The Short and Long of Improving Customer Retention

When it comes to the short-term of improving customer retention, there are two lenses—what the people did to be successful and why people weren’t successful.

At my current business, we send emails to help determine why people didn’t do something. We read every response and categorize it. This helps you with short-term retention. Especially once you start thinking about and looking at the data. You begin to understand the specific reason why people came back in the first 24 hours.

Then you can email the people who didn’t come back in those first 24 hours to ask for reasons as to why they didn’t return. But, more importantly, you can ask why they didn’t do X, which is what you learned from the most highly retained users. There’s a lot of games you can plan when you think about what you’ve learned and start digging in that’s contextual to your product. 

Product Market Fit Question

You tend to ask this question 30 days after somebody starts using your product and you want to figure out if you have product-market fit. You want to know that 40 percent or more people would be “very disappointed” if your product no longer existed. It’s important for long-term retention.

When I did this survey in 2015, Slack’s score had a product-market fit. I did it again more recently, and that number was around 25 or 26 percent. What that means is Slack has lost product-market fit, at least from the surveys I conducted.

One of the interesting things I learned was that every group, whether very, somewhat or not disappointed if Slack no longer existed, wanted video conferencing. I don’t remember the date when Slack launched video conferencing, but if they were thinking of things in this way, Slack might have launched video chat much earlier and taken away thunder from competitors.

Series Part 1

Series Part 3


About the speaker
Hiten Shah Crazy Egg & FYI, Co-Founder Member

Hiten Shah is a co-founder of several SaaS companies including FYI, Crazy Egg, and KISSmetrics. Hiten has an email newsletter called Product Habits, where he and his co-founder Marie teach people how to do customer-centric product development.

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