Most customer success articles you’ll read talk about helping customers reach their ideal outcomes – ideal outcomes are the most important thing, the very job description of customer success. But there’s another job that comes before ideal outcomes, one which, if done poorly, will result in churn even if ideal outcomes are achieved.
Let’s begin with a cautionary tale – a true story – of a SaaS app that failed to set expectations that matched what the app did.
It’s a fitness app which shall remain nameless, but it’s much like its primary competitor, MyFitnessPal. Unlike MyFitnessPal, it offered a sleek, integrated user interface that seamlessly brought together exercise tracking via pedometer and nutrition tracking, but it also offered something more: A personal fitness coach. (I should also mention that this particular fitness app is one of the most expensive currently on the market – but for such personal attention? Totally worth it.)
While on the website copy and in the app itself, this company promised a customized approach to getting fit, complete with a personal wellness coach who would be accessible via private chat to offer encouragement at times of crisis and temptation, it didn’t deliver as described.
Within a few days, it became apparent that the “personal coach” is really only accessible via group chat. In fact, if you try to contact the coach via the in-app private chat box (which even has the coach’s picture on it), the coach will never actually see your message – you’ll get an automated reply from a bot.
When all of this was revealed – in the group chat room – every participant was taken aback, and several initiated their free trial cancellations within days.
Even though they liked the app.
Even though they were already seeing the results they’d hoped for.
Yes, even when customers were achieving their ideal outcomes, because of the mismatch between their expectations and the services delivered, they left.
But not before sending feedback – which went unanswered.
It was a customer success failure of a magnitude we don’t, frankly, see very often. And it’s almost painful when you realize that nearly all of their churn was completely, 100% avoidable.
If only they had matched customer expectations to what they were actually prepared to deliver.
What it felt like was a bait and switch.