[Metrics] It's so hard to say goodbye

February 12, 2013 Graham Siener

When you release early and often, you’re bound to churn through new customers. I showed you in my last post how to measure the funnel of trial to activation to engagement, but what should you do with all the people that didn’t make it? Today I’ll share a technique that’s a nice complement to a more traditional exit interview — I call it the Abandonment Email.

The idea behind this email is to give churned customers a quick way to summarize why they’re no longer using your product. After you haven’t seen them for some period of time (a week? two weeks?), you send them an email that looks something like this:

We haven’t seen you at Wibbles in a while, and we figured you’ve moved on. Before you go, do you have a minute to tell us what went wrong?

It didn’t work
It was confusing…
I don’t need it
Something else

Chances are some of these customers won’t even remember why they signed up for Wibbles, but most will. You might even get direct responses asking for help. For those that have a spare 30 seconds, clicking on a link will take them to a “Thanks” landing page (bonus points for a discount or re-engagement tactic). You can build a funnel in KISSmetrics to measure how effective these emails are, and you’ll get something that looks like this:

Plan Abandonment funnel

Here’s where it gets interesting: if you use KISSmetrics’ URL API, you can record all of their answers in the same system that tracked their behavior in your app:


Now you can revisit some of the core flows in your app, but filter to the lens of “confusing.” Did those customers all get stuck in the same place? Was there a key step in the process they missed? Perhaps they all used a certain browser like IE that didn’t render a key call to action button.

For this particular example, I did some homework and realized most people that called the app confusing came from a direct link and never saw our intro/landing page. D’oh! I offered them another free month and a live screen sharing session to show them how things worked. The response was positive, and we salvaged a bunch of customers that would have never converted without this abandonment email.

Perhaps this example makes more sense in the context of a free trial or SaaS app, but hopefully I’ve planted the seed for what you can build as re-engagement and learning tools. Do you have a tried and true email you use to capture churned users?

About the Author


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