Chapter 4

Voluntary Churn vs Involuntary Churn

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Customer Churn: The Ultimate Guide

Distinguishing voluntary vs. involuntary churn is very important to segment, as one is very preventable and can immediately be updated to increase retention - whereas the other is a lot harder to fix and more nuanced of an issue to address.

Involuntary Churn

Involuntary churn occurs when a customer would like to buy from you again but is prevented from doing so through reasons beyond their control. This can happen for a number of reasons, including:

  • They forgot that it was time to renew their contract with you
  • They can’t log into their account to renew a subscription or make a purchase because of a lost password
  • They are struggling to get a demo of your product
  • Their automated renewal failed because their credit card information is outdated
  • They can’t afford your product any longer
  • Covid is impacting their business

None of these reasons reflect dissatisfaction with your product or service. 

Voluntary Churn

In contrast, voluntary churn indicates that customers chose not to continue doing business with you for reasons such as:

  • They didn’t get the benefit they were hoping for when they purchased your product or service
  • They didn’t find your product design user-friendly
  • They don’t utilize all of their licenses to justify continuing on
  • They had a bad experience with your customer success team
  • They decided to buy from a competitor instead

These reasons involve a conscious decision by your customer not to buy from you again. Both involuntary and voluntary factors can cause a customer to churn.