In times of unpredictability, your customers are scouring budgets to find areas to reduce expenses. What can you do to make sure your organization is not on that list?


Be Proactive

Reaffirm your value through regular communication. You don’t tell your significant other you love them once a year and hope they just assume everything is fine until further notice, right? You communicate. You share. You listen.


Communicate in a meaningful way. Generic newsletters are not enough.

  • We say this often and it’s worth repeating: Personalize your communications. Segment your audiences so that the information you’re sending is useful to them, rather than beneficial to you. Use the tools in your marketing automation platform to determine what content users are engaging with – and eliminate the dead wood. Improve the content they like.
  • Ask for feedback through surveys. Ask hard questions and then take action on the areas that need improvement. For more on surveys, visit “What’s the Difference between CSAT, NPS and CES Surveys” here:


Be Pre-emptive

Good retention is proactive. Don’t wait for your customers to signal distress. Set up triggers to alert you to dormancy, inactivity, late payments and general disengagement.


  • Frequency of interactions. If your team uses a CRM, make it a habit to record last contact dates. If you don’t have that information, start tracking it now.
  • Purchasing frequency. Are you monitoring trends in purchasing frequency? Look customers who may be off pace.
  • Late payments. If previously regular paying customers are starting to fall behind, have an account manager (not accounting) check in. You may have an opportunity to solve for problems before they commit to a decision.
  • Overall engagement. Use the tools in your marketing automation platform to develop contact scores, which represent the customer’s level of engagement with your digital assets. Contact your high scores to show appreciation. Contact your low scores to try to drive re-engagement.
  • Pick up the phone. You’ll get more context from a phone call than a survey. Find out how your customers are responding to the pandemic. Look for ways to help. If your customer is debating the value of your service
    • Proactively offer solutions. Get to the root issue to understand what they are trying to achieve. Is there another service that is more appropriate? Would they be making a strategic mistake?
    • Addition before subtraction. It’s not necessary to immediately move to reduced fees or services. There may be value-add services that can be offered instead to increase the value without decreasing the price.


Be Patient

Resist the urge to give in to a heightened sense of urgency to find a quick fix. Should you decide to move the customer to a lower tier or a lower price point or reduction in services, propose a short-term, temporary change. One quick example: A not-for-profit organization was facing a challenge with donors who reluctantly needed to stop contributing on a regular basis. The donors believed in the organization, but because of Covid needed to rein in spending. Instead, the organization proposed a win/win scenario that allowed donors to temporarily suspend donations without abandoning the organization. The donors responded very positively. “I didn’t know that was an option.” “Yes, I’d love to be able to come back and support you.”


If your organization is already customer-centric, you had prepared for a crisis long before it started. If the pandemic has you rethinking your approach to loyalty and retention, it’s certainly not disingenuous to start implementing some of these tactics now. Your customers need to hear from you now more than ever.


Is your marketing plan recession ready? Get our guide to leveraging digital marketing in a downturn >


Key Metrics for Tracking Customer Success

Customer Churn Rate: Churn rate measures the customers lost during a specified period. The simplest formula is (Customers lost) divided by (Customers at the beginning of the period).


Revenue Churn Rate. Not all customers are created equally. You may also want to consider measuring churn by revenue. For example, if you have two products (Basic and Premium), you would want to evaluate based on revenue.

(Basic customers lost x $100) + (Premium Customers lost x $250) / Combined Revenue for that period

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