I Almost Churned: A true story about SaaS customer retention

In a bid to shape up my finances, I did an audit of my app subscriptions the other day. With Christmas around the corner, other big financial commitments on the horizon, and the prospect of a wobbly economy in the new year, some pruning was necessary. Like many millennials, my direct debits consist of the usual suspects: Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime, Audible, and a few others that I use for content creation.

Although annual subscriptions are often cheaper, it's not always feasible to fork out a hefty amount upfront – Grammarly, I'm talking to you. Premier Rush was a keeper because I love their video editing suite for iPad, as was Adobe Lightroom. 


But who didn't make the renewal cut?

Budget cut

For the past two years, I've used a software called 

CleanMyMac X from MacPaw. It's a magical tool that identifies all the duplicate files and other annoying things that clog up your Mac's drive.

Now, before all the Apple gurus jump on my case, let me just clarify; I am perfectly aware that there are ways to manually clean a Mac yourself. However, in all my years of owning one, I have yet to discover the hidden chamber where all these space-hogging files supposedly pile up. I've read all the online tutorials, I've checked my cookies, I've reviewed my Download Folder, and still, I get the threatening notifications about my storage running out. 

I am but a humble content writer, keen to get on with my day with minimal technical complications. So yes, I rely on an app that scans my laptop and makes very satisfying sounds when it sweeps away the nasties––including any malware. 

I can't say anything bad about MacPaw; it does what it says on the tin and works perfectly for someone like me who has limited patience when it comes to devices. But...they do have a £34.95 annual subscription, and mine was up for renewal. 


As I hovered over the re-subscribe button, I thought to myself:

"Perhaps it's time to put your big girl pants on and learn how to do this yourself. It's not been the easiest year, and every little helps, right? "

With 2020 inspiring so many of us to take up DIY or upskill on things we've neglected, I thought maybe this was my moment to be a strong independent woman.

Learn how to sort out your Mac, girl. Save your cash! God only knows what Rishi has planned for next year

So, I decided to cancel

That's right. I went from a faithful, loyal customer to penny pinching churner in one fell swoop. 

They got me good 

I didn't expect what happened next. I anticipated the same old same old when you cancel a subscription. Usually, a landing page asking you to tell the SaaS provider why you've cancelled and some cliched message about how sorry they are to see you go. You know, the type of stuff that solidifies your suspicions about being just another number

Who cares if you go? They'll no doubt get another subscriber in seconds. It's no secret that 89% of SaaS companies focus on new customer acquisition, what's another churner, hey?


But... that's not what happened. 


Instead, MacPaw asked if I'd been affected by COVID. Clearly, the company's marketing team had identified that their product was perceived as a luxury, and many people in my position were re-evaluating their subscriptions. 

Now, I haven't personally been affected by COVID, but as a result of the pandemic, I've entirely lost my side-hustle, which is what funded a lot of my more non-essential purchases. 

Screenshot of COVID-19 support form

So, I feel no shame in saying that I clicked: Yes. 

The MacPaw service team then swiftly sent me an email and offered to waive the fee for the next three months, meaning my subscription would only kick in again in February. Which, when I thought about it, was perfect. Christmas would be out of the way, the world may be in a more stable place (insert lots of optimism here), and I can continue having a clean and functional MacBook without becoming an Apple expert. Hoorah!


Is there a big SaaS marketing lesson here?

While not every business will be in a position to hand out freebies or delay payments, it's always important to look at what you can do. Although this example focusses on a B2C scenario, it can certainly be applied to B2B SaaS. 

At a time when many individuals and businesses are looking for ways to make their budgets go further, the time and effort you invest in understanding your customer and offering support––where you can––will help you grow in the long run. 

Perhaps one of the most valuable takeaways for you to think about here is that I wasn't an unsatisfied customer. There was nothing wrong with the product and, had it not been such a lean year, I wouldn't have thought so much about cutting out the small conveniences in my life. 

I bet that's true for many of your B2B customers who have made rushed decisions to scale back on expenditure in anticipation of a shrinking economy. A lot of the time, these relationships can be salvaged with simple and genuine outreach. How can we help you? Have you been affected? Is there some way we can meet in the middle? Not only will your customers appreciate this, but they'll be happy to recommend you – look at MacPaw, they just earned themselves an entire blog of praise from me. 


You may find that the client didn't really want to give up on your service; they just felt like they didn't have a choice

Inbound makes sense now

If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that it's time to break away from rigid protocols and be more flexible in our approach – in business, and in life. It's given many organisations the chance to really put inbound methodology into practice.  

Being responsive to your environment; setting up landing pages that speak to current events and address current issues; reviewing your pricing strategy and finding ways to support your customers – these are the things that will make post-pandemic recovery much easier for everyone. It's an ecosystem you want to invest in because you'll always feel the knock-on effect. According to HubSpot, even a 5% increase in customer retention could boost your returns by as much as 95%. 


So what has your strategy been throughout the pandemic?

What have you done to keep your customers? 

At Klood, we specialise in creating sustainable growth strategies for SaaS businesses. If your customers are churning and you're not sure why, our experts would be happy to jump on a call and see where we can help you up your game. It's a pivotal time to reimagine your digital marketing strategy, to put the tools and practices into action that will help you keep your customers and grow your market share, so let's get planning.


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