Tuesday Morning CX Thoughts – Defining churn when there is no return

Is a one-time visitor valuable? 

I recall many years ago walking the central area of Brussels with a client and a colleague trying to decide on options for our dinner that night and the constant salesmanship of hosts at each restaurant we passed.  They would say almost anything to get you in the door to sit down. In these “pre-online review” days, we only had their word on the value of the restaurant. Today I live in a city known for its visitors, and with many restaurants with the same need, just get as many visitors in the door as you can. Recently I ate at one of those restaurants that cater mostly to tourists and was quite disappointed. Once we were seated there was a lack of attention, the food order arrived incorrectly and there were no apologies for any errors.  

This restaurant, like the ones in Brussels from several years ago, already had what they wanted – they filled a seat with a paying customer. During the peak of the weekend, that is exactly what they wanted, as many tables filled as possible. It didn’t matter if the patron was returning again, most of the staff expected that the customers they were serving would never be seen again. To the manager and the owner, they filled their tables so pockets would be full.  

Some customers you shouldn’t want coming back

Restaurants can be a tricky business, particularly in a tourist-driven community. There is another business model where you also don’t want your customers coming back – hospitals. For a very different reason, the goal of the hospital is to actually keep your ‘customers’ from coming back. However, it is easier to see the logic of a hospital not wanting their patients to return. They are there to promote the health and well-being of that patient, if they return for the same problem, in most cases that would be seen as a failure in the service. In both cases, the customer could come back, but you just don’t expect that from them.

So how would one consider churn when the expectation is that you will only see the customer once based on how your business is set up?  Clearly, if a restaurant (or any other business) had 100% churn, they wouldn’t promote that in their marketing even if it was the expected metric. 

How can you make decisions on what is good for the business – and ultimately customer recommendations – when you don’t expect to ever see that customer again?  

Building relationships is still important

One of the reasons we developed our unique QuestionPro NPS+ approach is to look at such situations. While one might contend that obtaining feedback from a customer experience management program has no value in businesses such as hospitals, it is also easy to see that in today’s interconnected world that any experience can be broadcast to a large audience through online reviews. Particularly when it comes to visiting new places, those reviews bring great value to the next visit even if it does not help the current customer.  Even utilizing closed-loop customer feedback from a customer experience survey could help eliminate what could be a bad online review.  

First, the challenge of getting their feedback is important. That is part of the very foundation of NPS+: one question, one open-end comment, and one more click for the root cause.  From that, we can understand how we are doing, quantitatively see the root cause and understand the feelings behind the individual scores.

However, there is one more key element that can be analyzed from our proprietary approach.

Comprehending the churn risk metric can help your business 

In getting that feedback, there will certainly be some balance of promoters, passives, and detractors. However, while they will all ‘Churn’ in such a business, the understanding of a churn risk measurement might help a “one-and-done business” to attract more customers.  Certainly having promoters using our QuestionPro promoter amplification tools can help get some positive reviews into the marketing arena.

There will also be some unrecoverable bad experiences that will make their way into others’ screens when considering their options. It is those passive responses that can make the difference between being a 4-star reviewed business or a 2-star reviewed business. Our churn risk measurement will gauge if a passive customer has some of the characteristics that look more like a detractor and can allow a brand to make decisions, both about fixing key concerns and working on customer recovery to avoid that bad review.

By understanding the churn risk, a brand can still help push better social reviews and keep their business profitable – all while having a near 100% churn.

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