In our previous blog, we talked about ways to increase engagement on your Customer Experience Platform (CXP) or customer account environment. Below, we want to go one step further and talk about how you can make sure people continue using your platform.
CXPs are interactive, digital platforms that help your customers answer their own service questions and use your product or service to its fullest potential. If users start to feel like your platform is no longer relevant to them, eventually they will stop using it. This final part of our blog series on optimizing your Customer Experience Platforms with data shows how to reduce churn and boost retention on your platform. New here? Make sure to read blog 1 in which we focus on acquisition and blog 2 about engagement.
How to define retention for your platform
First, it’s important to remember that the terms “retention” and “churn” mean something different for each platform. How long does a user need to stay away before you consider them a drop-out? This varies from one platform —and sometimes from one user segment— to the next.
The metric you choose to measure engagement is a good indicator: if you're working with Daily Active Users (DAU), then you might consider it a drop-out when a user doesn’t return to the platform for a few weeks If you work with Monthly Active Users (MAU), then the limit will be several months.
External factors are also influential. For example, a hotel app is mainly used just before and during a hotel stay. So, you’re dealing with a narrower definition of retention in that case. In any case, what matters is that your platform remains relevant in the minds of your users.
Funda, even if you're not looking for a house
To improve retention, you can learn a lot from tactics used by other digital platforms, such as marketplaces and media apps. Adding new features and options, for example, increases engagement from active users. It also helps you stay (or become) relevant to users who are on the verge of dropping out.
A prime example is Funda, the popular Dutch real estate search website. Its original purpose was to help people buy or sell their homes—purely a marketplace. And a very successful one. But successful among a limited target group, because not everyone is trying to buy or sell a home.
Funda decided to boost retention by trying to keep buyers and sellers on the platform as long as possible (for example, by providing them a channel to communicate with real estate agents). But that had its limitations too, of course.
Now, Funda has discovered an entirely new, much more loyal target group. Now, people can use Funda for "taking a tour" and "dreaming." In other words, Funda enables people to view properties that are for rent or sale, even if they are not in the market for a new home. The platform encourages this by:
- constantly adding new search methods (“view homes in your neighborhood”)
- encouraging users to post and view photos
- constantly improving the mobile experience
You can apply this to your customer experience platform by thinking about what service options you want to add to take even more traffic away from customer service and redirect it to your CXP. Your service department's data can steer you in the right direction.
Another technique we often use is to combine customer service with e-commerce. This helps boost retention while also generating new sales.
Experiment, learn and iterate
Which features should you add to keep people from abandoning your platform? There’s no standard answer to that question. Your data can point you in the right direction, as long as everyone in your organization is on the same page when it comes to the metric you’re targeting.
It is essential to choose a “North Star metric” like that, because it shows exactly which features are working and which are not. One common North Star metric for CXPs is the percentage of customers using the mobile app. We know from experience that app users are less likely to call customer support. So, app usage is a financial benefit to your company.
But you only gather data by testing new ideas. So, pick your North Star, experiment, learn from your data and keep iterating. To help our clients with this, we set up processes for it. Sometimes this means kick-starting data-driven working and thinking first. After that, we work on creating a learning organization that makes the platform better and more engaging every day.
Keep the conversation going
Metrics are only the first step. New marketing channels, features and target groups all require testing before you know how they affect your KPIs. This can pose a lot of challenges in terms of organization and technology.
I'd love to hear about any challenges you’ve come across. Send me an email to keep the conversation going.