The best way to minimize the impacts of churn – prevent it in the first place.
Preventing churn, of course, is easier said than done, and there is no magic recipe that can reduce the churn rate to zero.
However, with the proper structure and strategy, it is possible to reduce this number significantly. And with that reduction will come greater user longevity and profitability.
Below, we’ll look at a few ways to do just that.
The Best Way to Reduce Churn: Prevent It From Happening
Reducing user abandonment, or churn, is one of the top concerns for SaaS product developers, app developers, and software developers.
This is especially true when users first sign up to use a product, since the majority of users abandon products during onboarding. This makes sense – after all, if a first impression of a product is negative, they will usually abandon the product forever.
For this reason, many user experience managers focus on user onboarding at the expense of other stages in the product adoption process.
While it is true that the onboarding experience directly affects churn, it is also important to recognize that onboarding is only one aspect of the product adoption experience.
To minimize churn, therefore, it is important to take a holistic approach and optimize the entire user journey.
Here are a few tips for doing just that:
1. Take a structured approach to user experience optimization
User experience optimization, like any other business process, should be formal, structured, and data-driven.
- Establishing goals and objectives for user experience optimization
- Tying those goals to KPIs and metrics
- Developing a user experience strategy aimed at improving those metrics
- Continually monitoring the program’s performance and making adjustments as necessary
The more granular the metrics and the more structured the approach, the easier it will be to identify issues and pinpoint the reasons for user churn.
2. Map out the entire user journey
User journey maps are diagrams that outline the pathway users take when building a relationship with a company.
These maps can cover part of the user journey in detail, or they can explore the entire relationship from start to finish.
Such a comprehensive user journey map would include stages such as:
- Product research
- Marketing and sales
- Onboarding and training
- Ongoing usage and relationship management
Each stage of this journey should have specific goals and, as mentioned above, those goals should be defined with metrics.
3. Understand and optimize the entire product experience
Journey maps are useful for understanding the journey users take as they build a relationship with a brand.
Yet it is also important to understand how each business unit contributes to that linear journey.
According to the CEO of Aha!, Brian de Haaf, the “complete product experience” is built upon seven components:
- Supporting systems
- Third-party integrations
Though many of these components are invisible to the end user – and they play a role not just in one product adoption phase, but all of them – they all exert an influence on the way users experience a product.
And that experience, in turn, will also affect key metrics such as churn, engagement, and lifetime value.
4. Stay user-centric, agile, and innovative
Agility has become more and more important in recent years, since the economy and the business landscape are evolving so quickly.
Technology-driven innovation, for instance, has led to the disruption of an untold number of businesses and even entire industries.
Whats more, trends such as these have been accelerated and compounded by COVID-19, which fueled digital transformation in a large number of industries.
Changes such as these only represent the beginning of a new era, however.
Emerging technology, combined with the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, are driving us into a new paradigm or, as McKinsey calls it, the next normal.
This new era, claim many experts, will bring about changes to the business landscape, the global economy, customer behavior, and much more.
To survive in that era, companies must be willing to quickly pivot and redesign their products, services, and strategies.
Those that can stay customer-centered and readily adapt to marketplace demand will stand a much better chance of succeeding and leading in the post-COVID era.
User churn, as mentioned, tends to concentrate around the onboarding phase.
Yet churn is only one metric, and that metric can be influenced by a wide range of factors, from product design to customer support.
To truly dig into the causes that contribute to user abandonment, it is necessary to take a top-down view of the user experience, the user journey, and the product adoption cycle.
With a formal, structured approach to user experience and product adoption optimization, product teams will be able to gain granular insight into the causes behind their own abandonment rates – and, as a result, address those issues appropriately.