Three Reasons Why Customers Churn During Implementation

August 30, 2023

A poor implementation or onboarding experience is one of the top three reasons customers churn. Reducing churn has a massive impact on almost every part of your business.

Churn at implementation, or failure-to-launch churn, is so painful because it’s so avoidable. In this blog we outline the top contributing factors to failure to launch churn and how you can avoid it.

What Causes Failure-to-Launch Churn

1. The Implementation is overly complex and lacks visibility 

If the onboarding process is overly complicated, time-consuming, or lacks clear guidance, customers become frustrated and discontinue their use of the product. A smooth and client-friendly onboarding experience is crucial to help customers understand the value of the product quickly.

We understand some products or services are unavoidably ‘complex’. They may have integrations with legacy tools that are complex, there may be a lot of moving parts, or you work in an over regulated industry. Still, there are steps you can take to mitigate confusion during the implementation phase. 

Visibility is key for teams with longer, data-heavy, and complex implementations. Presenting a clear project plan, giving your client access to real-time information, and having clear deadlines and descriptions associated with tasks, phases, and milestones will increase client confidence. If your client can see a clear path to go-live and value, they’ll be much more likely to stick with the plan.

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2. Lack of Clear Value

If customers do not perceive the immediate or long-term value of your SaaS product during implementation, they might see it as an unnecessary expense. It’s important to effectively communicate and demonstrate the benefits and solutions the product offers.

In reality this step starts at the top of the funnel. Some customers aren’t a good fit, and jamming the deal through despite that fact sets your implementation and services team up for failure. That’s an avoidable situation, but one that happens too often. This is why we recommend involving a solutions or implementation manager earlier in the sales process than you might think necessary. The question “is it possible” or “are they a good fit” is an important one.

If that isn’t the case, and your bullseye profile customer still isn’t seeing value, you may need to look for ways to accelerate time-to-value for your customer. 

Clear project plans and reporting are prerequisites for accelerating time-to-value – or as we call it, time-to-launch. Keeping a system of record, automating manual project admin, and identifying bottleneck tasks all play a key role in TTL. Not so coincidentally, this is exactly why we built Baton. We know getting customers to value quickly and predictably can have a significant impact on revenue retention.

3. Insufficient Support and Training 

Inadequate customer support, training, or documentation can leave customers feeling stranded and unsupported during the onboarding process. If they face challenges and don’t receive timely assistance, they might give up on the product and seek alternatives.

Visibility is important here as well. Having a centralized place for customers to go to see project related information can help pre-empt a lot of questions that come in. A centralized and collaborative project plan is like your pre-go-live knowledge base. 

A standardized and visible project plan serves another purpose. Once your process is standardized and in a template, your team is going to have a really good idea of what the customer has been sold and what their needs are. With a strong template based on data, you can anticipate customer needs and questions before they even come in the door. 

Failure-to-launch churn is painful and avoidable. Products and teams that invest in process improvements designed to keep the customers they win will be better positioned than teams who do not. 

Loadstop, an industry leading transportation management system, eliminated failure-to-launch churn with Baton and cut implementation time in half. This had a significant impact on revenue retention and time-to-value. Read the case study for the details.