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There's nobody who hasn't heard about it: social media powerhouse Facebook is changing its name to "Meta" — a shift that represents building the "metaverse" — a shared virtual environment that will be the mobile internet's successor. CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that the Facebook enterprise is currently "so tightly linked to one product that it can't possibly represent everything that we're doing today...let alone in the future."
Effectively, Facebook's corporate structure will not change, yet the company's recent focus on augmented and virtual reality is facilitating a change that will "bring together its different apps and technologies under one brand."
In terms of the Facebook user experience, one of the most fundamental shifts is that eventually, users will no longer need to use Facebook to use the company's individual services.
The famous Facebook thumbs-up "Like" logo as we know it has now been replaced by a blue infinity shape. That’s definitely a BIG change for all of us.
And now, this is where customer success professionals weigh in:
Will naming themselves “meta” impact Facebook’s customer retention, or even lead to churn?
EverAfter CEO Noa Danon addresses this delicate issue by advising CS professionals how to prevent customer churn when your brand is about to make internal changes.
Making a plan of action to manage changes
When you foresee (or are already planning) a rebranding in your future, it’s possible that a gap will form between: how the rebranding is better suited to your company vision vs. customers’ (and people in general) tendency to grow skeptical of the need to adapt to changes and new circumstances. This is why we strongly advise building a clearcut “change management plan” to make sure you cover all the bases of what customers should expect and how to guide them through the changes as smoothly as possible.
Start out by asking yourself these questions:
Are key features changing or being removed?
Are any features being removed? Are there databases they might lose access to? Is it worth sending them a checklist of things they will need to check before rebranding is launched?
In parallel, if no feature is being changed or removed — it’s equally as important to clarify this to your customers and not keep them in the dark.
Will there be changes to your software UI?
Will the rebranding be accompanied by major UI changes? If so, ask yourself if your customers will need to be re-trained in any way? Will you need to re-onboard them to navigate new interfaces? If so, is it worth doing pre-recorded tutorials, live onboarding calls, or both?
Should you consider creating tailored “insiders only” content — such as a webinar or white paper about the rebrand?
Before you launch a major rebrand, should you consider hosting a webinar or premium content for your customers that will give them a supportive space for learning about the changes?
It may even be a good idea to segment your audience (providing tailored content to each one) so that each group will be exposed to the product/organization changes specifically relevant to them. This could be broken down, for example, into company size (SMBs vs. Enterprise clients) or according to geographic customer communities.
These activities might even be a counter-intuitive opportunity to use the change or redirection of your organization as a way to not only keep your customers, but to turn them into brand ambassadors of your renewed brand or product.
Secondary assets — do customers need to take action?
There might be secondary assets or projects that will need to be rebranded also that aren’t a direct part of your product — e.g. white labeled products or, in Facebook’s case, the current platforms people log into with their Facebook credentials. Think about if this affects your customers, and how to avoid problems and bottlenecks later on.
User credentials — will anything change?
Will customers' usernames stay the same? Will the login process's user flow be affected in any way? To avoid disorienting users in the future and making sure they can keep using your services comfortably, it might be worth addressing this point whether or not changes to the login process lie ahead.
Is your value proposition changing?
Is your fundamental value proposition changing? Or just the visual theme of your messaging? If the VP is changing, how will this affect the product offering, and the customer experience as a result?
Can you still accommodate each customer's pain points?
What about each individual customer's pain points? Is the new brand identity one that can relate to your customer pain points? If it’s unclear, how can you approach customers directly to explain why you are still relevant to their use case?
Should customers expect a re-pricing in the near future?
Will your rebranding be followed by a re-pricing campaign or even just the names of the subscription level? Again, should you inform customers ahead of time to make sure no curveballs are thrown at them?
Will your position on the competitive landscape change?
Will these changes make your product or offering seem too similar to industry rivals? If and when explaining your changes to customers, make sure they understand how you are still the right address for their pain point, even if at first glance you now seem more similar to competitors.
Will your Terms & Conditions change?
Will your services' Terms & Conditions change? If so, should you inform existing customers or even consult with your legal counsel about what practical steps you need to take?
Would your customers appreciate a “special offer” to make up for the required actions they need to take to do version updates and data exporting etc.?
If your customers do end up needing to spend time addressing product updates, they may appreciate a token of appreciation for the time they’re spending to make sure they can keep using your product.
Let’s say your customers have a deadline for when they need to export multiple databases or spreadsheets as .CSV files to then re-upload later on. You might want to consider giving them a free product upgrade or subscription renewal to encourage them that the extra time spent will be worth it in the long run.
Will your customers' points of contact at the company change?
A large-scale rebranding or company acquisition might have implications on the structure or operational model of your customer success or support teams. If your customers' points of contact will be replaced by a different team member, they'll need all the updated information and a comprehensive explanation of how this will change their experience.
Will your customer-facing teams still operate the same way?
Should customers expect to see changes among customer-facing teams, such as customer support and success? Will there be additional or fewer options of how to contact company representatives, or are you potentially adding a chatbot to your website or portal? These are important facts to clarify so that your customers stay fully informed.
The path to success
Whether or not you see a rebranding coming up in your future, applying the mindset of making sure your customers are confident that you’re accommodating their pain points, comfortable navigating your UI, aware of your strongest features, etc. — are all excellent ways to prevent churn and make every customer all the more loyal and devoted.