December 12, 2019

First churn after 9 months 💔

Patrik Krupar @pkrupar

Yesterday, I got a notification saying our Sidemail.io customer canceled his maxed-out $31 monthly plan. This is our first break up. Although I don't want to admit it, it hurt my feelings a bit, haha.

After doing a bit of investigation, I find out the churned customer hasn't really used Sidemail for a few months, looks almost like he forgot about it, and didn't need it anymore.

A takeaway: don't get too emotionally attached to your product, and more importantly, make it easy for customers to cancel. If a customer wants to cancel, let him cancel – in one simple step.

  1. 3

    I would say that rather than do email targeting for those about to drop their membership, I would say set up the email campaign for every customer right when they subscribe. I had a company do this with me and I really liked it. Once a month I would get emails that would talk about a specific feature that customers liked or a new tip on how to use the service. This did two things, 1 - remind me to login and use the service since I'm paying for it, 2 - generate goodwill b/c the company appeared to care about me and that I was receiving full benefits. Many companies work hard to get you as a customer and then forget about you once they get your credit card, when it should be that they work harder now to keep you as a customer.

    1. 1

      Really solid advice, thanks for your input! We'll probably do something similar to what you described. I'm thinking set up email automation that triggers when user is active, and uses some of our features (eg.: email sending api) but haven't tried Messenger or our subscribe forms, yet.

  2. 3

    It's the reality. The sooner we realise, the better and we end up making our products better. For one churn, i hope you get a lot more new customers!!!👍

    1. 1

      I always appreciate your support @1hakr! You're most definitely correct :)

  3. 2

    Welcome to running a real business :). Churn is a fact. What you have to do it to try and minimize it by ensuring customers are happily engaged as much as possible.

  4. 1

    I think another thing you should take away from it is: always take usage statistics and act on it on the go.

  5. 1

    Looks like a great product! How did you find your product market fit? How many paying customers are using your software?

  6. 7

    This comment was deleted 4 months ago.

    1. 3

      @alxcnwy yes! exactly! @pkrupar its a good idea to be measuring product market fit by capturing metrics on user retention (how often users resubscribe, as well as how often they use the product once signed up).

      There is an inertia effect when people subscribe to a site. People might sign up because they think it might be useful, realize its not, but don't unsubscribe out of inconvenience for months - making you think your doing good, but your not. You can tell your going in the right direction if your retention is high, and people use your site often as intended (Advanced players monitor in seconds how long an average user spends on their site, and where they spent it and analyze how to improve their product or focus with that data).

      You can tell your doing bad if their not using your product, or there is lots of churn - this shows bad product market fit. (This data could also help you pivot - people might not be using your product the way you initially intended, but in unexpected ways potentially presenting an opportunity to pivot).

    2. 2

      Well said, @alxcnwy.

      I'm most definitely guilty of neglecting on churn prevention (among other things).

      Coincidentally, we just released automated email sequences that will come in really handy for reaching out to customers that look like they are about to churn away, as you described.

      Any tips on what to look out for?

      1. 1

        Click to watch a demo of Mixpanel in action

        Click on the image above to see Mixpanel in action.

        You could save time developing your own custom solution by using a SaaS tool like Mixpanel Predict.
        They handle all of the ML-bs for you and tell you what you need to know based on certain parameters.

        1. 1

          This comment was deleted 4 months ago.

          1. 1

            But wouldn't it be better if, you did the necessary computation to generate the basic parameters (as accurate as can be), to give Mixpanel to do the final heavy lifting for you? Saving up server resources?

            Are you looking at it from the financial perspective that having to calculate the basic parameters yourself + paying Mixpanel to predict and visualize data will be more expensive when compared to building your own in-house solution from scratch everytime you're hit with a problem like predicting customer churn?

            Facebook is a large corporation, and churn prediction is much more important to them because their goal is to keep users online for as long as they can so they can continue to generate revenue from ads and other initiatives.

            Sidemail is a mailing app. Their services can be consumed over an API. Churn prevention is not as important to them.

            And by the way, building such a solution from scratch is not child's play and building one that's efficient enough largely depends on who the "We" is in your statement: "We didn't try Mixpanel specifically but we did benchmark several vendors". If "We" is a large firm with a lot of resources at their disposal then it makes sense to deploy an in-house solution. But if "We" is a bootstrapped start-up, or a startup with some external funding that wants to benefit from churn prediction and prevention without greatly impacting burn rate, then outsourcing remains a better solution. So the question we should be asking is, which solution will Sidemail benefit from, considering it's an early-stage startup?

      2. 2

        This comment was deleted 4 months ago.

        1. 2

          ML approach sounds very interesting. Thank you!

        2. 1

          How much did this move the needle for you all? Did you all find the right balance that was effective?

          1. 2

            This comment was deleted 4 months ago.

Today's Top Milestones
  • Wrote first blogpost and got 12k views!!! 😳
    So, I wrote my first blogpost - it took a while until I was satisfied with it. But then I finished and I thought to myself "hey, this is good!" Thus,
  • Released a Freebie & New Logo
    Today while I was trying to figure out how to optimize the list for further expansions. I come up with a quick "analysis": Who changed their twitter b
  • MVD is online
    Just pushed the Minimum Viable Demo. You can find it on https://app.panopticash.com . It's a bit rough on the edges, but it conveys the idea. PanoptiC
  • 10 stars in 5 days on GitHub 🤩
    After releasing the first open-source version of Scaffold, 5 days ago, we already have 10 stars on GitHub. Scaffold is a framework to create a complet
  • Inkrement is available for public beta!
    We are doing a soft beta launch and opening up Inkrement for anyone wanting to try it out in a public beta. Inkrement allows you to build strong teams
  • Tags
    Group projects with simple tags to filter them on dashboard. https://twitter.com/newreleasesio/status/1309808902184284160
  • Submitting to the Chrome Web Store
    In order to make the process of updates and distribution easier, I've opted to make MetaScan a freemium product. So now validations are free to use bu
  • Released the Fundability Score Calculator
    Today, we launched a cool and fun tool to evaluate how "investors friendly" a startup can be. The Venture Funding Calculator provides a quantitative s
  • Launched MVP Beta on Hacker News
    After my MVP newsletter launch and simply posting about it on a couple of Facebook groups, I got about 150+ subs within 2 days of launch. The initial
  • Soft Launch Unscalable Acts
    We just soft launched Unscalable Acts (https://unscalableacts.com), a startup resource directory. It’s got 6500+ free resources (articles, books, cour