Feel the Churn? Get Ahead of It

How to Use the Customer Journey to Eliminate Churn

If You Sell Any Product Then You Should Be Aware of Churn

Are you a company that sells paid consumer products, business to business services, ad-supported media and apps, consumer feed subscriptions or your revenue comes from freemium service models and in-app purchase models? If yes, then churn should be on your radar and a top priority for you to tackle.

Let’s define it first. Churn happens when a customer quits using a service or cancels their subscription. We all agree, every company wants to grow by adding customers or users through marketing and sales -this is true for both for-profit and non-profit enterprises. When customers leave, it counteracts the company’s growth and can even lead to reduction in market share and in the worst case, company shut down. Most service providers focus on acquisitions. However, to be successful, a service must also work to minimize churn. Keeping a customer is cheaper than acquiring a new one. Churn analysis mobilizes your cost savings.

Why Is It Hard to Fight?

People are rational, smart, and self-focused. It means, they like to compare products and offerings and choose which gives them great experience and/or value. Therefore, external factors coupled with personal experience plays a major role in churn. Fighting churn is hard because it is hard to identify when exactly customer will churn and control the external factors.

Is It a Lost Cause?

NO! It is hard but certainly possible to prevent churn and improve customer service. We can fight churn using tools of mass retention.

 

Tools of Mass Retention

ENGINE solves the issue based on methods which are driven by advice from domain experts, proper diligent market research and advanced analytics. We use the following to help companies retain customers effectively.

Product improvement

We use custom surveys and advanced market research techniques such as TURF, Segmentation, Max-diff and conjoint analysis to advise and guide clients to learn which varying factors motivate or deter consumers from purchasing particular products. Businesses can determine which products and/or services they should offer, and which they should avoid or discontinue. This makes the user experience unique and highly specialized and helps in better retention

Price Optimization

Setting the right price is very critical because lower price leads to lower profits and higher price leads customer loss. ENGINE runs advanced price optimization models such as conjoint analysis, Van Westendrop, Gabor-Granger, monadic price testing to find the best price points customers are willing to pay and how product features affect the price. The technique we choose often vary in what they solve and often depends on where the client is in terms of ideation, optimization and/or price refinement or line optimization. As the price is optimized, customers are willing to pay it and continue to stay with the business.

Engagement Optimization

At ENGINE, analysts use segmentation to understand the behaviour of the customer and their preferences. We use custom surveys, client data and 3rd data to obtain clusters of customers where respondents in each cluster share habits, beliefs and behaviours. Identification of these patterns allows us to define cluster specific recommendations and strategies that helps companies retain their customers more efficiently.

 

Survival Analysis to Understand Churn

Wouldn’t it be great if the company knew when a customer is likely to cancel the subscription along with the probability of cancellation? The goal of survival analysis is to predict time until an event happens and estimate the “survival probability” i.e., the likelihood a customer will stay till a given time. The models used in survival analysis help identify what are the factors and activities that cause the event, and the effect of those activities change over time. This is much better than traditional classification models which only tell if the event will happen or not.

Scenarios where survival analysis is used-

Figure time-to-event for a group of individuals, for example find the time till when a group of high profit customers will continue to spend on the website

Compare time-to-event between groups, for example loyalty card customers vs regular customers.

Understand the relationship of variables to time-to-event, for example how does location, gender, likes, dislikes, online behaviour, job satisfaction, etc, affect churn?

To perform efficient survival modelling, clients need to track the events along with their timings (at least 3 months of data) and other variables to relate to event and understand their influence on the event. All these variables need to be stored in some database or table and updated regularly so that it can be utilised to perform survival analysis.

Survival analysis can also be used to track if any strategy had a positive effect such as if the introduction of incentives led to increase in retention of customers. ENGINE combines 3rd party and survey data to figure key factors that lead to churn. Combining event, time and factor variables with ENGINE survey and 3rd party data gives the recipe for success in churn analysis.

Survival analysis uses advanced statistical models such as Kaplan-Meier to understand and return probability of churn at a time and Cox’s proportional hazard’s model to understand influence of factors on churn probability at given time. We combine these with advanced machine learning models to provide clients with an algorithm they can be activated to predict churn time and probability in real time and at regular intervals.

Survival Analysis with Customer Value Evaluation (CLV)

Survival analysis can also be used to calculate customer lifetime value by multiplying the revenue per customer with the time till retention. This is more efficient than traditional clv models. This helps the company to focus on most valuable customers and act at the right time.

 

Conclusion

As we see, churn is scary and present everywhere. It is important to tackle it with the right tools and techniques that are very efficient at improving retention. Survival analysis using the right data gives business the edge to retain valuable customers and enhance their experience. Most companies lack the skills and expertise to use the tools and techniques mentioned. We at ENGINE, have the tools, expertise, and people to help companies retain those important customers and provide insights on the best ways to engage them effectively.

Written by Nirupam Sharma, Research Director at ENGINE Insights.

 

Curious to Discuss ENGINE’s Solutions? Contact Us!

 

ABOUT ENGINE

ENGINE is a global, full-service media and marketing services company that unites culture and commerce to move brands forward faster. We are: Driven by data. Fueled by imagination. Powered by technology. Founded in 2005, ENGINE has global headquarters in New York and 16 offices across North America, the UK, Europe and Asia-Pacific. ENGINE empowers clients to outperform in the present and win in the future with its vast range of marketing solutions including – insights, creative, media, data and technology. Find out more at enginegroup.com and follow @engineworldwide.