How a Social Media Software Company Retains Customers by Building Relationships

Jerett Rion on April 07, 2020

In a technology driven world, where it feels like consumers are always looking for the next best service or software to jump ship to, reducing churn can be challenging for a SaaS company like Emphatic

We use Baremetrics to keep track of churn on a monthly, yearly, and even daily basis. Using that data, we attempt to tackle churn in five different ways: 

  1. Offer free trainings, workshops, & bonuses
  2. Stay engaged with customers via chat and email 
  3. Referral/affiliate programs 
  4. Owning up to mistakes 
  5. Adding new features 

I’ll dive into each of these and provide examples of how we use these tactics to combat churn. 

About Emphatic

Emphatic is a social media automation software, similar to Hootsuite or Buffer. But we not only automatically post to our clients’ social media pages, we also curate and write the posts for them. 

Emphatic has been around since 2014, but changed leadership in January of 2019. When we took over, Emphatic had just over 100 users on the platform, and about $24,000 in monthly recurring revenue (MRR)

In 14 months, we have grown Emphatic to more than 850 users and expect to eclipse $90,000 in MRR soon! 

1) Offer free trainings, workshops, & bonuses

As a software company, we understand how hard it can be to circumnavigate or learn a new software platform, especially if you are switching from one you’ve used for years. 

This is why we offer free training, workshops, and additional bonuses, both for trial users and long-time users. 

Since we are a social media automation software, a lot of our additional content is focused around things such as: 

  • Growing your following on different social media platforms

  • How to calculate return-on-investment (ROI) on organic social media campaigns 

  • Identifying your target audience on social media

Basically, anything that will supplement what we are already offering. 

This same strategy can be applied to any business, as long as the bonus material you are offering helps them in addition to what your service is currently delivering for them.

Here are some examples of some of the bonus materials we have offered:

emphatic bonus contentemphatic bonus content example

2) Stay engaged with customers via chat and email 

Now, this may seem like an obvious option, but you would be surprised how many SaaS companies don’t do this with their users. 

How many times have you gotten a charge from something and not even realized where it came from? Then, you check your email to find nothing from them? It happens often. 

At Emphatic, we pride ourselves on transparency and staying in contact with our users. 

First, we offer live chat via Intercom on our website for any organic visitors who might have questions (pictured below), as well as inside our software so our users can address any issues they might have or also ask questions.

emphatic intercom example

We believe this goes a long way because we are always available (Monday-Friday, 8am to 4:30pm CST) and respond to every inquiry we get. Availability has been something our long-time users point to as a reason they stick with us, even when things aren’t 100% perfect. 

In addition to our availability via chat on the website, we also have an email onboarding sequence for every trial user, whether they came on through a special promotion or they just organically found our website. 

During this trial sequence, we send the user a series of emails. The series walks them through how to set up their account properly to get the full experience, as well as a warning on when their trial is about to expire if they wish to cancel. 

Want to retain more customers? 

Use Baremetrics to automatically email customers before a payment is due, and after a payment is missed.

We also send our paying users an email update twice a month to remind them about things that are happening at Emphatic, as well as any new updates about the software and tips/tricks they can take advantage of in their account. 

Below you can find an example of one of the trial emails we send our users:

emphatic email

3) Referral/affiliate programs 

Referral and affiliate programs are a great way to offer your long-time users the ability to earn additional income or free perks in your business/software. This does two things: 

  1. Let’s users know that you care about them 

  2. Reduces churn because setting up an affiliate program gives them an incentive to stick around 

Every single Emphatic user has the ability to share a special link in their account that gives the user they referred 10% off their first month and also gives them an additional free 25 posts which they can use however they choose. 

If users want a more rewarding affiliate program, we also set up income earning affiliate/referral programs for users where they get 10% of every user they refer for every month they are with us. 

These affiliates get their own landing page and special plans created for tracking. We set these up for any Emphatic user that expresses interest and again allows them to create an additional revenue stream for their business. 

6 Proven Strategies to Reduce Churn

We asked over a dozen SaaS companies to share their tactics. Here’s what we found.

4) Owning up to mistakes 

Like email communication, this may seem like a no brainer. But you’d be surprised to find out how many companies don’t do this, whether it be inadvertently or on purpose. 

At Emphatic, we understand that things break, especially when it comes to software and technology. 

Any time a user comes to us with an issue, whether it be a post not going out or difficulty linking one of their social media accounts, we troubleshoot the issue.

If we find out that the user did everything and the error still happened, we know that there was an issue with our software and we immediately own up to the mistake. 

Depending on the scenario, we will tie in our tech team so they can get to the bottom of it and we can provide the user some clarification on why this happened and how to prevent it in the future. 

If the issue caused them to miss part of what they paid for or majorly impacted their account, then we offer some sort of recoup for their account. It could be extra posts for the month or a discount on future or even partial refunds for that month. 

This shows our customers that we care, and even though we lose some revenue in the short term, it’s cheaper than having them cancel. 

5) Adding new features 

The worst thing any business can do is stay complacent. As a software company, we understand that we always need to be looking to adapt and add new features to our platform for users. 

The most recent thing we added was blog writing services for our clients. We heard from a few of our bigger clients saying, “Hey! You already write our social media posts for us. Can you write blogs for our site that you can also use to share on social media?” 

A light bulb went off in my head after hearing it so many times and began offering it as a service after a few weeks of implementation. 

Listening to the needs and wants of your customers is the easiest way to add new features to keep them around. In your update emails that you are sending to customers, ask them for their feedback from time to time. It can be informal or through a survey, and use this information to make improvements to your business that your current customers want. 

This is one of the easiest ways to keep them around longer and reduce churn. In fact, our development team is working on a new version of the software based on feedback from our clients and writers right now. 

Obviously, there are numerous other tactics to reduce churn that we utilize at Empathic, but these five main points have helped us grow tremendously over the last 14 months and also allowed us to keep these new users on board longer.

Hope you can use some of these in your day-to-day business practices!

Jerett Rion

Jerett Rion is based out of St. Louis, Missouri and originally started out as an account manager at LinkedSelling in 2017 managing client’s marketing on LinkedIn. When LinkedSelling purchased Emphatic in January of 2019, he was tasked with the daily operations of Emphatic and managing a team of 100+ writers and 3 full-time employees.