Got churn issues? That sucks.
Here's the simple 3-step framework I use with my clients to troubleshoot churn.
The components of user retention are:
- Your product's relevant value exceeds price paid
- Net positive user experience with your product and company
- You communicate continued relevant value
1\ Your product's relevant value exceeds price paid
Of the 3 framework components, this has the highest influence on whether a customer sticks with you.
I'll break this component up into its constituent pieces for maximum clarity.
The question you need to ask yourself is:
- In the eyes of your buyer
- ...does your product solve problems (or create benefits) to the extent
- ...that the total perceived value they believe they are getting from your product
- ...is at least equal to the price they paid?
If the answer is no, they'll churn.
In other words, the price they're paying exceeds the total value they're getting back in the form of problems solved or benefits created.
It's important to look at this from the perspective of your buyer, and not how much value YOU think your product provides.
Your opinion of how much value you think your creation provides is irrelevant to your users and buyers. It's common for many founders to see their product through rose-tinted lenses, so beware.
2\ Net positive user experience with your product and company
User satisfaction is the aggregate of your customer's current and past experiences with your company and product.
On the company side, this could be their experience with customer support (rude reps?), the contract (hidden fees?) or delivery (damaged goods?)
On the product side, this could be a difficult, unintuitive interface, frequent crashes or downtime.
Keep in mind that overall positive user satisfaction isn't just that positive experiences outnumbered negative experiences.
More important is to understand that different individual negative / positive experiences will carry different weights.
For example, a single instance of a data breach will outweigh (in fact, erase) the goodwill generated from multiple instances of fast, empathetic customer support service.
The ultimate question to ask here is: do your buyer's accumulated positive experiences exceed their accumulated negative experiences?
3\ Communicating continued relevant value
This is the act of communicating your continued relevant value to your buyer.
The macro-environment (technology, economics, law, society, etc) evolve and customer preferences change as a result.
As you adapt your product by building capabilities that answer the challenges and opportunities of today and the near future, do you make sure to TELL your customers about these new features (and their benefits)?
This is a trap many product-centric founders fall into.
They myopically focus on their widget while forgetting to communicate the value of their widget to their customers and the market.
Make sure you're not just building a product that offers relevant value to your buyers - you must also tell them that you now offer this new relevant value.
If not, you might end up in a situation where a competitor builds features that offer the same (or similar) relevant value, but tells the market (including YOUR customers) before you do.
This is an easy mistake to avoid. Make sure you tell your buyers and your market what new relevant value you've created for them. In the first case, you keep your current customers, and in the second, you potentially bring on new ones.
- Product Utility: in the eyes of your buyer, does your product offer them total relevant value (in form of problems solved or benefits created) such that it exceeds the price they pay?
- User Satisfaction: do their accumulated positive experiences (with your company and product) outweigh their accumulated negative experiences?
- Communication: are you effectively telling your buyers about new features that offer them relevant value?