The Common Mistake That Kills Customer Retention


You simply cannot afford to ignore data analytics generated by user behavior. You need to know who is accessing your product, and what they are doing once they log in.

Few of us go through life without making assumptions — or being on the receiving end of assumptions from others. However, while assumptions are common, they aren’t always useful. When they are incorrect (as is often the case) they can cause significant problems.

This is particularly true when it comes to onboarding your customers to your digital product or service. Many companies spend a great deal of time and energy learning about their customers as a means of attracting them to their product, carefully targeting marketing messages to address pain points and show how problems can be solved, but they spend considerably less time taking care of those customers once they have them.

Often, companies begin to lose their customers during the onboarding process. Instead of walking their customers through a set of steps that carefully demonstrate the value of the product, driving them to become loyal users, they leave customers hanging, unsure of what to do next or how to get the most value from the product. Sure, they might offer a tutorial or a walkthrough, but unless those experiences give the customer a reason to come back, there’s a good chance that you’ve lost them.

[ Related: 5 Industries Where All Employees Will Be Customer Service Agents ]

Why does this happen? In many cases, the issue isn’t the welcome or the tutorial or even the product itself. The problem stems from assumptions that companies make about their customers and users.

Common onboarding assumptions  

Several types of assumptions can potentially affect your onboarding process and tank your customer retention numbers.

  1. Assumptions about design. When designing the product itself, assumptions about “must haves” and app features can create a product that doesn’t resonate with customers. For example, not all features need in-depth tutorials or detailed instructions. Customers will get frustrated or click or swipe through tutorials that are too long or feel like they are “dumbed down.” At the same time, assuming that because your interface has features like other popular programs your customers will automatically understand what to do is equally as dangerous.
  2. Assuming certain actions will lead to conversions. For many companies, about 50 percent of users never return after the first session with the product. This often comes as a shock — you were so sure that you gave them just what they needed to find value. But how did you know? Unless you spend time analyzing the data from your customer success software to determine the actions that lead to loyal customers — and the actions that cause them to leave and never come back — you are likely making incorrect assumptions.
  3. Assuming that needs never change. Again, you probably spent a lot of time getting to “know” your customers during the product development phase, so you could create something that they need and want. But what happens after you provide the solution? If you’re assuming that their needs will never change, or that your product will miraculously solve every problem, then you are not going to see the retention rates you’re hoping for. You need to stay in contact with your customers throughout the onboarding process to help solve problems — and even after they’ve signed on, to stay on top of emerging needs and identify potential changes or improvements.

The importance of analytics

One of the most important aspects of the onboarding process is data analytics. You simply cannot afford to ignore data generated by user behavior. You need to know who is accessing your product, and what they are doing once they log in.

[ Related: IoT in Retail Marketing: Three Ways to Engage Customers ]

Tracking this behavior is key to identifying places where users get hung up during the onboarding process, as well as areas that they are skipping. Compare the behavior of the users that leave to those who stay, to identify any differences. In time, you’re likely to notice patterns that you can correct, and make changes based on actual data, not just what you think is happening. While this requires more work, you will waste less time and money and improve your user retention.

Making assumptions is rarely a good thing, in business or in life. As you should know exactly who your customers are, what they need, and how they are using your product, based on data and facts — not just what you think. The fewer assumptions you make, the more successful you will be.

Jackie Roberson

About Jackie Roberson

Jackie Roberson produces content on topics such as technology, business, home life and education. She studied business management and is continually building relationships with publishers and the Internet community.

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