How to start with Customer Retention

customer rentention

You can price your product as low as $5 a month, but if your users aren’t sticking around for a couple of months, you’re most likely not building a valid business here. In order to really grow your business, you’ll need to invest in keeping your customers happy by keep giving them new value from time to time in order to stick with your product. In fact, this study shows that customer retention can grow your business by more than 7%. 🤯

There are a couple of things you can do in order to boost your retention today.

Spot the inactivity monster early on

One of the most interesting and important factors you should measure right away: Your user’s activity. One major symptom of a potential churning customer is inactivity. If you can spot that little inactivity monster that eats your retentions, you can fight it. The earlier, the better.

inactivity monster
Rumor has it that the inactivity monster looks like this. We don’t know for sure, we never spot it in-person.

Your product’s inactivity key metrics

Every product is different, so there’s no absolute key metric you can look at. To us, given the fact that we’re user feedback software, inactivity metrics like these are major symptoms of a user is getting “bored” and is on its way to churn land:

  • Doesn’t insert new feedback posts on its boards
  • Doesn’t change the statuses of feedback posts
  • Doesn’t reply to comments from users

These 3 metrics are our key ‘product inactivity metrics’ which we are actively tracking from day 1. Each metric has its own engagement timeframe. For example: It’s perfectly normal if a user of ours doesn’t send in new feedback posts for a period of 30 days. But if it receives comments and it doesn’t reply to them within 7 days, the alarm bells go off.

You should research previously churned clients’ data and investigate what was their turning point that caused the inactivity of your customer. And, equally important, how long did it take?

Action plan to improve customer retention

It’s time to come up with an action plan to fight that retention-killing monster. Talking to customers is and always be the best thing you can do here. But you don’t have the time to talk with each customer all the time, right? No worries. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to automate it.

Behavioral email

The best way to reach your customer is still via email. You can pop up all the messages that you like in your product’s dashboard, but your user is only going to find them if they are willing to visit (and read) it. Email, on the other hand, is what we call ‘push messaging’ and you can literally push the message to your users. But ho, stop! Don’t just email your client. Make sure there’s value in those emails as well. This is what we call ‘behavioral emailing’.

This can work both ways:

  • Preventive: those emails are the best. The process of keeping clients onboard doesn’t start when you’re noticing inactivity. No, it starts from day 1. If you’re providing value and support to get the most out of your product, they are most likely not even thinking about leaving you. And that’s where you would want them ideally. An example of an email like this: We are sending our clients data about their user feedback each week. “What were the most popular requests?” or “What feedback is getting stale?” Data like this is golden for our clients!
  • Actionable: In times of war with the inactivity monster of your clients, we need actionable emails that are bringing the interest back in using your product again. Examples: Release a new feature or feature update. Especially if it’s an update of a feature you know they were using before. Another example: See how similar types of clients (same industry, the same type of product, etc.) are using your product and send out an email to help them set up your product just like that. Be helpful. Be personal.

Send out the right message

Track the type of customers right from the beginning and treat every type of user differently. That’s why it’s important to ask some question during the onboarding process, such as:

  • What is your role? (Founder, Product Manager, etc.)
  • Company size (1-5, 6-10, 10+, etc.)
  • Industry (Education, SaaS, Finance, etc.)

This data can help you personalize the onboarding, support, and even the features your providing.

Drip campaigns

When you learn more and more about your product and your users, you can set up drip campaigns that can help you send out the right message, to the right person, at the right moment in time. Tools such as Drip and Intercom can help you set up drip campaigns that will increase your email engagement by 199%.

Optimize the process if they do churn

If users say ‘bye’ you should do everything you can to learn about the ‘why’. Even if it’s a trial member. You can learn so many things about learning more about why they left to optimize all your processes.

A couple of examples:

  • Trial member -> Why -> You’ll learn that you’re targeting the wrong audience
  • Trial member -> Why -> You’ll learn some features are not clear
  • Paid member -> Why -> You’ll learn that your product isn’t good enough when the client exceeds growth in X
  • etc.

There’s so much value in the why behind a churn.

The WOW effect

Oprah, come in!

product wow effect
Oprah: “And you are getting a wonderful product experience”, so do you, and you, and you!

It’s all about the value your product is giving to the user’s needs. By proactively teaching your users how to get this value, the sooner they will find the WOW factor and stick with your product. A couple of things you can do here:

Workflow embedding

If they can’t connect your product with other tools in their existing stack, it will be hard for most product managers and product teams to use it. How fancy your dashboard’s UI is doesn’t matter. Most users won’t visit it that often after all. They have tools like Slack and Zapier to work with. And they want your product to be connected with these as well. For the best product experience, you’ll need to be present at all times, everywhere, and anywhere. That means you can win BIG if you have a lot of integrations, desktop apps, mobile apps, extensions, plugins, etc.

The better a user can work with your product, the better it will work for them as well.

Features, features, features

Just like supermarkets and shops are changing their interior from time to time to keep you interested in new products and setups, the users of your product don’t expect less. If your product stays the same for a longer period of time, they will get bored and lose interest. They will hunt for alternatives with new innovations and features. That’s why it’s so important to release new features from time to time. It will make your product better and keep your customers happy. Win-Win!

🧡 PRO tip: the best way to do it, is with a user feedback tool like Upvoty. With the public boards, you can collect and manage user feedback in the best way possible. The product roadmap shows your users what’s next, and with the Changelog, you can communicate new launches and product updates in the most beautiful way. Your users will feel valued, appreciated, and engaged. What more to ask for? Sign up for a free 30-day trial.

Product roadmap

It’s proven that a public product roadmap keeps users interested in sticking to your product.

product roadmap
This is an example of our own product roadmap – Demo here

By showing your users what’s next, they are more likely to wait before they churn if they see something they really like, want or need. Like in the example above: If a user really wants to implement our product as dark mode, they now see this is coming up. If we don’t share this kind of data, a user is more likely to just delete their account and look for an alternative.

The right messaging, with the right tools, to the right customers

That’s the best way to put it. If you can figure out that this type of message, to this kind of customer, with this kind of tool, at this moment in time, is going to extend your customer’s lifetime value. You’re set!

Icon Image

Make better product decisions​

👉 Try our user feedback tool for 30-days!