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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Getting a 90% Retention Rate

My goal is to get my product to a 90% retention rate.  I have never seen it but I think that this is possible.  I have seen software where products where the customers are so loyal that they would not even think about doing a particular task without it. 

I know this is a lofty goal, but I am convinced it can be done.  Higher retention would not only mean an increase in revenue but an overall increase in customer satisfaction.  And who doesn't want happy loyal repeat customers.

So my question.  Does anyone have any advice they would be willing to share on steps they have taken which had a definite effect on customer retention?  Or any books or links that would be a good read on this subject.

PS I am open to any and all suggestions
C. Stark Send private email
Friday, March 01, 2013
I don't see why limit yourself to 90%, go for 100% -  it is only 10% more
alexandar Send private email
Saturday, March 02, 2013
One thing to remember is that it is a combination of several things.
1. Great Software
2. Great customer service
3. Branding, brand awareness, marketing, etc.

As for books, these might be a bit dated, but they're what were on my bookshelf.

Why Software Sucks...and What You Can Do About It
By David S. Platt

Unleashing the Killer App: Digital Strategies for Market Dominance by Larry Downes

An Amazon search for "Killerapp" also revealed some other books that might be of interest.
Mike Dixon Send private email
Saturday, March 02, 2013
90% per month or per year?
Andy Brice Send private email
Saturday, March 02, 2013
Yeah, needs more details. The question suggests it is a subscription service to something but what? How often, what does it cost? Probably a web site that you pay by the month? But could be anything. Maybe it is a subscription to annual termite inspections.
Scott Send private email
Saturday, March 02, 2013
Thanks for all of the suggestions.  I will definitely pick up those books. 

My software is a productivity application that helps people do a certain high paying job.  I want my software and service to be so good where people would panic if they didn't have access to my program.  I guess a good analogy of what I would like to achieve would be:

If a user's webhosting account's recurring charge was declined and they shut off her service, she would probably be on the phone with a new card dying to pay immediately to keep everything current.  Or if a graphic designer's photoshop license expired and no longer worked, I imagine they would not want to work even for just 1 day without renewing it. 

That is how useful I would like my software to be.  Today it is useful, but not so much that people would panic without it. I know it won't be easy, but this is the only thing I want.  And I imagine that would be somewhere around 90% retention.  I could be wrong about the numbers though.

Has anybody here done some steps they can share as examples of specific actions they took to increase retention?
C. Stark Send private email
Saturday, March 02, 2013
> My software is a productivity application that helps people do a certain high paying job.

That still doesn't explain how you're measuring the retention.

It is clearly defined in subscription-based apps, where churn is the % of the users who unsubscribes in a month, and retention is 100%-churn.

For one-time sale applications the retention is harder to measure unless the app phones home with some stats. May be it is enough to measure the upgrade percentage. How do YOU measure it?

Re: actionable steps. In the recently freely published videos from MicroConf 2012 Rob was talking about reducing churn by calculating a so-called CHI-factor (Customer Happiness Index). Customers having small CHI should be contacted and pampered to keep them in for longer. The way CHI is calculated is business-specific, but in general people who would unsubscribe share some usage patterns (or non-usage ones, like "didn't login for two weeks"). By figuring out what are CHI factors for your application and working with those unhappy customers, you may reduce the churn.

The talk URL (the CHI part is somewhere in the end):
Vladimir Dyuzhev Send private email
Sunday, March 03, 2013

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