simple case of 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 that would reconsider your product in the future, you can (with their permission) keep their details and keep them informed of 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’s needs, it doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t recommend you to others.
If someone is willing to recommend you to others, you can ask them if they’d be willing to leave a testimonial or review for you to use. Not all churn is negative.
And one final question…
What are you doing to do with the results?
Your customer exit survey is only as good as what you do with the results. Use engagement and completion data to enhance your exit survey, and use the survey results to find out what customers want, what customers don’t want, and how you can make them happier.
A lost customer isn’t a bad thing; it’s an opportunity to turn their loss into your gain.