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Retention is a lesson in proactivity

Senior Product Education Producer, Intercom

Thomas Creighton

@Creigthomas

Prevention is better than cure – it’s an age old adage that can be applied to the health of your customer churn and retention rates.

When should you engage with your customers to prevent churn? If you are waiting for someone to stop logging in, unsubscribe or cancel, you’re too late. Don’t wait until customers stop using your product before doing something about it.

Customers stop using your product when they no longer see the value it brings. It’s not usually a sudden thing. There are often leading indicators of churn, like inactivity or limited usage. It stands to reason that customers who use your product more frequently and in multiple ways are less likely to churn.

Limited usage can be seen as either narrow usage or shallow usage. Narrow usage occurs when a customer uses your product for a single specific purpose (e.g. sending a monthly newsletter to customers), while shallow usage occurs when a customer is using various parts of your product but in a very basic way and not going deep on most (or any) features. So to prevent customer churn in those instances, you need to expand customer usage. Educating your customers in the parts of your product they’re not using is a great way to achieve this.

 

For example, one of the ways that we tackle this at Intercom is by creating video lessons.

These lessons are short learning modules that teach our customers things like how to use a particular feature or set of features that will be of value to them, or how to implement a specific idea or strategy. The lessons are designed to be easy to digest and their aim is always to introduce the customer to actionable takeaways they can start using right away.

When our customers use us for one particular use case (narrow usage) we have a good idea what the next most relevant use case for them might be. For example, one of the lessons we offer is targeted at customers who are only using us for email. It encourages and educates them on how to use Intercom to send targeted messages in-app, as well as by email.

Another lesson, created to deepen usage, offers customers three tips on optimizing their messages to achieve real results for their business. This is targeted at customers who are using Intercom a lot but aren’t using our advanced features, like setting goals, A/B Testing, and reports.

Helping your customers take incremental steps towards being more successful allows them to continually realize the value of your product and reduce churn. This doesn’t need to be a resource-heavy task and with user auto messages you can ensure you are reaching out to your users at the first sign that they need you most. So there’s no need to delay, it’s easy to get started today!

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