Edited excerpt from How to reduce Churn by building a bulletproof retention process by Andrew Tate:
The key to fighting churn is to develop a systematic, defined retention process, that allows you to find all the small ways to reduce your churn. Here are 5 steps of a retention process:
1. Define your goals
Your overall goal is to reduce churn, but to make this actionable you need to both quantify this goal and break it down further into smaller goals, corresponding to the 3 stages of churn. For example, Main Goal: reduce churn by 50%; Stage Goals: reduce short-term churn by 20%, medium-term churn by 20%, long-term churn by 10%.
2. Ask the right questions
Drill down to specifics as much as possible. Brainstorm ideas for reducing churn in the short term, during the first few months of use, then the medium term, then the long-term. Segment customers by how they use your product, and target specific experiments at them.
3. Develop your hypothesis
Developing a hypothesis forces you to think about your questions in more detail and the impact of experiments on churn. It helps prioritize ideas, through defining the probability of success of the experiment, and resources needed. Low impact, high probability, low resource ideas should be high on your list — a number of them will add up.
4. Test and analyze your ideas
Get the minimum viable test up and running as quickly as possible. Don’t overthink the experimental design or over-engineer a solution. You are looking for quick results. If the experiment didn’t reduce churn, what assumptions did you make in the hypothesis that led you to think it would, and how can those be fed back into the process to improve future experiments?
5. Refine, reject, repeat
Perform a post-mortem on your techniques so that you can optimize the process for future iterations. Were you improving over time? Did you improve your accuracy? Did you run enough experiments?
(1) On reducing short-term churn before medium-term churn, cf. The first ten minutes of a customer’s experience are crucial.
(2) Cf. How to reduce churn and The customer success role — a job description.