Analyzing Adoption and Churn

  • 5 August 2023
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Let’s get real for a moment…..


We all know that your users won’t see value in your product if they aren’t using it. 


We also know that even if they are using it, that sentiment is critical💕;  i.e. is adoption high because they have to use your product every day? Adoption without sentiment will ultimately cause Surprise Churn which no one can afford during these tough economic times. (Read more here on Durable Growth)



My favorite analogy for this is 🏋️Buying a Gym Membership🏋️:

  • 👎🏻 Buying the membership alone isn’t going to get you the results you want.  It doesn’t work that way (sadly!).  It’s the biggest reason why people cancel their memberships - they lose motivation as they aren’t seeing results but they probably aren’t seeing results because they aren’t using it! It’s a big Catch22.
  • 🎯If you don’t know what your goals are, you’re going to feel aimless when you do go to the gym.  There’s a LOT of equipment (“features”) and it becomes a case of analysis paralysis.
    • If your users are logging in without any thoughts of what they want to do and are just clicking around on features, they will ultimately get frustrated or feel overwhelmed and not adopt.  Getting them to your sticky features and having that “aha!” moment in the first 30 days is critical.
      • 💡 TIP: Here’s a FANTASTIC Community post on how we collect goals using PX surveys, written and executed by the amazing @aaronhatton with the incredible help of @Sruthimalla 
  • 🏅 Think of your CSMs as the “Personal Trainer” in this analogy - they are there to hold your users accountable to their goals and “go to the gym” with a tailored workout plan
    • Are they showing them how to use the “equipment” in the gym? (features) to help them attain their goals in a contextual way?
    • Are they setting deadlines for when milestones should be achieved?  (Personal Trainers are there to push you in order to achieve your goals.  That’s what you’ve paid for them to do!  At the end of the day, it is up to you to follow the fitness plan.
      • How I see this happen to our customers in PX
        • Ex: Building a bunch of guides, but not really understanding the outcome they want to achieve (is it to increase adoption of certain features? Decrease the amount of time spent by CSMs or Onboarding teams with them or measuring the impact using our In-App performance).
        • They have a difficult time measuring/understanding the impact and thus have a hard time explaining the value to their leaders.  I imagine all of you have experienced similar stories with your own products.
        • 🏆 The Good News: Your CSM is here to help!!


9 Types of People You'll Find At The Gym [gifs] –



It’s important for everyone to understand what their Sticky Features are and how they influence Adoption and, ultimately, GRR and Churn.



✍🏻Here’s my process….


  1. 💡Start with a Analysis- I often will do an analysis of some of our most engaged accounts/users as well as those with High NPS/Sentiment to understand -

    1. What are they doing differently that could help a larger majority of our customers?  

    2. How do we accelerate TTV with our accounts and users in different aspects of the customer lifecycle? 

    3. How do I make them stickier and returning to the product exponentially over time?

      PX How-to :
      1. Analytics→ Survey Performance → NPS Survey → Filter to NPS scores > 8 
        1. Gainsight PX - 5 August 2023 - Watch Video


Who are my highest sentiment customers? 

  • What are they doing differently than those that aren’t happy?  Low NPS can often come from the user just not understanding how to achieve value with your product.​​​​​​​
  • What are similarities? Similar Segments (i.e. Enterprise, Midmarket)? Similar number of users in PX (greater depth of adoption in terms of utilization)
  1. 🎯Understand your “Golden Features” - What are your stickiest features?  The ones that you know when accounts/users are adopting them, they will see value and have higher retention and renewal rates? 
    1. For PX - We think of features like the KC Bot, Engagements (Guides, Surveys, etc), Analytics, Mapping New Features, etc…

How to do this:

  1. 🔎​​​​​​​Analyze Feature Adoption: You may think you already know what your sticky features are, but do you really?  I often find that until companies truly analyze feature adoption they may assume they know where users are getting value but don’t really until they look at Feature Adoption 

    1. In this process, I will also look at features that are very low in adoption and look for surprises where I would have assumed they would be really high.  Maybe it was a feature that our users were begging for:
    2. ❓❓Questions:
      1. ​​​​​​​ Why aren’t they using it? 
      2. Is this a discoverability issue (i.e. they literally don’t know it’s there) or..
      3. Is a usability issue (i.e. they know it’s there but it’s confusing or they don’t understand use cases -or  they simply hate it!) 📣 HINT. This is why you should use CES Surveys when launching new features or enhancements!
  2. ​​​​​​​💰Run an analysis of churned accounts and look for similarities in feature adoption.  I thankfully have an amazing Ops team that helps me with pulling some of this information but we pull in all the feature specific data from PX and compare it to top churned accounts.  I can then use this information to update my Healthscore in Gainsight CS to help the CS teams have better indicators on proactive churn risks.


I’m breaking this out into a separate article to talk about how I leverage Retention Analysis and work cross-functionally with our Digital team to launch campaigns to help increase adoption of these sticky features.


YARN | I guess what I'm trying to say is, | Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt  (2015) - S02E12 Kimmy Sees a Sunset! | Video clips by quotes | aa4d096a | 紗


In Summary:


  • In order for our users (“gym members”) to see the results they want, we need to:
    • Understand their goals -
      1. ​​​​​​​By having them self-identify and choose during onboarding process by leveraging PX in-app guides to capture the attributes as shown in this previously mentioned article and building personalized in-app journeys to add contextualized
      2. Having your CSMs digging in as the “Personal Trainers” to dig into the outcomes they are looking to achieve, creating a Success Plan with how we will measure the impact of our goals with deadlines, ownership, and KPI/metrics.  What is the baseline data of what is done today? What happens after we successfully accomplish one of our objectives? What was the delta?
    • Understand Golden Features:
      1. ​​​​​​​Analyzer Churned customers to identify commonalities and trends in adoption data
      2. Fold in Sentiment - ensure you are capturing sentiment on these features and aren’t giving yourself a “Watermelon” health score in terms of High Adoption but Low Sentiment that will lead to Surprise Churn. Capture sentiment by leveraging PX in-app surveys (NPS, CES, Rating, etc...)
    • Accelerate TTV and Increase Adoption of Sticky Features
      1. ​​​​​​​Identify where you are seeing low adoption in new or existing features and determine if you should add in a Tool Tip or Guided Walkthrough tour to guide users 
    • Work to build an intuitive Health Score for CS teams
      1. ​​​​​​​Leverage all of this important to data to build out health scores that incorporate Adoption/Usage of these golden features 
      2. Create automation through CTAs to proactively notify CSMs when there is a risk in the account 



I want to hear from YOU!


What are your strategies? How do you use PX today to identify Golden Features and increase adoption/reduce churn?  


Leave your thoughts below! 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻

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