5 Tips for Dealing with Customer Churn

Last updated on September 9, 2013

Goodbyes are never easy, especially when you’re parting ways with a client.  Plans change. Budgets wind down. Companies shift direction.

Especially in the services industry, churn is far-too-common. As much as you’ll invest in keeping your customers close, some will inevitably slip through the cracks.

And here’s the thing. It’s inevitable. You can fight it by changing the terms of your contracts or by building a new product feature. You’ll do anything and everything for your clients, as these folks are near and dear to your hearts. It hurts to part ways — kind of like a breakup.

So what happens when churn strikes?

The truth is, it isn’t the end of the world. When handled right, a B2B breakup can actually be an extremely positive experience. Here are five tips for what to do:

1. Give your partner space

Accept that the fit just isn’t there. Take a step back to give your partner space, and stop trying to beat a dead horse. Take a breather. Embrace the situation. As tempting as it is to feel upset, don’t. Negativity is a waste of energy when you should be focusing on more productive efforts like prospecting for new business.

2. Focus on actionable takeaways

Why did the relationship fail? Perhaps there are a mismatch of skills. Maybe your two businesses’s directions changed very suddenly. Instead of wondering over what could have been, take the time to focus on what actually happened. Reinvest the experience into takeaways for your sales strategy moving forward. Would you do anything differently next time? Why or why not?

3. Look beyond what’s happening now

Customer relationships are more valuable than what’s right in front of you. Who knows what could happen in the future? Your paths could overlap again — perhaps in another context. When your customers churn, don’t dwell on the lost opportunity. Instead, focus on the long-term relationship. It’s a small world, and you’ll inevitably come across the same connections again and again. Keep an open mind.

4. Keep a diverse portfolio

It’s true that you should value and respect your customers as individuals. Give them the time and attention that they need to succeed. But as a business, you need to protect yourself. Keep your client portfolio as diverse as possible.  The more you focus on scaling your business, the less you’ll feel stressed over churn. If a customer backs out, it’ll feel like a bummer — but it won’t be the end of the world.

5. Stay positive, no matter what

No matter what, keep smiling — even if you’re feeling upset with your team or company. Negative energy will cause more damage than you realize, so don’t let your stress come though. Feel good, and stay relentlessly optimistic. And if you truly are feeling upset? Fake it ’til you make it. When you stay positive, the chances of receiving a glowing recommendation will increase exponentially.

An end to a business relationship is not always the end of the world. For all you know, parting ways could help push your company towards new beginnings. Don’t let churn bog you down. It’s healthy. It’s normal. It’s part of the business process.

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