Can Customer Churn Be Good for a B2B SaaS Business? Sometimes...
Customer churn tends to be viewed negatively by SaaS companies, and for good reason. However, in specific scenarios, it can actually be, dare we say, a positive.
When it comes to User Interviews’ partnership with Vitally, call it a comeback.
Hope Supernic, Director of Customer Success @ User Interviews
User Interviews makes it fast, easy, and affordable for research teams at Adobe, Spotify, Pinterest, Intuit, CNN, Amazon, and beyond, to recruit participants for user research. Organizations can source research participants from User Interviews' audience of over 850,000 quality participants. User Interviews exists to help teams discover user insights, and believe that fast access to quality participants is the key to that discovery.
Before adopting Vitally’s Customer Success platform, ‘manual’ and ‘reactive’ are two words Hope Supernic, the Director of Customer Success at User Interviews, used to describe the state of Customer Success at User Interviews.
“We really had no insight into our customers when I first started,” said Hope. “We knew that we had our whole customer list, but getting details on their subscriptions with us, how much they were using their subscriptions, and how often we were engaging with them, was really challenging and manual before we got into Vitally.”
Having to manually review their clients’ usage led to an overall lack of visibility into key customer lifecycle events for the Customer Success team at User Interviews.
“Before we had everything in Vitally, we were really doing a manual review of all of our clients' usage. We didn't have a great insight into when renewals were taking place,” said Hope. “Our contracts were often overlapping with each other if we had expansion for an existing contract. So keeping up with the updates to our clients’ subscriptions and understanding where they stood in the system was really challenging. Even just a sense of how often [our clients] were using our platform was all a manual check of an individual account.”
Two events led to Hope’s decision to migrate from email inboxes and disparate data points to a dedicated Customer Success platform; moving from a monthly subscription model to an annual one, and hiring User Interview’s first CSM.
“I knew that I needed to dedicate my time to getting our data right, and having it live somewhere where it was clean. Where we could see it easily and act upon it,” said Hope.
The catch? Vitally was already in User Interviews’ tech stack.
“I came into User Interviews after we had signed our contract [with Vitally], but we hadn't been using it really at all...” said Hope. “I did a little bit of research just to see what else was out there and it was clear to me that the integrations with Vitally were really the best to meet our needs.
Beyond Vitally’s integration capabilities, what set Vitally apart from other platforms in the space, and what sold User Interviews on Vitally (again), was overall ease of use.
“It was so easy to get our data started. I didn't need a lot of help from our IT side,” said Hope. “So that made it much easier for me to feel like I could be empowered to set everything up the way that I needed it."
“I was able to use all of the different features for customizations of traits to capture the details we really needed about our specific customer base,” said Hope. “We make the most of that data in Vitally by using playbooks and different indicators to alert me to issues with our clients.”
As the User Interviews team continued to dig deeper into Vitally, they discovered even more reasons to love the platform.
“My favorite thing about Vitally is probably all the playbooks, and how easy it is to set those up for automation. I've been able to automate how my CSMs are assigned to our clients, all of the onboarding dates, and tracking based on indicators and completed tasks,” said Hope. “So it's been so smooth and seamless for us to really act upon things and not have to worry about who's tracking what, where. It really keeps us aligned as a team and makes sure that we're not missing those little details that help us really understand our client’s journey.”
For the Customer Success team at User Interviews, Vitally is not just another tool in their technology stack.
“For me, Vitally is really our CRM for our subscription clients. It's where we go to understand our client base,” said Hope.
A day in the life of a CSM at User Interviews looks a lot like the inside of the Vitally app.
“We are in Vitally for all of our work on a daily basis. It's where we have all of our tasks for our clients, where we're running reports on our different client metrics to understand who to outreach to and when,” said Hope. “We've been doing a lot of AB testing in there with different email outreaches to get engagement, and all of that can be tracked right in Vitally to tell us what's working best. Our team is in there really constantly throughout the day doing onboarding details, tracking participation for our clients, and then acting upon that. It's our go-to for all of our daily work for CSMs.”
When it comes to reporting on their goals, CSMs at User Interviews are empowered to be proactive with their book of business.
“We have all of our OKRs tied to different reports in Vitally, and the team runs their own reports based on their client base to really act upon that,” said Hope. “So it's really given us a whole new perspective and ability to be proactive with our clients.”
Additionally, Customer Success leadership is able to manage up more effectively with Vitally’s reporting capabilities.
“I remember when I first got everything up and running, I ran a report of all of the upcoming renewals in the next quarter, and my VP was blown away because it was the first time we had an actual report with the renewal data in one place,” said Hope.
Having the ability to be proactive with their clients, as opposed to reactive, has resulted in real business value in the form of reduced churn.
“When we were in this more monthly model and not tracking things proactively, we were at a 6% churn rate. Now I'm able to actually actively track [churn] with Vitally, and we've been down closer to 3% [churn rate] which is really getting us on target for our renewal goals.”
So, how did User Interviews cut their churn rate in half since adopting Vitally? Automation.
“One of the most meaningful [OKRs] for us is our usage of our subscription sessions, and we can track that session exhaustion rate in Vitally now that we have that data coming in from our User Interviews platform. It actually shows us indicators of who is on target for renewal and who is behind, and then we have playbooks in place around outreach to those clients…” said Hope. “We created a playbook that looks four months out from their subscription renewal so that we have action steps to follow up if they're not engaged. We haven't had that insight before.”
Not only have Vitally’s automation capabilities helped User Interviews reduce their customer churn, it has helped Hope and her team preserve some of their most valuable resources—time and energy.
“The automation and playbook features are really the biggest benefit for our team. It saves me a lot of time and energy to be able to set up these automations based on our segments and different indicators about our clients that allow us to act upon it easily,” said Hope. “It assigns our CSMs. It sets up different projects for all of our new clients. It has just been a really seamless, easy to use system.”
Ultimately, Vitally has enabled the team at User Interviews to achieve their goal of having a proactive approach to Customer Success.
“Before we had everything in Vitally, we were manually doing everything to review our clients and it really made us be reactive, as opposed to proactive, in our CS approach. We didn't have the insight easily, so we couldn't look overall and make action plans based on where our clients stood,” said Hope. “With the help of Vitally we’ve been able to move to a proactive approach."
Once the Customer Success team at User Interviews rediscovered and re-invested in Vitally, their efforts began to take a turn for the proactive.
“Seeing everything in one place and being able to act upon it as a team has been really transformative for us,” said Hope.
The level of support provided by the Vitally team has played a key role in Vitally and User Interviews’ continued partnership.
“They get my questions fairly every day, and they're always really responsive. They've even taken steps to add features that I have requested based on our goals…” said Hope. “The Vitally team is really great at adding those [features] in or letting me know when they could be on the development roadmap.”
The TL;DR on why Hope recommends Vitally?
“I definitely recommend Vitally to others who are looking for a workspace for your CSMs. It's easy to use, it's really quick to get up and running with your data, and it has created a great proactive process for our team.”
So, when it comes to User Interviews’ partnership with Vitally, call it a comeback.
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