Steps to Improve Customer Retention: Run Small Experiments

How does running small experiments fit int the steps to improve customer retention? Instagram, in the true fashion of Facebook, wants everything. In December 2016, they launched this feature that allowed users to save posts. Four months later, they introduced collections. 

This was a baby step. I bet Instagram would not have moved on until they hit a metric that they were looking for. They had roughly 46 percent of Instagram users saving at least one post.

All I know is they ran a lot of experiments because they have a lot of data. They first built the smaller feature, and after testing created the rest of the product.

At my company, we start with baby steps because we started with a question: what is your No. 1 challenge in creating and sharing documents?

What we heard back surprised us. It wasn’t a search tool they wanted. A lot of companies before built a search box for multiple platforms and apps, but they apparently failed or were sold.

So, we built a product that connected multiple services. It was launched privately to 50 people. It took four to six weeks, and we learned a ton. We learned that most people don’t want to find documents using a search box.

What We Learned

We ended up creating an interface that lets you find your documents in three clicks or less. It is designed around how people naturally want to find documents.

We took some baby steps. We did interviews and understanding how people think about our product and other products in the market. We wanted to help people find documents but also share them. Our baby step was to add a plus sign that when people clicked it, a box came up asking “what were you expecting to happen when you clicked?”

We wanted to know if the intention we had with this interaction matched to what people thought would happen. We didn’t want to explain to people what the plus-sign interaction did, we wanted them to almost intuitively as possible to understand and then experience it.  

We tracked a bunch of data and interactions. What I want to point out is that when you do the baby step tactic, it’s important to get as granular as you can about the interactions because that’s how you’ll learn the most.   

Series Part 1

Series Part 2


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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