How to improve your renewal rates and retain more customers

If you’re running a subscription-based business, you’ve worked hard to acquire customers and provide a quality product or service. But poor renewal rates can eat into your profits and lead to a declining customer base. Taking the right steps can improve your renewal rates and boost your profits instead.

These retention strategies can help you avoid cancellations and cultivate loyal customers.

Start by segmenting your audience

To improve your renewal rates, you’ll need to take some specific actions, but you don’t want to apply these actions to your entire customer base. Instead, focus on segmenting your audience based on customer renewals and customer churn.

As you segment your audience, look for factors that can help you identify which customers are likely to churn, or drop off. Key metrics — like lack of engagement, multiple support tickets, and an overall decline in use of your product — can help you identify the potential for customer churn.

Identify factors associated with high churn rates. Did they occur when new customers were using a certain product? Did they occur at a certain time of year? Did certain events lead up to the subscription cancellations, like an increase in support tickets?

Identifying the types of events leading up to churn can help you establish a playbook of steps you can implement to turn around your customers’ experience, retaining those high-risk customers as subscribers and boosting your renewal rate. Every little bit makes a difference.

Act quickly when customers fall off

Be prepared to quickly address customers who haven’t renewed their subscriptions. Establish a funnel of email offers that you can automatically send out when a customer misses their renewal deadline.

In these emails, include a reminder as the deadline approaches, and then send out several “We miss you” offers after the subscription’s expiration. You may offer a discount on pricing in these emails and increase that discount as more time goes by.

Determine what customer success looks like

Ensure that you’re creating an ideal customer journey. Everything from the onboarding process to the customer support experience needs to run smoothly and be designed with customer satisfaction in mind.

Get your customer success team involved and look at the feedback you’re receiving after service calls and subscription cancellations. This feedback can help you identify additional ways you can help customers and ensure that every interaction they have with your business is a positive one.

Make renewals easy

It’s equally important to examine the renewal process. The easier you can make this process, the higher your renewal rate will be.

If you haven’t done so already, offer customers the chance to automate their renewals so they don’t have to approve them manually. Give them the ability to store credit cards or other payment information, and let automation take care of the renewals for them.

Examine your renewal form as well. These forms need to be easy for your customers to understand, and they should be brief and easy to fill out.

People don’t like to spend time filling out forms. In fact, research has shown that roughly 80 percent of people abandon forms they’ve started to fill out and that prefilling forms with information from social media profiles can increase submissions nearly 200 percent.

With Jotform Prefill, you can prefill forms manually or through integrations with other tools like Salesforce or HubSpot, creating a customized form for each recipient with their name and personal information. You can then share the pre-populated form with that recipient, so they don’t have to enter all that information themselves.

The Prefill feature even lets you set the form to be read-only, or you can allow the recipient to edit any of the fields you’ve already filled in. The read-only setting is a great choice when you’re sending out contracts for clients to sign.

This video details just how the Prefill Forms feature can help improve your renewal rates.

In addition to saving form recipients time and encouraging them to sign and submit forms, prefilling forms has other important benefits. You can reduce errors with pre-populated fields, so the data you collect is more accurate. You can also ensure that important fields aren’t omitted, cutting down on any follow-up correspondence to track down missing data.

The value of improving your subscription renewal rates

You’ll need to put some work into improving your renewal rate, but doing so can pay off financially. To see that value, take a look at your customer acquisition costs and the customer lifecycle value.

When you’re able to improve customer loyalty, your existing customers will provide greater long-term value, and you’ll see greater profits as a result. Increasing the number of customers who renew their subscriptions can help create steady revenue. Rather than letting the cost of acquiring new customers decrease your net profits, you’ll be making a worthwhile investment in long-term, loyal customers.

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