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How to Lower SaaS Customer Churn in Foreign Markets

Customer churn rate refers to the number of customers or subscribers who stopped using your product or service within a particular period. For subscription-based products, like SaaS (Software as a Service), customer churn is one of the most important metrics you can get and it helps determine the business’ overall performance.

As SaaS companies expand internationally, customer churn rates are one of the metrics they need to keep an eye on more closely. However, keeping customer churn in check globally can be a challenge, due to differences in customer behaviour and needs from one market to another.

In this article, we’ll discuss customer churn across different markets, customer loyalty strategies that you can adopt to reduce customer churn, and the importance of localisation in customer acquisition, satisfaction, and retention.

In this post:

How customer churn differs between countries or regions

Customer churn rates vary from market to market due to differences in customer behaviour, customer expectations, and customer preferences.

For example, customers prefer products with a lower data limit in regions where Internet bandwidth is low, while they prefer higher data limits in areas where broadband connections are relatively faster and more stable.

Likewise, customer expectations differ from country to country. For instance, customer expectations of customer support and customer experience differ a lot between Japan and the US. In the Asian market, customer service is usually offered in person rather than through electronic means, so customers tend to avoid using software that requires them to contact customer support via email or live chat.

Once you know what your customer base likes and expects of you in each region, you can tailor customer churn reduction strategies to suit the customer needs and preferences of your target audience.

Identify what drivers customer satisfaction in each market

Just like customer churn rates differ from one market to another, so do customer satisfaction levels and the reasons for it.

In Japan, for instance, customer satisfaction is largely drawn from customer support and customer experience. The Japanese customer tends to be more concerned about customer service as a whole rather than just the software or product itself. That means customer churn in Japan is often caused by problems with customer support, not the product itself.

It’s also worth conducting local-language customer interviews in each market you operate in, to determine customer feedback on your product or service. Gauging customer satisfaction from a combination of data sources will give you clarity on customer satisfaction drivers and help uncover problems before they become serious enough to cause customer churn. Then, your product development, marketing, and customer service teams can design market-appropriate customer retention strategies.

Review your customer success process

A fundamental step to lowering customer churn is understanding exactly how customer success works within your business. For each market, knowing what customer success looks like at every point in the customer’s journey, from initial sign-up all the way through to customer retention and subscription renewals, can make a considerable difference to customer satisfaction, which in turn will have an effect on customer churn.

If there are areas within the customer journey where customer satisfaction is low or customer pain points are known to occur, then steps should be taken to resolve them.

How SaaS localisation can help reduce customer churn across the globe

When considering, designing and implementing customer churn reduction strategies, localisation should be a key consideration from the start of the customer acquisition process. Language barriers, local purchasing habits, and cultural requirements can determine whether your product will achieve customer satisfaction levels that will keep customer churn low.

Localisation of the user interface

Even though nowadays most people have at least basic competence in a second language (especially English), that’s not enough. It’s been proven that users, even if bilingual, ignore products if they are not available in their language. The cultural adaptation and translation of your product’s UI make the customer experience more friendly and efficient in each country, which is likely to drive customer satisfaction levels up and customer churn rates down.

The main goal is to make the interface look and feel local while enabling a smooth customer experience. You can achieve this by localising:

  • The information flow: Not all cultures process information in the same way. Take the case of an app’s sign-up flows. According to the purpose, the audience, the culture, and the language, the chosen sign-up flow will be different. The key idea is to reduce unnecessary friction and only ask for what each culture considers essential information.
  • Layout and navigation: This involves changing the appearance of elements such as icons or images to better reflect local tastes and preferences. If necessary, rename certain things in your app to make them easier for people from different cultures to identify with.
  • Branding: Customise the branding of your product by localising graphics, colour palettes, even emojis! Thumbs-up emojis, for example, are offensive in Nigeria. In terms of colours, China considers the white colour to represent death and mourning while Japan associates the colour purple with danger.
  • Culturally-dependent data and processes: This category encompasses the localisation of date and time formatting, phone number formats, email address formats, customer service hours, customer support channels, customer feedback mechanisms, etc.
  • SEO content: There’s no point in localising anything if nobody can find the translated version in the target market. Just like the source language copy needs to rank high on search engines, so do its several localised versions. Learn more about SEO Translation here.

Read more about UI localisation here.

Localisation of customer support

Localisation of customer support options is also critical. While customer support in English is better than nothing, it’s not good enough for your customers. If customer support is only offered in English, you risk upsetting your customers even further, particularly if they don’t have great language skills themselves. Remember that they are contacting you with a problem! It’s crucial to get them back on track by offering satisfactory customer care in the local language, from the inception of the customer relationship.

For customer churn reduction, local customer service is the key. Customer service that caters to local needs (within your customer base) can lead to a lower customer churn rate in foreign markets. For example, you can set up forums or social media profiles in the target market’s language to provide customer support 24/7 instead of sending tickets during office hours only. Also, consider localising:

  • Customer support emails and ticket descriptions
  • Customer notifications
  • Chatbot scripts
  • Customer contact numbers (make sure you display local numbers or international ones with their corresponding dialling codes)
  • Local customer support hours (both on- and offline).
  • Customer support documentation like help articles, user guides, and how-to articles
  • FAQs

Localisation of marketing collateral

The localisation of marketing assets includes messages on landing pages, advertisement, product descriptions, slogans, social media posts, blog posts, customer success stories, tutorials, etc.

When all this content is available in the local language, not only do you have a much easier time reaching out to local prospects and converting them into customers but you also drive customer satisfaction. Remember that higher customer satisfaction is linked to customer retention. In other words, the SaaS customer churn rate will be affected positively by customer satisfaction.

Reducing customer churn is easy with a plan and the right support

Reducing SaaS customer churn levels may entail a lot of effort. Fortunately, solid market research and localisation strategies can save you a lot of trouble in the customer acquisition and customer retention stages of your customer lifecycle, which in turn can lead to customer churn reduction.

If you’re interested in discussing how we can help with customer churn reduction, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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