Renewal is a promise of future reward. In fact, an MRI study of the thought processes of loyal customers found that specific parts of the brain are activated when a customer sees a brand they like. Those illuminated parts of the brain are associated with our emotional responses, and they encourage us to act in a certain way based on an expected future reward. That expectation is built on previous experience.
When a customer encounters a brand they enjoy dealing with, their brain compels them to do so again. That’s the reaction you want to inspire when it comes to the customer renewal process, and it can be achieved by establishing a positive experience at every opportunity of the customer journey, from the first point of onboarding to the final days of the renewal process.
The rate at which customers renew determines the speed at which your company grows and the size you can ultimately achieve, so it is critical that your team focuses on delivering a positive customer experience. That means more than courtesies and colorful onboarding pamphlets, though; it means creating a customer-centered enterprise that delivers business results for its customers and, by turn, drives growth.
Renewal Best Practices
A customer success platform gives you the insight needed to proactively encourage renewal. Keeping a close watch on the customer health scores it generates—a live measurement of combined business-related metrics that determine the customer experience—will tell you how to engage with each account.
If a customer’s health score is low, they will need extra attention before they are ready to renew. If a customer’s health score is high, they may be ready to renew early or may be a candidate for upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Either way, your customer success platform can tell you when it is time to implement value-add renewal activities, such as:
- Demonstrate Value Early: Onboarding is about helping the customer integrate your product into their daily workflow so they can begin to experience value. You should aim to complete the process quickly so you can link the promises of the sales phase into real ROI. Your customer success platform will let you know where a customer is on their onboarding journey and can help you avoid potential bottlenecks and delays. The sooner your customer experiences value, the sooner they start building the positive impression that is so crucial for renewal.
- Set and Celebrate Goals: All customers want to feel like they are progressing with your product. By establishing goals that reflect their mastery of your product and provide tangible links to their business outcomes, you create an experience of success. So, celebrate the usage of a product feature in their daily workflow, establish realistic targets for trial-to-subscription conversions, and acknowledge the conversion of menial tasks into automated processes. Constant reminders of how far they’ve come will encourage your customer to continue their journey with you.
- Solve Escalations Quickly: Any time your customer experiences difficulties and delays, their growth pauses. You should aim to resolve any customer escalations in a reasonable timeframe and prioritize those that occur during onboarding—first impressions matter! Your customer success platform can help you avoid problems before they arise by offering a view of every other account within your enterprise. You can identify known issues ahead of time and impress your customers by solving their problem before they even realized they had one.
- Constantly Monitor Customer Health: A customer’s decision to renew is often made long before the deadline approaches. By closely monitoring each customer’s health score in your customer success platform, you can gain knowledge about the customer experience at any point in time and act on this valuable information.
Happy customers renew. Unhappy ones don’t. Use customer data to determine which kind of customer you have and to understand the cause of that experience. If your customer success platform shows a customer is stuck on a specific feature, offer extra training. If it shows their usage figures are falling, send a personalized message asking if something is wrong.
To make the most of your customer renewal process, you must understand your customers. And then you must demonstrate that understanding by turning it into practical results
Using a Customer Success Platform for Renewal
Building a customer-centered enterprise begins with gaining and maintaining a detailed understanding of the customer, their current place along the journey, and their future potential. To do that, you need a comprehensive customer success platform. Such a platform gathers information across the breadth of various customer engagements, capturing every interaction and monitoring every step of the customer journey. That way, your team gains an up-to-the-minute understanding of customer status and the health of customer accounts.
Such a knowledge base provides the necessary visibility and actionability to find the optimal points for customer growth. Don’t think of customer renewal as a single event. Rather, it is based on the overall customer experience. A customer success platform gives insight into that experience as it is occurring so you can be sure customers are satisfied well before the renewal deadline rolls around.
Achieving Success During the Customer Renewal Process
The customer renewal process is often won or lost long before the subscription deadline arrives. At this point, a customer’s actions are largely predetermined by the personal experience they’ve either enjoyed or endured up until now.
Renewal is a promise of future reward. You make that promise in every customer engagement and employ it at every step of the customer journey. As a customer-centered enterprise, you should focus on creating growth opportunities for customers so that they can’t help but believe future rewards await them. That’s the secret to making a customer want to renew time and time again.