Predicting customer churn then stepping in to stop it…

February 26, 2018

Sounds like something from science fiction?

Conjures up scenes from the block-buster, Minority Report, where ‘pre-cogs’ predicted crimes before they happened and members of the ‘pre-crime’ squad arrested perpetrators before they even lifted a finger?

However, predicting churn before it happens is not the stuff of sci-fi. It is here with us today thanks to powers of artificial intelligence (AI) and the tenacity and determination of two Australian customer retention experts, Libby Dale and Mike Crooks, who have developed the world’s first churn predictive software applicable across industry.

Aptly called, SmartMeasures, this clever software enables businesses to accurately pinpoint if customers are on the verge of churn (or at the very least, are thinking about it) and to very quickly step in before an irritation or series of annoyances becomes a full-blown problem.

The new solution is riding on the back of a global trend focussed on retaining customers rather than accepting attrition as a normal but painful part of business. This, in turn, has spawned the emergence of a brand new practise area, ‘customer success management’.

Not surprisingly, says Ms Dale, SmartMeasures has the potential to save businesses millions of dollars in lost business.

“Conservatively speaking our software is capable of stripping 10 percent from our churn bill. By way of example, a company losing $500 million to customer attrition (which is commonplace in high-churn industries), can at the very least anticipate savings in the order of $20M per annum.

“Naturally our expectation is that it will save them much, much more.”

SmartMeasures is now available to English speaking businesses globally which has a churn problem costing them in excess of $10M annually. However, those with churn problems over $50M are likely to benefit most.

Rather than relying on the ‘pre-cogs’ of Minority Report to foresee pending attrition, the software relies on an exhaustive collection of customer risk markers or measures drawn from across business. These measures have the potential to contribute to changes in customer sentiment and can include negative customer behaviour such as not paying bills on time, declining product usage, complaints, calling the call centre on multiple occasions or impacts the business has on customers such as operational problems, late delivery, variable product quality, billing errors and so on.

When one of these markers or a mix of these markers is detected by Smart Measures, alerts are triggered in real time, enabling the system to instantly trigger a series of automated responses or for business to step in and remediate the problem.

The application of artificial intelligence or machine learning to the software is real ‘magic sauce’ and has taken the prediction and remediation of customer risk to a whole new level. It has also provided the software with its real edge in the market.

“Basically it has empowered our software to do what would not be humanly possible,” says Ms Dale

“AI enables Smart Measures to scroll through vast amounts of customer interaction data and very accurately predict which customers are at risk of churning and determine what action or treatment plans should be applied to the problem. The best is that this happens in real time which means that businesses can react instantly to a customer’s changing circumstances, rather than some time after the event when remediation may be too late and the damage is already done!

“Also rather than take a ‘one size fits all’ approach to managing risk, AI gives businesses the smarts to intervene on a case by case basis and apply treatment plans to suit the level and type of risk detected.  This cuts out the annoyance for customers of being placed in a mass retention campaign that has little or no relevance to them or may cause further irritation.”

By automating the monitoring and treatment process, the application of AI/SmartMeasures has lessened the need for human intervention such as constantly checking dashboards or calling up clients when non-human responses would be more effective. “This allows for a smarter and more productive use of resourcesHowever, this does not totally eliminate human intervention but which happens only when deemed absolutely necessary,” says Ms Dale.

The software falls into a rapidly emerging business practise area or discipline known as Customer Success Management. Subsequently, the product will be referred to as ‘customer success software’.

Unlike customer service, which takes a REACTIVE approach to managing customers and their problems, customer success is about businesses being PROACTIVE and dealing with customer problems and issues before they become insurmountable and the customer leaves.

“While so-called ‘customer success software’ has been about for some time, it has largely been used to measure the success of how customers use their software as a service (SaaS) purchases – if there is an opportunity to upsell or if customers are at risk of no longer purchasing. In essence, it has been an industry spawned to support businesses which sell SaaS or subscription based products. 

“SmartMeasures has significantly broadened this approach to include non-SaaS software usage and apply Customer Success Management to the industry more broadly,” says Ms Dale.

 

For more media information contact:

Wendy Parker on 0422 694 503