ChurnZero vs Vitally: Choosing The Right CS Platform


Paula Britta Palm

Customer Success Lead @ Modash


March 20, 2023

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It’s hard work to build a functional Customer Success organization, and working with Google Sheets isn’t enough. You need to know everything about a customer to make sure they are content, getting the most out of your tool, and reaching their goals. And when you have a larger number of customers, it gets more difficult. 

I'm a Customer Success team lead, and I've recently been through the process of buying a customer success platform. Comparing platforms is difficult and time-consuming! Let me try to help you save time, and make the right choice between Vitally & ChurnZero.

The difference between ChurnZero and Vitally

The main difference is that Vitally is more affordable, easier to use & manage, and has faster implementation -- while ChurnZero is more expensive, but comes with a more mature toolkit & broader integrations.

Vitally covers all the standard CS use cases like account health, playbook automation, risk/opportunity detection, and has a more modern UI.

ChurnZero is more expensive, it comes with a broader range of integrations, has more built-in survey & messaging tools, but is also harder to manage & use.

Reasons to choose Vitally Reasons to choose ChurnZero
Faster time to value and easier to use More native integrations
More affordable In-app messaging and NPS/CSAT built-in
More data warehouse integrations (e.g. Redshift, BigQuery) EU data storage
Easier to modify integrations and metrics without support More ways to share data externally
Better customer-facing collaboration feature (Docs)
Get a Demo Get a Demo

Comparing ChurnZero & Vitally

1. Integrations

Summary: Overall ChurnZero has more integrations than Vitally (e.g. Pipedrive, HelpScout), but Vitally has more data warehouses & integrations are generally easier to manage. Both have REST APIs.

ChurnZero has more direct integrations available overall.

Regarding CRMs, both tools integrate with Salesforce & Hubspot. Vitally focus on depth of those integrations, rather than adding more. So if you're using a different CRM (e.g. Pipedrive, Copper), then ChurnZero is likely going to be the preferred choice. If you're using Salesforce or HubSpot though, you might find Vitally's integrations more detailed & easier to manage.

In terms of helpdesk / ticketing software integrations, both can be directly integrated with Intercom and Zendesk. Again, ChurnZero has more options available such as HelpScout, Freshdesk, and Jira.

A note on Intercom integrations: it's worth knowing that, while ChurnZero's Intercom integration is read-only, Vitally's goes further. It can sync data both ways. E.g. chats and usage data can be brought from Intercom to Vitally - and it provides the ability to respond to conversations within Vitally. It can also send Vitally data like MRR, Health Scores and more back to Intercom.

To include your product usage data in either platform, you can integrate directly with Segment, Mixpanel, and Pendo. For payment-related data, you have direct integration with Stripe and Chargebee available for both.

A note on integration management & flexibility: managing integrations is easier in Vitally. In ChurnZero, although there are more integrations available, you'll find yourself needing to wait for their support team, or utilizing dev resources, to make changes.

Both ChurnZero & Vitally offer their own REST APIs which you can use to integrate data from any system that isn’t available.

2. Surveying & feedback features

Summary: ChurnZero offers more native features for customer surveys like NPS/CSAT. Vitally only has the NPS survey, BUT integrates well with Intercom.

Everyone in Success always wants to find the best way to gather customer feedback and understand how satisfied the customer is. Some maturer companies have the ability to build their own surveys in-house but the ones who do not have the luxury can use the same tool to develop and publish surveys.

Vitally allows you to implement and carry out an NPS survey. You can easily do it by implementing their Javascript snippet, identifying the logged-in user and business, and configuring when users should be surveyed. 

ChurnZero has an integrated customer survey tool that enables you to carry out an NPS, CSAT, CES, or custom survey. Customer Success surveys can be delivered through email and In-App Communications however the website does not clarify how it can be implemented. However, be aware that the tool only allows you to set up the surveys in one language.

Vitally has NPS surveying & analytics built-in, but doesn't go beyond that. However, if you're already an Intercom user, that probably won't be a problem -- it integrates well and can be used for the same functions.

Both tools let you use the learnings to analyze customer health and gather information in an efficient way.

3. Playbooks and automations

Summary: Automation and playbook features are quite similar overall. Vitally has a few bonuses like automatic task completion, and round-robin CSM assignment.

ChurnZero has a feature called Plays which allows you to automate processes and communication while maintaining high-quality touchpoints with customers. You can use their Plays dashboard to create playbooks and implement these on an account or user basis.

In both ChurnZero & Vitally, the process works similarly. You can:

  • Set entry criteria for who the automation/play should apply to (e.g. by health score, by renewal date, by segment etc.)
  • Apply a playbook (a series of tasks/steps) to trigger when an account meets the criteria

Similarly to ChurnZero, Vitally also lets you create playbooks to automate daily tasks and communication with customers. You can create your own automation in their Playbooks dashboards using the provided data and integrations. It doesn’t have a dedicated tool for customer journey development but you can still use the Playbook feature for that. Vitally has the ability to send out automated emails but compared to its competitor, you can’t send in-app messages. 

Two last notable points here:

  • Vitally has a round-robin feature to auto-assign tasks to CSMs based on various things (e.g. who has the most available time)
  • Vitally can auto-complete tasks as they're done, to save time on cleaning task lists

4. Customer collaboration features

In Vitally, there is a feature called Docs. ChurnZero has a feature called Success Center.

Both of these give you a way to share a customer-facing page for onboarding, sharing information, tasks, and more.

While ChurnZero's gets the job done, I'd say this is an area where Vitally wins. Their Docs product is slick, modern, and simple to use. It feels like Notion.

Vitally also includes unlimited observer seats, which means everyone can get access to Docs for customer insights from sales, to product, engineering -- and whoever else.

5. Customer lifecycle management

TL; DR: Both tools share similar features for tracking your customer's position in their journey and understanding the health of a customer. They also have real-time alerts available which can be super helpful in this process. 

Both tools include multiple ways to ensure customer retention and detect expansion opportunities. There are different ways to tackle these topics inside the tools.

As mentioned above, both Vitally and ChurnZero have a customer health score that you can set up yourself by tracking important events or metrics related to your customer journey. This is one of the easiest ways to understand your customer health and detect any changes in behavior. Though, with ChurnZero you can customize algorithms of score calculations, depending on factors such as the type or size of the customer.

There are also real-time alerts available inside both platforms to detect any opportunities, good or bad. You can customize these depending on your goal and make sure you engage with the customer at the right time.

To drive retention or expansions, you can use all these features mentioned above in your playbooks. Ultimately, you can use playbooks to move your customer through different journeys and manage their lifecycles with ease. You can also use the playbook functionality to create any type of automation that will help you maintain control and ensure you get in front of the customer at the right time.

6. Increasing revenue from customers

Both tools will help you retain and increase your existing revenue. As ChurnZero has a bigger feature set, you can also create a more mature process to achieve your goal. Vitally will allow you to do the same thing with more simplicity.

The first step to retention is successful onboarding. Thankfully, both tools allow you to create playbooks that can guide the customer through the process and give you control of the process. The main difference is that ChurnZero has a dedicated tool for the customer journey which will allow you to customize the process even more and get a better high-level overview of the whole journey. With Vitally, you’d have to create multiple playbooks for each of the journey phases.

To keep your customer happy and make sure they stay loyal, you need to understand the health of the customer. You want to keep track of their behavior, important activities and notice any changes as soon as they happen. That’s where the customer health score comes in useful. Both tools allow you to customize the calculation to your business and give you an overview on multiple hierarchical levels. The biggest difference is that ChurnZero will allow you to customize this even further by creating different scoring calculations for different-sized customers, and more.

After using these main features to your advantage, you will be able to detect possible churn faster. You also get help from real-time alerts and surveys which will help you to detect any possible threats faster and act accordingly. 

7. Pricing

TL; DR: ChurnZero has a base platform fee, plus a fee based on seats, plus tiered feature availability. Vitally has a flexible models for high touch or tech touch CS, based on usage. 

Vitally is more flexible with its Sales process and pricing. Even though both platforms have hidden their pricing, ChurnZero is considered more expensive with no free trial option available.

Unfortunately, both tools have decided to not share their pricing publicly. To get a quote, you have to contact their Sales team.

Vitally does showcase three pricing plans on its website- Tech Touch, Hybrid Touch, and High-Touch. Vitally also promises that all their features are available for all plans including unlimited observer seats, SSO, and data warehouse integrations. You can also ask for a demo account from their team to test some main features and get an overview of the platform. It seems that the pricing is more affordable compared to ChurnZero, the starting point being around $3500/ user.

PS! They also have a Start Up Partner program for companies that have raised less than 3M in funding and have less than 15 employees in total. If your company is eligible for it, you’ll get 70% off for the first year of your Vitally plan and 35% off for your second year.

ChurnZero is more private with their pricing and plans out of the two. They are not keen to give you access to a demo account or a free trial. And after doing a bit of research, it seems that they are in the upper pricing level compared to their competitors, the starting point being $3500/ user with limited integrations and features. For example, custom dashboards are not included in their standard plan. Thus, ChurnZero is ideally suited for enterprises and upper-mid-market customers.

Things ChurnZero can do, that Vitally can’t

Overall, ChurnZero is more mature than Vitally and does have some bells and whistles that the other doesn’t have.

With ChurnZero, you have more options for customer surveys. Instead of only doing NPS, you can also carry out CSAT, CES, or custom surveys. Surveys can be delivered through email or in-app communications so you can maximize customer engagement.

ChurnZero has a dedicated feature for developing customer journeys. You can track their progress through each milestone and the overall customer lifecycle journey. If a red flag appears, Journey reporting makes it easy to isolate the key reasons and helps you get the customer back on track.

Thirdly, you can use ChurnZero to deliver in-app messages or product walkthroughs. You can use product tours to showcase new features, onboard customers, or highlight functions related to individual use cases, pieces of training, or needs.

There’s also a Success Center which should be a way to keep your team and customers connected on all levels. 

Things Vitally can do, that ChurnZero can’t

Vitally has a project management tool that is great for creating any process inside your organization. It’s a useful tool when you want to create some processes which can be implemented on multiple customers. You can create templates and customize them.

Other than that, the biggest reason why you'd consider Vitally as an alternative to ChurnZero is for the modern UI, faster time to value, Docs, and perhaps missing data warehouse integrations like Redshift.

Final thoughts

Both tools offer a lot of similar features and ways to use the tool to help you provide the best customer experience. Even though ChurnZero’s feature set is larger and they have more native integrations available, most of these do not seem unique or something that you couldn’t do with Vitally. Based on the feature sets, ChurnZero seems more complicated to implement than its competitor.

Overall, the decision comes down to your needs and budget. Clearly, Vitally is the more affordable option of the two. However, there are specific reasons why ChurnZero might be a more suitable choice. For example: if you need a CRM integration outside of Salesforce/HubSpot, or if you require EU data storage.