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Reducing customer churn – Andrew Michael on The Product Experience

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This week on the podcast experience, we’re talking all about churn. How do you reduce customer churn. What are the biggest obstacles? What are the biggest challenges? And are there any misconceptions behind the perfect churn strategy? Churn expert, Andrew Michael, CEO of Avrio, was able to answer all of our questions with ease and more.


 

 

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Featured Links: Follow Andrew on LinkedIn and Twitter | Andrew’s podcast Churn FM | Avrio | Clearbit | ‘The Aha Moment’ – Abdelrahman Wahba on The Product Experience | AppsFlyer | Agorapulse| Listen to this episode on Youtube!

Lily Smith: 

Randy, I’ve been thinking about the metrics we use for the podcast and I’ve noticed a bit of an issue.

Randy Silver: 

Okay, well, I’m not sure what you’re looking at. I mean, our listener numbers look great. More people are listening all the time. And we’re definitely trending in the right direction. Yeah,

Lily Smith: 

sure. That’s fine. That’s great. But it’s our guests. I mean, most of them come on just once, and then they churn out. I mean, we don’t retain anyone. We’ve had a couple of people on twice, but I just hate seeing them disappear.

Randy Silver: 

Okay, I see. No, no, actually, I don’t see. I mean, really, that’s what’s supposed to happen. If we kept the guests on for every subsequent episode that would make for a terribly crowded studio, and pretty awful user experience.

Lily Smith: 

Okay. Yeah, I know, I know that Randy. Really, I was just trying to come up with like, you know, a good segue into our episode topic. And instead of being you know, like, Burton journey from Sesame Street for this week’s intro, because this episode is all about churn or journey.

Randy Silver: 

Okay, that that makes sense. But that’s officially the worst joke I’ve ever heard. So of course, I love it. Let’s get right to our chat with Andrew Michael. He’s the host of his own podcast churn FM, which probably doesn’t have quite as bad jokes, and the founder and CEO of Everio.

Lily Smith: 

The product experience is brought to you by mine the product. Every week on the podcast, we talk to the best product people from around the globe. Visit mind product.com to catch up on past episodes and discoverable,

Randy Silver: 

browse for free, or become a mind the product member to unlock premium content, discounts to our conferences around the world, and training opportunities. Mind the product also offers free product tank meetups in more than 200 cities. There’s probably one near you.

Lily Smith: 

Hi, Andrew, really great to be talking to you today on the podcast How you doing?

Andrew Michael: 

I’m good. Thank you very much, Lee. It’s great to be here.

Lily Smith: 

So before we get started on our topic today of churn, and please don’t leave us before we get started. would you love to give us a quick intro into who you are and what you do and how you got that.

Andrew Michael: 

Nice. Thanks. So I’m the founder and CEO of IBM. And we basically help teams analyse and share customer research more effectively. And also the show host of churn FM, which is the podcast for subscription economy pros, focusing on using ways to use retention to fuel growth. So we talked a little bit about this off air. But the podcast itself actually started over three years ago. And the idea back then really was I was a previous founder, I was working in hotshot at the time, I wanted to start something new, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do yet. So let me build an audience first. And then when I was ready, I could sell to that audience was the general idea. And so I started the podcast with that in mind, and we’re three years in now and learned a tonne from it, it’s been an amazing experience. And it’s actually even back in so many different ways that I didn’t expect it to either. So

Lily Smith: 

amazing. And so we’re gonna be talking about today. In the podcast, you’ve done it for like three years. So I’m guessing like going so deep into one subject, you must have some incredible insights into, you know, how to kind of manage churn for your business. So I’m gonna go straight in at the deep end and ask you, what are your top three takeaways from all of your interviews about churn?

Andrew Michael: 

Yeah, this is a super tough question, because actually, I recently as well spoken heart to web. And I was trying to condense everything to find out what was like the biggest takeaways that I could share with the audience. And I think for me, like, there’s definitely recurring themes that happen in the episodes, I think, the number one, like issue, I see what companies in that get this wrong is really when there’s not strong alignment within the organisation. And when there’s sort of like, a shift of responsibility on to individual team, so it’s like, oh, this is customer successes problem, or, or we can only do this by solving it with product, or something’s happening with marketing or sales. And then it’s like, okay, customer success, you’re gonna fix this now, but there’s just so many inputs that influence the final output metric. And really, like, if you tell me any role within a company, I can show you how they can influence churn and retention. And when companies that do this really well, they understand this, and they really have this strong alignment throughout the company, and they realise, okay, if we’re building a subscription business, people are cancelling subscriptions. We’re not really building a business. We’re just wasting our time. So this needs to be a company metric. It needs to be full alignment. Like from top down to bottom up, and the best companies get this right. So I think that’s probably been one of the biggest learnings I would say. And it actually funny enough as well, at Hotjar. We saw this similarly, where, in the beginning, we were all just pulling different strings in different directions. But then, when we actually took a step back, we came up with strategy. Everybody understood how they influenced the metric in the output is really, really saw, like sort of the step change in churn and increase in retention.

Lily Smith: 

And then, just before you go into step two, like the next key takeaway, like how, how did businesses achieve that alignment? across the different teams, because I can totally imagine the conversations of marketing being like we’re funnelling loads of people to you, and you’re just losing them all. Like, that’s not our fault? And how that kind of happens. So, like, how do these teams actually get to that conclusion, and work together really, really well, in order to own churn across the whole business?

Andrew Michael: 

Yeah. So it actually starts as all like with one of the other areas where people get this really right is like, obviously, we took the end product, and if I tell you like put the customer at the centre, it’s like, how many times have we heard this? But really, it starts off, like having this deep, deep understanding of who the customer is like, what are the use cases? And how do we deliver value because ultimately, if you’re not delivering value, at the end of the day, people are going to churn, they come to you for that it’s really, really that simple. Like, it’s probably, it’s probably the simplest and most complicated problem to solve in the company anytime. So they understand that this is the core centre, and then from there, they’re able to understand how their individual roles influence that metric. So typically, what you’ll see is they might have some sort of a KPI tree where the final output metric is retention, and they might really want to focus more on input metrics. So to be okay, we understand that the highest retention comes from users that showed this behaviour in activation, and there will be like, weekly active value achievers, it’s called this metric itself there. And then they’re able to work that way backwards throughout the organisation and understand, Okay, our ideal customer profile, or the best fit for the type of people that are getting to that value point and consistently achieving it. So, sales, like it’s no longer about just closing deals, you need to know also close deals, and you need to make sure that those deals are renewing, and they’re part of our ICP. So this is like one of the big breakdowns, typically where you see sales selling to the wrong fit. Yeah,

Randy Silver: 

how do you deal with that with sales teams typically are really good at going out and getting deal. But then there’s often gets handed over to somebody else who then becomes the account manager or customer success. So how do you make sure that there’s alignment between both of those departments, or both of those teams straightaway?

Andrew Michael: 

Yeah, so what the best companies think they do is they align the compensation towards like making sure you bring in the right customers. So when they’re earning commission, they’re not just getting like, they’ll get maybe 50% On the first sale, and then they’ll get 50% when their customer in use. And likewise, like the Commission’s then would happen with their hand off with customer success as well. So the incentives shift in organisations that really have a strong focus on retention. And they realise, okay, it’s not just about closing anything, and everything, it really is like, we should be closing the right foot, because closing the wrong foot, customers end up putting a much bigger strain on the organisation than we realise, like, from a product perspective, you’re collecting feedback from the wrong type of users, so you end up building the wrong things. from a support perspective, they typically need a lot more support and more help. So all of these issues sort of unfold itself. And the companies realise this, they really have this focus in the beginning. And that’s why I like having the call centre for the customers, then you can work backwards and say, Okay, how does each team’s role play towards this customer and fulfilling value for them. And then, like, if you look at marketing, for example, you might realise, okay, our best fit customers come from this specific channel, this is the use case that they’re going for. So, contents teams role is to acquire a certain amount of ideal customer profiles from the content that you generate. And you make acquisition targets, also at a quality level on top of it as well. So it’s not just the number of types of leads coming through the door, but really, these needs to be good qualified leads that are coming through and then sales, picking that up at the end of it.

Randy Silver: 

That makes sense for b2b. But when you’re consumer focused, you’re not necessarily going through Salesforce. So how do you make sure that you’re acquiring the right customers? And or how do you handle churn for consumer focused business?

Andrew Michael: 

Yeah, I think consumer it is a little bit more complex itself there and the research and the understanding of like, what ideal customer profile means for you there can be a lot more broad or can be a lot more narrow, depending on the context. And I think there are different services out there that you can use. So like Clearbit is one of them for enrichment, and really just trying to understand okay, what are sort of the firmographic and demographic properties that your consumers share amongst like the the ideal fit, and then be able to score and understand like, what is the quality coming through. So even if you serving in a b2c environment, you can use enrichment services that allow you to qualify specific leads, or the other ways, like have things in your signup form and asking specific questions. So like, my main thing is like, what is the main use case? Like, why are you using our product? Simple question like that can be used later in delivering value to your customers, but also help segments are these the right fit or they’re coming to us for the use case, and we believe our product should be useful. And like I see this in my current startup. Now, as far as Everio. We built the product for product teams to conduct and facilitate research. But we do see a lot of students using the product now. And which would say is like more of a b2c use case in that environment. But having that feel that signup gives us that context. And it allows us then to segment and say, okay, yes, this is a good fit. This is where we want to spend our time. This is the feedback we want to be paying attention to or not

Lily Smith: 

amazing. And I completely cut you off earlier, when you were going through your top three takeaways just because the first one was so good. What they what are your other kind of two key takeaways?

Andrew Michael: 

Yeah, so the second one was really around, as I mentioned, understanding who that ideal customer profile is, and deeply understand, like, what is the value that you’re delivering to them. And actually, one of the stories like I mentioned that a few different stories I mentioned on the podcast a lot just from episodes that we’ve had. And one of them was actually from Heidi Gibson, who was at GoDaddy at the time. And GoDaddy. At some point, they were trying to launch their new website builder, and they ended up struggling with actual conversion and retention at the end of it. And they were just tracking like arbitrary metrics to begin with, like, website setup, was like the main metric they were optimising towards, and then they slowly like, started to dive deep into the customer’s needs. And while they were coming to them, and it seems pretty obvious, but what they realised was that the shopper didn’t come to them to set up a website, they came to them to get more sales, the hairdressing salon wanted bookings, the online food delivery wanted orders. And they were able then to take a step back and say we have this data readily available, because we offer ecommerce solutions, and we offer delivery. So they shifted their focusing to set up to focus, okay, what is the end result in value that we’re delivering our customers and work back from there from there? So what are the best sellers do? What are the setup? What is their setup moment of like? What are the things they’re onboarding their customers they’re onboarding themselves with, and then use that to reengineer behaviour. And they really, really saw a step change in making that shift in tracking value. But it comes down to like, knowing who their customers really were and what they valued at the end of the day. So yeah, that was number two. And then I think there’s like varied degrees of like the impact that people will have. And one question I asked a lot, and it’s really a trick question on the show is like, if you had 90 days to turn around, what would you do? And don’t tell me, you’re going to go speak to customers and look at data, because that’s just a cop out. So just pick a tactic that you’ll see. And most people say like, you can’t turn things around in 90 days. And yes, they’re right, because it takes a lot longer to fall, and other things and will tend to buy things like churn deflection or delinquent churn management and Dunning services. But really like, what I’ve learned through the podcast is the absolute biggest impact you can have on general attention really is at onboarding and activation. And it’s a little bit counterintuitive. I think most people when they first approach the problem of general attention, they start to think like how do we stop people from leaving us? As opposed to how do we make sure more people get value from a product or service? And what do we need to do? So that said, that’s like a big shift in mindset. You see, the best companies realise, like, I need to be focusing on how do I activate my users? How do I make sure our onboarding effectively so they get to that, that value, as opposed to really focusing on like, why are people churning and at the end of the day, so the best companies like have a really strong focus on onboarding, and they also realise that that impact is compounding. So like a small increase in adoption at signup really compounds over time, over the lifecycle rather than just trying to win back a few customers that are already lost for the most part anyway, and tend to be typically very difficult to win back,

Randy Silver: 

surely is, you know, the absolute ultimate in lagging metrics, you know, you can’t find out until after well, by definition. So and you’re just talking about onboarding as potentially a good leading metric. I’m curious. What else can you use them just obviously, you know, setting something up and running an experiment on journey is going to be a very read long experiment. So in your experience, what are good leading metrics? What are good predictors of churn reduction?

Andrew Michael: 

Yeah, so there’s a few different things I’d say the first one is like the lead scoring itself. So this is quite like a good rudimentary exercise that you can take on your own as well, we actually did at some point in our chart. And it was really just taking a look at who our best fit customers. So we took a cohort who had been with us for longer than 12 months that paid X amount, and we’re certain levels of like activity within the product. And we actually ran it through a service like Clearbit. So we enrich the sites and we enrich the users themselves. From there, you get a certain level for demographic and demographic properties. And you can then create, like a scoring model. So what you can tend to see is okay, let’s say this is not redundant anywhere, but alexa rank is going away. Alexa rank, like the higher the lower, the alexa rank was a really good indicator of a good fit customer, and a likelihood of retention. And then you find like these few different demographic or demographic properties that tend to be good fits. So at the earliest stage, you can really start qualifying leads better and okay, if you’re not saying like, this is ideal customer profile is companies are 50 to 100, who have 200 employees and do 50 million in revenue, like, you don’t need to tick all the boxes, but you just get a score, arrange. And if they tick one of the properties, like they get three points, or two points, or one point. And what we found then was like you could really understand like the quality was the first indicator if the customers were going to retain or not. So that was one way to sort of determine how things were working out for you. And then yes, like, the next thing is really like looking, what are the inputs that users end up doing that end up retaining longer, and what are those that don’t, and typically, those tend to be things that people are doing at onboarding and everybody talks about the wah wah moment or the AHA. And that’s definitely in the b2c environment. If people don’t experience that aha moments like relatively quickly. They tend to be like high risk for churn and almost very, very difficult. And a couple of things that I’ve learned to change my thinking on the podcast was one of the things was from Sean class at the time when he was at Atlassian. And we always have this idea that we need to rush people through onboarding and get them to that value as fast as possible. But sometimes, as well, it’s also really important to slow things down. And remember that the most attention you’re ever going to get from your customer is that first initial experience when they sign up for your product like, and if you’re not able to get them to a point where you’re achieving value, and you’re actually able to deliver that like you’ve pretty much lost them at that point. And what Atlassian actually found, like, counterintuitive to what most people think is that their biggest indicator of if a customer would retain long term or not was the time they spent in their first session. And the greater the time that they spent in their first session, the more likely they were to retain. So there are certain indicators like this, that you can start to take a look at at the early activation period in terms of what are the actions they’re taking and how they can go about it. And you mentioned

Lily Smith: 

earlier, weekly active value achievers. What does that mean? I’ve never heard that term before.

Andrew Michael: 

Yeah. So I think this is just like, going back to the GoDaddy example that we gave before. It’s really, GoDaddy realised that the value that people came to them for wasn’t the website, the value that they were getting was actually the end result, which is the sales or the online bookings. And what they would do then is like they would group the end value that they received and see like how many people on a weekly basis actually drove sales or got bookings. And for most businesses, you can get to a point where you can measure the value or get relatively close to the value. And yeah, so essentially, that’s just like another way of phrasing maybe whatever the metric is that your business that delivers value to customers.

Randy Silver: 

A moment ago, you were talking about cohorts. And this is I think, something that people don’t always understand it’s not just about churn as an overall thing. So can you tell us a little bit about how you put cohorts together to measure this?

Andrew Michael: 

Yeah. So cohort is obviously the best the only way really to measure channel retention itself. And it’s understanding what your different cohorts look like. And by cohort, you can either split them by day by week by month, quarter year, like that’s really up to you. And essentially, what you’re trying to look at is, let’s take an example that we want to look at a cohort of users that signed up in week, one of 2022. And you track that cohort of users those groups so let’s say there was 500 signups in week one of 2022. And you can monitor their behaviour over time then to see slowly Okay, by week two, how many are still retained by week three, how many is still retained by week four. And then slowly what you can do is map that out and understand like other You’re doing really well. And you have like, a little bit of a dip, maybe first three, four weeks, and then you start to see a flattening out. And in some cases, if depending if we’re talking about user retention or necessary morale retention, ideally, like what you really want to see, I think a lot of people had this before, but it’s that smiley face where you end up seeing a little bit of a dip in B due to churn but then slowly over time, through expansion, revenue, and through reactivation, you’re able to achieve sort of a smile in your metrics. And this is more towards the b2b case, but can be applicable as well in b2c. So yeah, cohorts are really, really effective in monitoring and tracking changes over time. And also important to see sort of like keep an eye on them to see how changes in your product affect training retention over time, as well, because, as you mentioned, like it’s a really lagging metric. And a lot of times, like only a few months later, you realise Oh, shit, I don’t know, like, what did we do back then? There was some big change. And we’ve really impacted a cohort of users going forward. And most of the time, like when you make big shifts like that, you can see like stock changes, either positive or negative in your cohorts. But like as an aggregate, it’s very difficult just to understand the movements and see the changes.

Lily Smith: 

And what about churn prediction? Can that actually be done accurately? You kind of mentioned before, I think it was Atlassian that discovered that the very first session sort of predicted how customers would churn later.

Andrew Michael: 

Yep. So I think most companies will follow like a similar format for this and understand and actually is of pillared who is the Chief Customer Officer at appsflyer. Like we’ve had him on the show like a couple of times, and what they as well tend to realise it all goes back to the same sort of focus on like, what are the activation metrics that people need to do? So you take a look at the your most successful cohorts of users, what are the key actions that they’ve been doing your attention, as well look at, like going back to it are they qualified, you’ll then also look at their usage over time and how that changes. And most companies will typically build a model then off the back of this and they’ll say, Okay, if our customers like don’t meet these certain criteria, they originally like from the start, there are a risk, we need to flag them and understand like how we deal with this risk, if they don’t take certain actions in the product. This is another risk, and they end up just sort of like the churn prediction itself is really more like, risk flagging. And this typically tends to be customer success teams that would focus on this, then afterwards, like in a b2b environment where they can see, okay, we know that customer best fit customers have achieved x y Zed by this period in their usage, those that don’t end up being flagged within the churn prediction, if you want to call that it’s maybe a very simple way of doing it. But ultimately, that’s really what it comes down to, it’s like, the models can get more and more complex, but it’s really just looking for individual signals that you know, the best for customers take. And then seeing those that don’t take those actions and treating those as causes for concern. And what an interesting things actually appsflyer ended up doing was they realised that, okay, this these certain key actions that are really tied and correlated to Retention and Expansion, and they tied their customer success compensation to activation for those specific features. And so the customer success team then sort of realised, okay, within month one, these are the things we need to get our customers to do in month, three, in month 12. And they had a game plan then in terms of like, how they would activate users and get them to expand into different products and services that they had within the organisation. And their results. I can’t remember exactly, but I’m gonna just throw a random number now. But I think it was something like in the region of like, 50 or 100 million, like they ended up generating from this exercise. It was a crazy number at the time. I remember, sir. Wow, that’s

Lily Smith: 

amazing.

Randy Silver: 

So we’ve been talking all this time about churn as if it’s a bad thing, and generally it is. But is there ever a time when it’s not? Is there an anti pattern? Or is there a time when churn is good?

Andrew Michael: 

Yeah. So this is something that I wrestled with a lot as well personally, like previously, I think, when you’re working in an SMB environment, or like in a b2c environment, you’ll tend to typically have like, much higher churn than most businesses will specifically like an enterprise. And to a certain degree, like there is this idea of acceptable churn versus non acceptable churn. So the first thing is like, I think at an early stage, when you’re getting started, you’re typically gonna end up having a higher churn retention because like, your product is not as sophisticated. It has like a lot of issues with it still potentially. So they are sort of just like that early stage, where churn itself is just fueling revenue that you went in. I like the analogy as well. Of Building like a log fire, like building a fire. In the beginning, you start out with little twigs, and they might not be the best fit customers and they’re not going to stick around for the longest they’re gonna come in and they’re gonna burn fast, but they’re gonna give you the fuel that you need to find the logs to find the ideal customer profile to get those to start burning those. And then you start to build a more and more healthy fire that’s going to be sustainable and burns longer over time. So I think depends on like the environment that you’re in and the customers that you serve, there is a certain acceptable level of churn. One of the best things that I think I heard on this was American Idol, who was from a Water Pulse the CEO, they serve SMBs, they had a service that does social media management, and there’s quite a lot of service out there. And typically, when you’re working with small businesses, the churn rate becomes pretty high. And what they did was an exercise at some point was at their churn exit survey, they took a look at what are the reasons for churn and they then segmented and said, okay, like, what are the reasons we can control? And what are the reasons we can’t. So small business that goes out of business is like really not something that’s within the control that they have, they can actually do anything about so they said, Okay, there’s 10% of churn like or 15, or 20%, of churn, like, we don’t care about it, like there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it. Like, it’s just the nature of doing business in SMB. And then this sort of segmented by these different types and then said, okay, like, this 60% of our churn, we can actually influence and then they set targets against that and realise, so I’d say there’s two aspects. One is like realising what you can control this, what you can’t control and the stuff you can’t control, that’s always going to happen. So it’s just the nature of doing business, perhaps in your certain segments of space. And then the second thing is, I’ll just, I think, understanding the timing of where you’re at and who you’re serving. And in the early days, like you can’t, it’s very difficult to turn away customers and say, Okay, this is not a good fit, when you’re running out of runway, you really need to close that next deal. So I think you just need to be a little bit realistic and understanding but also coming into the mindset that you understand. And you know that this is not a long term plan. It’s not sustainable. And ultimately, it’s going to end up costing us more than dads, but it’s just the nature of timing and what’s right for the business at this time.

Lily Smith: 

And, gee, this has been so good. There’s so much that I want to dig into, but we’re running out of time. Sadly, I think we’ve got time for just a couple more questions. My question is, what do people get wrong about churn? You know, we’ve talked a lot about a lot of the case studies that you’ve had on the podcast where people have done it really well. And they’ve kind of managed it really well. And we did have a few examples of how people get it wrong around sort of not strong alignment across the business. But are there any other sort of major gotchas or things that people should watch out for when they’re trying to manage retention?

Andrew Michael: 

Yeah. So the first thing is actually something we got wrong. I think in the early days, it goes back to the alignments a little bit. But what we ended up doing it hotshot at some point was we tried to put together a churn team. And we thought, okay, we want to get like a few different individuals from organisation and from different teams, and they want to come in like solve churn, in retrospect, is an absolutely terrible idea. Because ultimately, it’s a team game in a team sport and to drive change, like everybody needs to be working on it. So I think that’s definitely from personal experience mistake that we made in the early days trying to figure things out. The next mistake is what I think is that most companies end up starting to focus on churn. And that’s really not what you need to be focusing on when you’re solving for churn and retention is really, like focus on the value that you deliver your customers and you end up solving the problem at the end of it, but we obsess like so much in the beginning, like we see this number and like, are we losing so much revenue every month we need to do, we need to fix churn, we need to fix it, and we need evictions. And you hear this a lot within different companies. But then nobody really understands what that means. And then you just end up creating more chaos and anxiety within the organisation without them really having a clear understanding of why this matters and how we can go about it. So what people most people get wrong in the beginning when they’re first goes on this they’ll do things like churn exit survey, and they’ll say okay, like what are the reasons for churn and then let’s go and try and solve these things and but what they end up realising is like, the biggest value is really onboarding. And actually something I like as well that adapted from like the conversion rate optimization world and the lesson like I got from David and from CRO is that when we asked for feedback, like why did you churn typically, like we’re getting feedback as well from a certain audience who are probably never meant to be a customers anyway, as well. And we mix that in with customers that we probably could have kept. Whereas probably a more powerful way of collecting feedback is actually at the time of renewal. And just asking one question to customers that have renewed and saying, what almost stopped you from renewing today and in that light, thank you You’re gonna get really strong feedback from customers who actually just paid you. So it’s in their best interest to give you feedback. Because typically, like, it’s very difficult to get feedback from somebody that’s just churn. So ultimately, like, the stuff that you collect, second other needs to be done by third party, it’s very expensive, time consuming and difficult to get anything of value. So actually asking customers that have just renewed and saying, like, what was it that nearly stopped you from renewing today, you get one like, because you know, there’s a good fit customers, because even despite the issues they have with your product, they still decided to renew. So I think that’s also another area where like, we spend a lot of time focusing on these people they’ve just left but there’s a whole group of people always said I’d renewing with your product and continuing to use it. And there’s definitely things that are bugging them about the product that you could be resolving that could potentially save those others that have ended up turning in the end.

Randy Silver: 

So I’m gonna ask a question, I might go totally against that. But if there is someone who you believe is in your ideal customer profile, and they do churn, you know, if it’s somebody that that hurts, what’s the best way to then go back and talk to them? I mean, you’ve lost them, you’ve potentially lost the relationship, what’s a good way of actually going and getting a proper insight from them?

Andrew Michael: 

Yeah, so it’s, like I said, it’s turned out to be typically difficult, because at that stage there are they’re really upset with the product, or they just don’t have the time of day to give you any more. Because let’s face it, like who has time to give other products feedback, I think as product people, we tend to give more feedback, because we understand and appreciate the challenges, but in certain businesses, it can be quite challenging. I think, in most cases, like what companies tend to resort to is just incentivizing. And you might say, okay, like, is it good to incentivize feedback, I think, typically, it’s not the best thing, but ultimately, it’s what you really need to do. And then through that, it’s really just being about delivered and telling them listen, like, be as blunt and direct as possible. Like literally whatever you say, you’re not going to hurt our feelings in any way. If anything you’re going to do so just justice by being nice. And the incentives I think, is like the only way I’ve really seen people effectively be able to reach out and gain good insight from them.

Randy Silver: 

Just to be really clear incentives. You mean like a 50 gift cards kind of thing.

Andrew Michael: 

Exactly. Yeah.

Randy Silver: 

That’s fantastic. Andrew, thank you very much for this. We don’t want to turn you out as a guest but we have run out of time.

Lily Smith: 

Thanks, Andrew. This has been amazing.

Andrew Michael: 

Thanks very much for those great joining and thanks so much again for the invite.

Lily Smith: 

The product experience is the first and the best podcast from mine the product. Our hosts are me, Lily Smith, and me Randy silver. Louron Pratt is our producer and Luke Smith is our editor.

Randy Silver: 

Our theme music is from humbard baseband power. That’s P AU. Thanks to RNA killer who curates both product tank and MTP engage in Hamburg and who also plays bass in the band for letting us use their music. You can connect with your local product community via product tank regular free meetups in over 200 cities worldwide.

Lily Smith: 

If there’s not one near you, maybe you should think about starting one. To find out more go to mind the product.com forward slash product thank.

Unknown: 

You

This week on the podcast experience, we're talking all about churn. How do you reduce customer churn. What are the biggest obstacles? What are the biggest challenges? And are there any misconceptions behind the perfect churn strategy? Churn expert, Andrew Michael, CEO of Avrio, was able to answer all of our questions with ease and more.
   

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Featured Links: Follow Andrew on LinkedIn and Twitter | Andrew's podcast Churn FM | Avrio | Clearbit | 'The Aha Moment' - Abdelrahman Wahba on The Product Experience | AppsFlyer | Agorapulse| Listen to this episode on Youtube!
Lily Smith:  Randy, I've been thinking about the metrics we use for the podcast and I've noticed a bit of an issue. Randy Silver:  Okay, well, I'm not sure what you're looking at. I mean, our listener numbers look great. More people are listening all the time. And we're definitely trending in the right direction. Yeah, Lily Smith:  sure. That's fine. That's great. But it's our guests. I mean, most of them come on just once, and then they churn out. I mean, we don't retain anyone. We've had a couple of people on twice, but I just hate seeing them disappear. Randy Silver:  Okay, I see. No, no, actually, I don't see. I mean, really, that's what's supposed to happen. If we kept the guests on for every subsequent episode that would make for a terribly crowded studio, and pretty awful user experience. Lily Smith:  Okay. Yeah, I know, I know that Randy. Really, I was just trying to come up with like, you know, a good segue into our episode topic. And instead of being you know, like, Burton journey from Sesame Street for this week's intro, because this episode is all about churn or journey. Randy Silver:  Okay, that that makes sense. But that's officially the worst joke I've ever heard. So of course, I love it. Let's get right to our chat with Andrew Michael. He's the host of his own podcast churn FM, which probably doesn't have quite as bad jokes, and the founder and CEO of Everio. Lily Smith:  The product experience is brought to you by mine the product. Every week on the podcast, we talk to the best product people from around the globe. Visit mind product.com to catch up on past episodes and discoverable, Randy Silver:  browse for free, or become a mind the product member to unlock premium content, discounts to our conferences around the world, and training opportunities. Mind the product also offers free product tank meetups in more than 200 cities. There's probably one near you. Lily Smith:  Hi, Andrew, really great to be talking to you today on the podcast How you doing? Andrew Michael:  I'm good. Thank you very much, Lee. It's great to be here. Lily Smith:  So before we get started on our topic today of churn, and please don't leave us before we get started. would you love to give us a quick intro into who you are and what you do and how you got that. Andrew Michael:  Nice. Thanks. So I'm the founder and CEO of IBM. And we basically help teams analyse and share customer research more effectively. And also the show host of churn FM, which is the podcast for subscription economy pros, focusing on using ways to use retention to fuel growth. So we talked a little bit about this off air. But the podcast itself actually started over three years ago. And the idea back then really was I was a previous founder, I was working in hotshot at the time, I wanted to start something new, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to do yet. So let me build an audience first. And then when I was ready, I could sell to that audience was the general idea. And so I started the podcast with that in mind, and we're three years in now and learned a tonne from it, it's been an amazing experience. And it's actually even back in so many different ways that I didn't expect it to either. So Lily Smith:  amazing. And so we're gonna be talking about today. In the podcast, you've done it for like three years. So I'm guessing like going so deep into one subject, you must have some incredible insights into, you know, how to kind of manage churn for your business. So I'm gonna go straight in at the deep end and ask you, what are your top three takeaways from all of your interviews about churn? Andrew Michael:  Yeah, this is a super tough question, because actually, I recently as well spoken heart to web. And I was trying to condense everything to find out what was like the biggest takeaways that I could share with the audience. And I think for me, like, there's definitely recurring themes that happen in the episodes, I think, the number one, like issue, I see what companies in that get this wrong is really when there's not strong alignment within the organisation. And when there's sort of like, a shift of responsibility on to individual team, so it's like, oh, this is customer successes problem, or, or we can only do this by solving it with product, or something's happening with marketing or sales. And then it's like, okay, customer success, you're gonna fix this now, but there's just so many inputs that influence the final output metric. And really, like, if you tell me any role within a company, I can show you how they can influence churn and retention. And when companies that do this really well, they understand this, and they really have this strong alignment throughout the company, and they realise, okay, if we're building a subscription business, people are cancelling subscriptions. We're not really building a business. We're just wasting our time. So this needs to be a company metric. It needs to be full alignment. Like from top down to bottom up, and the best companies get this right. So I think that's probably been one of the biggest learnings I would say. And it actually funny enough as well, at Hotjar. We saw this similarly, where, in the beginning, we were all just pulling different strings in different directions. But then, when we actually took a step back, we came up with strategy. Everybody understood how they influenced the metric in the output is really, really saw, like sort of the step change in churn and increase in retention. Lily Smith:  And then, just before you go into step two, like the next key takeaway, like how, how did businesses achieve that alignment? across the different teams, because I can totally imagine the conversations of marketing being like we're funnelling loads of people to you, and you're just losing them all. Like, that's not our fault? And how that kind of happens. So, like, how do these teams actually get to that conclusion, and work together really, really well, in order to own churn across the whole business? Andrew Michael:  Yeah. So it actually starts as all like with one of the other areas where people get this really right is like, obviously, we took the end product, and if I tell you like put the customer at the centre, it's like, how many times have we heard this? But really, it starts off, like having this deep, deep understanding of who the customer is like, what are the use cases? And how do we deliver value because ultimately, if you're not delivering value, at the end of the day, people are going to churn, they come to you for that it's really, really that simple. Like, it's probably, it's probably the simplest and most complicated problem to solve in the company anytime. So they understand that this is the core centre, and then from there, they're able to understand how their individual roles influence that metric. So typically, what you'll see is they might have some sort of a KPI tree where the final output metric is retention, and they might really want to focus more on input metrics. So to be okay, we understand that the highest retention comes from users that showed this behaviour in activation, and there will be like, weekly active value achievers, it's called this metric itself there. And then they're able to work that way backwards throughout the organisation and understand, Okay, our ideal customer profile, or the best fit for the type of people that are getting to that value point and consistently achieving it. So, sales, like it's no longer about just closing deals, you need to know also close deals, and you need to make sure that those deals are renewing, and they're part of our ICP. So this is like one of the big breakdowns, typically where you see sales selling to the wrong fit. Yeah, Randy Silver:  how do you deal with that with sales teams typically are really good at going out and getting deal. But then there's often gets handed over to somebody else who then becomes the account manager or customer success. So how do you make sure that there's alignment between both of those departments, or both of those teams straightaway? Andrew Michael:  Yeah, so what the best companies think they do is they align the compensation towards like making sure you bring in the right customers. So when they're earning commission, they're not just getting like, they'll get maybe 50% On the first sale, and then they'll get 50% when their customer in use. And likewise, like the Commission's then would happen with their hand off with customer success as well. So the incentives shift in organisations that really have a strong focus on retention. And they realise, okay, it's not just about closing anything, and everything, it really is like, we should be closing the right foot, because closing the wrong foot, customers end up putting a much bigger strain on the organisation than we realise, like, from a product perspective, you're collecting feedback from the wrong type of users, so you end up building the wrong things. from a support perspective, they typically need a lot more support and more help. So all of these issues sort of unfold itself. And the companies realise this, they really have this focus in the beginning. And that's why I like having the call centre for the customers, then you can work backwards and say, Okay, how does each team's role play towards this customer and fulfilling value for them. And then, like, if you look at marketing, for example, you might realise, okay, our best fit customers come from this specific channel, this is the use case that they're going for. So, contents teams role is to acquire a certain amount of ideal customer profiles from the content that you generate. And you make acquisition targets, also at a quality level on top of it as well. So it's not just the number of types of leads coming through the door, but really, these needs to be good qualified leads that are coming through and then sales, picking that up at the end of it. Randy Silver:  That makes sense for b2b. But when you're consumer focused, you're not necessarily going through Salesforce. So how do you make sure that you're acquiring the right customers? And or how do you handle churn for consumer focused business? Andrew Michael:  Yeah, I think consumer it is a little bit more complex itself there and the research and the understanding of like, what ideal customer profile means for you there can be a lot more broad or can be a lot more narrow, depending on the context. And I think there are different services out there that you can use. So like Clearbit is one of them for enrichment, and really just trying to understand okay, what are sort of the firmographic and demographic properties that your consumers share amongst like the the ideal fit, and then be able to score and understand like, what is the quality coming through. So even if you serving in a b2c environment, you can use enrichment services that allow you to qualify specific leads, or the other ways, like have things in your signup form and asking specific questions. So like, my main thing is like, what is the main use case? Like, why are you using our product? Simple question like that can be used later in delivering value to your customers, but also help segments are these the right fit or they're coming to us for the use case, and we believe our product should be useful. And like I see this in my current startup. Now, as far as Everio. We built the product for product teams to conduct and facilitate research. But we do see a lot of students using the product now. And which would say is like more of a b2c use case in that environment. But having that feel that signup gives us that context. And it allows us then to segment and say, okay, yes, this is a good fit. This is where we want to spend our time. This is the feedback we want to be paying attention to or not Lily Smith:  amazing. And I completely cut you off earlier, when you were going through your top three takeaways just because the first one was so good. What they what are your other kind of two key takeaways? Andrew Michael:  Yeah, so the second one was really around, as I mentioned, understanding who that ideal customer profile is, and deeply understand, like, what is the value that you're delivering to them. And actually, one of the stories like I mentioned that a few different stories I mentioned on the podcast a lot just from episodes that we've had. And one of them was actually from Heidi Gibson, who was at GoDaddy at the time. And GoDaddy. At some point, they were trying to launch their new website builder, and they ended up struggling with actual conversion and retention at the end of it. And they were just tracking like arbitrary metrics to begin with, like, website setup, was like the main metric they were optimising towards, and then they slowly like, started to dive deep into the customer's needs. And while they were coming to them, and it seems pretty obvious, but what they realised was that the shopper didn't come to them to set up a website, they came to them to get more sales, the hairdressing salon wanted bookings, the online food delivery wanted orders. And they were able then to take a step back and say we have this data readily available, because we offer ecommerce solutions, and we offer delivery. So they shifted their focusing to set up to focus, okay, what is the end result in value that we're delivering our customers and work back from there from there? So what are the best sellers do? What are the setup? What is their setup moment of like? What are the things they're onboarding their customers they're onboarding themselves with, and then use that to reengineer behaviour. And they really, really saw a step change in making that shift in tracking value. But it comes down to like, knowing who their customers really were and what they valued at the end of the day. So yeah, that was number two. And then I think there's like varied degrees of like the impact that people will have. And one question I asked a lot, and it's really a trick question on the show is like, if you had 90 days to turn around, what would you do? And don't tell me, you're going to go speak to customers and look at data, because that's just a cop out. So just pick a tactic that you'll see. And most people say like, you can't turn things around in 90 days. And yes, they're right, because it takes a lot longer to fall, and other things and will tend to buy things like churn deflection or delinquent churn management and Dunning services. But really like, what I've learned through the podcast is the absolute biggest impact you can have on general attention really is at onboarding and activation. And it's a little bit counterintuitive. I think most people when they first approach the problem of general attention, they start to think like how do we stop people from leaving us? As opposed to how do we make sure more people get value from a product or service? And what do we need to do? So that said, that's like a big shift in mindset. You see, the best companies realise, like, I need to be focusing on how do I activate my users? How do I make sure our onboarding effectively so they get to that, that value, as opposed to really focusing on like, why are people churning and at the end of the day, so the best companies like have a really strong focus on onboarding, and they also realise that that impact is compounding. So like a small increase in adoption at signup really compounds over time, over the lifecycle rather than just trying to win back a few customers that are already lost for the most part anyway, and tend to be typically very difficult to win back, Randy Silver:  surely is, you know, the absolute ultimate in lagging metrics, you know, you can't find out until after well, by definition. So and you're just talking about onboarding as potentially a good leading metric. I'm curious. What else can you use them just obviously, you know, setting something up and running an experiment on journey is going to be a very read long experiment. So in your experience, what are good leading metrics? What are good predictors of churn reduction? Andrew Michael:  Yeah, so there's a few different things I'd say the first one is like the lead scoring itself. So this is quite like a good rudimentary exercise that you can take on your own as well, we actually did at some point in our chart. And it was really just taking a look at who our best fit customers. So we took a cohort who had been with us for longer than 12 months that paid X amount, and we're certain levels of like activity within the product. And we actually ran it through a service like Clearbit. So we enrich the sites and we enrich the users themselves. From there, you get a certain level for demographic and demographic properties. And you can then create, like a scoring model. So what you can tend to see is okay, let's say this is not redundant anywhere, but alexa rank is going away. Alexa rank, like the higher the lower, the alexa rank was a really good indicator of a good fit customer, and a likelihood of retention. And then you find like these few different demographic or demographic properties that tend to be good fits. So at the earliest stage, you can really start qualifying leads better and okay, if you're not saying like, this is ideal customer profile is companies are 50 to 100, who have 200 employees and do 50 million in revenue, like, you don't need to tick all the boxes, but you just get a score, arrange. And if they tick one of the properties, like they get three points, or two points, or one point. And what we found then was like you could really understand like the quality was the first indicator if the customers were going to retain or not. So that was one way to sort of determine how things were working out for you. And then yes, like, the next thing is really like looking, what are the inputs that users end up doing that end up retaining longer, and what are those that don't, and typically, those tend to be things that people are doing at onboarding and everybody talks about the wah wah moment or the AHA. And that's definitely in the b2c environment. If people don't experience that aha moments like relatively quickly. They tend to be like high risk for churn and almost very, very difficult. And a couple of things that I've learned to change my thinking on the podcast was one of the things was from Sean class at the time when he was at Atlassian. And we always have this idea that we need to rush people through onboarding and get them to that value as fast as possible. But sometimes, as well, it's also really important to slow things down. And remember that the most attention you're ever going to get from your customer is that first initial experience when they sign up for your product like, and if you're not able to get them to a point where you're achieving value, and you're actually able to deliver that like you've pretty much lost them at that point. And what Atlassian actually found, like, counterintuitive to what most people think is that their biggest indicator of if a customer would retain long term or not was the time they spent in their first session. And the greater the time that they spent in their first session, the more likely they were to retain. So there are certain indicators like this, that you can start to take a look at at the early activation period in terms of what are the actions they're taking and how they can go about it. And you mentioned Lily Smith:  earlier, weekly active value achievers. What does that mean? I've never heard that term before. Andrew Michael:  Yeah. So I think this is just like, going back to the GoDaddy example that we gave before. It's really, GoDaddy realised that the value that people came to them for wasn't the website, the value that they were getting was actually the end result, which is the sales or the online bookings. And what they would do then is like they would group the end value that they received and see like how many people on a weekly basis actually drove sales or got bookings. And for most businesses, you can get to a point where you can measure the value or get relatively close to the value. And yeah, so essentially, that's just like another way of phrasing maybe whatever the metric is that your business that delivers value to customers. Randy Silver:  A moment ago, you were talking about cohorts. And this is I think, something that people don't always understand it's not just about churn as an overall thing. So can you tell us a little bit about how you put cohorts together to measure this? Andrew Michael:  Yeah. So cohort is obviously the best the only way really to measure channel retention itself. And it's understanding what your different cohorts look like. And by cohort, you can either split them by day by week by month, quarter year, like that's really up to you. And essentially, what you're trying to look at is, let's take an example that we want to look at a cohort of users that signed up in week, one of 2022. And you track that cohort of users those groups so let's say there was 500 signups in week one of 2022. And you can monitor their behaviour over time then to see slowly Okay, by week two, how many are still retained by week three, how many is still retained by week four. And then slowly what you can do is map that out and understand like other You're doing really well. And you have like, a little bit of a dip, maybe first three, four weeks, and then you start to see a flattening out. And in some cases, if depending if we're talking about user retention or necessary morale retention, ideally, like what you really want to see, I think a lot of people had this before, but it's that smiley face where you end up seeing a little bit of a dip in B due to churn but then slowly over time, through expansion, revenue, and through reactivation, you're able to achieve sort of a smile in your metrics. And this is more towards the b2b case, but can be applicable as well in b2c. So yeah, cohorts are really, really effective in monitoring and tracking changes over time. And also important to see sort of like keep an eye on them to see how changes in your product affect training retention over time, as well, because, as you mentioned, like it's a really lagging metric. And a lot of times, like only a few months later, you realise Oh, shit, I don't know, like, what did we do back then? There was some big change. And we've really impacted a cohort of users going forward. And most of the time, like when you make big shifts like that, you can see like stock changes, either positive or negative in your cohorts. But like as an aggregate, it's very difficult just to understand the movements and see the changes. Lily Smith:  And what about churn prediction? Can that actually be done accurately? You kind of mentioned before, I think it was Atlassian that discovered that the very first session sort of predicted how customers would churn later. Andrew Michael:  Yep. So I think most companies will follow like a similar format for this and understand and actually is of pillared who is the Chief Customer Officer at appsflyer. Like we've had him on the show like a couple of times, and what they as well tend to realise it all goes back to the same sort of focus on like, what are the activation metrics that people need to do? So you take a look at the your most successful cohorts of users, what are the key actions that they've been doing your attention, as well look at, like going back to it are they qualified, you'll then also look at their usage over time and how that changes. And most companies will typically build a model then off the back of this and they'll say, Okay, if our customers like don't meet these certain criteria, they originally like from the start, there are a risk, we need to flag them and understand like how we deal with this risk, if they don't take certain actions in the product. This is another risk, and they end up just sort of like the churn prediction itself is really more like, risk flagging. And this typically tends to be customer success teams that would focus on this, then afterwards, like in a b2b environment where they can see, okay, we know that customer best fit customers have achieved x y Zed by this period in their usage, those that don't end up being flagged within the churn prediction, if you want to call that it's maybe a very simple way of doing it. But ultimately, that's really what it comes down to, it's like, the models can get more and more complex, but it's really just looking for individual signals that you know, the best for customers take. And then seeing those that don't take those actions and treating those as causes for concern. And what an interesting things actually appsflyer ended up doing was they realised that, okay, this these certain key actions that are really tied and correlated to Retention and Expansion, and they tied their customer success compensation to activation for those specific features. And so the customer success team then sort of realised, okay, within month one, these are the things we need to get our customers to do in month, three, in month 12. And they had a game plan then in terms of like, how they would activate users and get them to expand into different products and services that they had within the organisation. And their results. I can't remember exactly, but I'm gonna just throw a random number now. But I think it was something like in the region of like, 50 or 100 million, like they ended up generating from this exercise. It was a crazy number at the time. I remember, sir. Wow, that's Lily Smith:  amazing. Randy Silver:  So we've been talking all this time about churn as if it's a bad thing, and generally it is. But is there ever a time when it's not? Is there an anti pattern? Or is there a time when churn is good? Andrew Michael:  Yeah. So this is something that I wrestled with a lot as well personally, like previously, I think, when you're working in an SMB environment, or like in a b2c environment, you'll tend to typically have like, much higher churn than most businesses will specifically like an enterprise. And to a certain degree, like there is this idea of acceptable churn versus non acceptable churn. So the first thing is like, I think at an early stage, when you're getting started, you're typically gonna end up having a higher churn retention because like, your product is not as sophisticated. It has like a lot of issues with it still potentially. So they are sort of just like that early stage, where churn itself is just fueling revenue that you went in. I like the analogy as well. Of Building like a log fire, like building a fire. In the beginning, you start out with little twigs, and they might not be the best fit customers and they're not going to stick around for the longest they're gonna come in and they're gonna burn fast, but they're gonna give you the fuel that you need to find the logs to find the ideal customer profile to get those to start burning those. And then you start to build a more and more healthy fire that's going to be sustainable and burns longer over time. So I think depends on like the environment that you're in and the customers that you serve, there is a certain acceptable level of churn. One of the best things that I think I heard on this was American Idol, who was from a Water Pulse the CEO, they serve SMBs, they had a service that does social media management, and there's quite a lot of service out there. And typically, when you're working with small businesses, the churn rate becomes pretty high. And what they did was an exercise at some point was at their churn exit survey, they took a look at what are the reasons for churn and they then segmented and said, okay, like, what are the reasons we can control? And what are the reasons we can't. So small business that goes out of business is like really not something that's within the control that they have, they can actually do anything about so they said, Okay, there's 10% of churn like or 15, or 20%, of churn, like, we don't care about it, like there's absolutely nothing we can do about it. Like, it's just the nature of doing business in SMB. And then this sort of segmented by these different types and then said, okay, like, this 60% of our churn, we can actually influence and then they set targets against that and realise, so I'd say there's two aspects. One is like realising what you can control this, what you can't control and the stuff you can't control, that's always going to happen. So it's just the nature of doing business, perhaps in your certain segments of space. And then the second thing is, I'll just, I think, understanding the timing of where you're at and who you're serving. And in the early days, like you can't, it's very difficult to turn away customers and say, Okay, this is not a good fit, when you're running out of runway, you really need to close that next deal. So I think you just need to be a little bit realistic and understanding but also coming into the mindset that you understand. And you know that this is not a long term plan. It's not sustainable. And ultimately, it's going to end up costing us more than dads, but it's just the nature of timing and what's right for the business at this time. Lily Smith:  And, gee, this has been so good. There's so much that I want to dig into, but we're running out of time. Sadly, I think we've got time for just a couple more questions. My question is, what do people get wrong about churn? You know, we've talked a lot about a lot of the case studies that you've had on the podcast where people have done it really well. And they've kind of managed it really well. And we did have a few examples of how people get it wrong around sort of not strong alignment across the business. But are there any other sort of major gotchas or things that people should watch out for when they're trying to manage retention? Andrew Michael:  Yeah. So the first thing is actually something we got wrong. I think in the early days, it goes back to the alignments a little bit. But what we ended up doing it hotshot at some point was we tried to put together a churn team. And we thought, okay, we want to get like a few different individuals from organisation and from different teams, and they want to come in like solve churn, in retrospect, is an absolutely terrible idea. Because ultimately, it's a team game in a team sport and to drive change, like everybody needs to be working on it. So I think that's definitely from personal experience mistake that we made in the early days trying to figure things out. The next mistake is what I think is that most companies end up starting to focus on churn. And that's really not what you need to be focusing on when you're solving for churn and retention is really, like focus on the value that you deliver your customers and you end up solving the problem at the end of it, but we obsess like so much in the beginning, like we see this number and like, are we losing so much revenue every month we need to do, we need to fix churn, we need to fix it, and we need evictions. And you hear this a lot within different companies. But then nobody really understands what that means. And then you just end up creating more chaos and anxiety within the organisation without them really having a clear understanding of why this matters and how we can go about it. So what people most people get wrong in the beginning when they're first goes on this they'll do things like churn exit survey, and they'll say okay, like what are the reasons for churn and then let's go and try and solve these things and but what they end up realising is like, the biggest value is really onboarding. And actually something I like as well that adapted from like the conversion rate optimization world and the lesson like I got from David and from CRO is that when we asked for feedback, like why did you churn typically, like we're getting feedback as well from a certain audience who are probably never meant to be a customers anyway, as well. And we mix that in with customers that we probably could have kept. Whereas probably a more powerful way of collecting feedback is actually at the time of renewal. And just asking one question to customers that have renewed and saying, what almost stopped you from renewing today and in that light, thank you You're gonna get really strong feedback from customers who actually just paid you. So it's in their best interest to give you feedback. Because typically, like, it's very difficult to get feedback from somebody that's just churn. So ultimately, like, the stuff that you collect, second other needs to be done by third party, it's very expensive, time consuming and difficult to get anything of value. So actually asking customers that have just renewed and saying, like, what was it that nearly stopped you from renewing today, you get one like, because you know, there's a good fit customers, because even despite the issues they have with your product, they still decided to renew. So I think that's also another area where like, we spend a lot of time focusing on these people they've just left but there's a whole group of people always said I'd renewing with your product and continuing to use it. And there's definitely things that are bugging them about the product that you could be resolving that could potentially save those others that have ended up turning in the end. Randy Silver:  So I'm gonna ask a question, I might go totally against that. But if there is someone who you believe is in your ideal customer profile, and they do churn, you know, if it's somebody that that hurts, what's the best way to then go back and talk to them? I mean, you've lost them, you've potentially lost the relationship, what's a good way of actually going and getting a proper insight from them? Andrew Michael:  Yeah, so it's, like I said, it's turned out to be typically difficult, because at that stage there are they're really upset with the product, or they just don't have the time of day to give you any more. Because let's face it, like who has time to give other products feedback, I think as product people, we tend to give more feedback, because we understand and appreciate the challenges, but in certain businesses, it can be quite challenging. I think, in most cases, like what companies tend to resort to is just incentivizing. And you might say, okay, like, is it good to incentivize feedback, I think, typically, it's not the best thing, but ultimately, it's what you really need to do. And then through that, it's really just being about delivered and telling them listen, like, be as blunt and direct as possible. Like literally whatever you say, you're not going to hurt our feelings in any way. If anything you're going to do so just justice by being nice. And the incentives I think, is like the only way I've really seen people effectively be able to reach out and gain good insight from them. Randy Silver:  Just to be really clear incentives. You mean like a 50 gift cards kind of thing. Andrew Michael:  Exactly. Yeah. Randy Silver:  That's fantastic. Andrew, thank you very much for this. We don't want to turn you out as a guest but we have run out of time. Lily Smith:  Thanks, Andrew. This has been amazing. Andrew Michael:  Thanks very much for those great joining and thanks so much again for the invite. Lily Smith:  The product experience is the first and the best podcast from mine the product. Our hosts are me, Lily Smith, and me Randy silver. Louron Pratt is our producer and Luke Smith is our editor. Randy Silver:  Our theme music is from humbard baseband power. That's P AU. Thanks to RNA killer who curates both product tank and MTP engage in Hamburg and who also plays bass in the band for letting us use their music. You can connect with your local product community via product tank regular free meetups in over 200 cities worldwide. Lily Smith:  If there's not one near you, maybe you should think about starting one. To find out more go to mind the product.com forward slash product thank. Unknown:  You