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Month: June 2008

Customer Retention: 25 reasons customer stop using your product

Customer Retention: 25 reasons customer stop using your product

I came across a great post on Andrew Chen’s blog today that lists 25 reasons why customers stop using your product. The list originally came from the gaming community and Andrew has converted it to the online social media markets, but the points he outlines can apply to many other industries. Here are his reasons behing customer churn:

  • First experience
    • “I don’t get what this site is about”
    • “This site is not for people like me”
    • “The colors/design/icons look weird”
    • “I already use X for that”
    • “I don’t want to register”
  • Soloing and single user value
    • “I don’t have time to get involved in a site like this”
    • “I’m lonely, not enough happens”
    • “I forgot my password”
    • “I don’t know how to talk or meet people”
    • “I’ll just check on this account every couple months in case something happens”
  • Encountering some friends(?)
    • “People on this site are mean”
    • “People I don’t know keep messaging me, WTF?”
    • “I want my friends to use this, but none of them are sticking”
    • “I’m getting too much mail from this site”
    • “I only have 3 friends, this site is still boring”
  • Hitting critical mass for social
    • “This site takes up too much of my time”
    • “Too many people are friending me that I only sorta know”
    • “People are stalking me based on my pics and events!”
    • “This Top Friends thing causes too much drama”
    • “I’m getting flooded by e-mails for everything that anybody does”
  • Becoming a site elder
    • “The guys who run this site aren’t building feature X that we really need!”
    • “The guys who run this site build feature Y that’s going to destroy this site!”
    • “I’m doing a lot of work but I’m not getting anything for it”
    • “I’m bored because there’s nothing left to do”
    • “Newbies are fun to pick on :)” (wait, maybe that’s a benefit!)

Make sure you read the complete post, and the article that inspired it.

Because FUD is cheap

Because FUD is cheap

I was travelling through Luton yesterday and I couldn’t help noticing how both the airport and airlines use FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) to help them reduce costs and streamline their operations. Here are some examples I noticed:

  • Regular announcements that if you try to pass security with more than 1 item of hand luggage, you may be sent back to checkin
  • RyanAir claiming that if you go to the gate with more than your allotted allowance/over your weight limit/oversize cabin bag, you will be denied boarding and your ticket cancelled without refund
  • RyanAir using a “free seating” mechanism (no allocated seats)

All this has the effect of architecting a control path allowing passengers to be herded more effectively, though it’s interesting to see that there are few mechanisms where, for example, the bag restrictions are controlled. The staff at the RyanAir gate weren’t RyanAir staff and were not checking people’s bags, but the FUD element meant that most passengers stuck to the rules. The “free seating” mechanism meant that everyone got to the gate early for fear of not finding a good seat.

While I’m perfectly happy with incentivising customers to achieve required behaviours, I’m not sure I’m so keen on FUD being used to achieve lower costs. How do you feel? Have you come across companies using the FUD factor on you recently?

The Web Giveth .. The Web Taketh Away

The Web Giveth .. The Web Taketh Away

A website can be a great shopfront for your organisation and every day, new companies join the foray of offering online goods for clamouring online customers. But an online store front needs to be robust, it needs to be designed to run 24×7 .. and it sets new expectations for your organisation to aspire to.

The last few hours have been pretty eventful for the web delivery team down at Sainsbury’s for example. The online store “died” yesterday, and any orders that were booked for today will not be arriving. Instead, customers are being presented with a picture of some lemons and an apology; customers who are missing their deliveries have been contacted and promised a £10 voucher for the trouble.

There are rumours that the problem was caused by a fire in a nearby building, but there’s been no official confirmation of that. The bottom line is that someone screwed up. Whether it was because there were no DR facilities planned that could come into effect, or no backups of the data for orders to be re-instated, the truth of the matter is that Sainsbury’s has been left with a number of disappointed customers who will certainly rethink their positions before placing their trust in the company’s website once again.

I think the damage control probably wasn’t handled too badly. offering customers compensation is a smart move that can help contain the story and reduce the impact of the damage; but I’d be curious to find out what sort of risk profiling had been carried out on their online facility, how much lost revenue this downtime translates into and the overall impact on their customer retention figures. One thing I can say, I’m glad I’m not the person responsible for the outage!

Keep a finger on the pulse of your company with Glassdoor

Keep a finger on the pulse of your company with Glassdoor

An interesting post on TechCrunch caught my eye this morning which talks about a new website that just went live called GlassDoor. It allows employees to post anonymous salary information and reviews about working for their employers and collates them by company and position. The main aim is let people share their feedback, compare their market worth and get an insider’s view of a company where may intend to move to.

There’s already some interesting debate about the company, but I think it’s a great way for people driving an organisation to keep an eye on morale, get feedback from employees and discover potential issues before they escalate to a bigger problem. Soliciting feedback from employees is healthy, but people tend to be guarded when talking to their line managers, especially as this is the proverbial “hand that feeds them”, and sometime reluctant to discuss issues that they consider trivial. But trivial issues fester and gather momentum and it’s better for the overall health of the company to uncover them and deal with them straight away.

Intestingly, Glassdoor works on a “give-to-get” model where anyone can get free access to the information on the site as long as they contribute their profile. The site is planning to fund itself by targeting adverts at job seekers, premium services, and selling aggregated compensation data to any interested third parties. One challenge they are going to have is ensuring their reviews are real, but they claim to have a mechanism to deal with this already in place to maintain the quality of the posts. The founders of the company has a pretty impressive pedigree and I wish them the best of luck. It’s a good idea companies and employees alike can benefit from this disclosure of information. 

Misleading headlines: Lies, darned lies, and misrepresented statistics

Misleading headlines: Lies, darned lies, and misrepresented statistics

One thing that REALLY gets under my skin is when people manipulate statistics to try and create sensational news. I came across this news article this morning:

Malta’s food prices second highest in eurozone
By MaltaMedia News Jun 3, 2008 – 10:44:20 AM

Food prices in Malta rose by 9.7% in April 2008, more than twice the inflation rate which during the same month stood at 4.1% in 2007, according to Eurostat.

Malta, therefore, has the second highest rise in food prices in the eurozone with Slovenia’s prices rising by 12.4%. The overall rise in food prices in the eurozone stood at 6.2%.

Oils and fats alone in Malta went up by 15.8% in just a year’s time whilst in other eurozone countries they only went up by 8.3% on average.

Another contrasting anomaly in Malta’s price portfolio is that the prices of vegetables, which in other countries fell, went up by 13.8% registering the highest increase in comparison to all other countries.

Do you see my problem with the article? The headline states that Malta has one of the highest food prices in Europe, yet the statistics quoted talk about the second highest RISE in prices. And I don’t think there was an editorial error here, it’s just that the headline is more sensational like this. In reality, such an abrupt rise in prices probably belies the fact that prices are really quite low in comparison to it’s European neighbours and have had to climb steeply to try and catch up.

Statistics also need to be put in context. A 10% rise in a month sounds like a lot. But I would hazard a guess that this is a pro-rated per annum growth rate (making it under 1%) based on the fact that it is quoted as being twice inflation. Also, how does this compare to preceeding months? Was this figure similar the previous month, or maybe it was unusually low?

Is it just me? Or do misrepresented statistics drive you crazy too?

Peter Jones: Turn your Dreams into Millions

Peter Jones: Turn your Dreams into Millions

Was leafing through this month’s issue of Reader’s Digest and came across an interesting article by Peter Jones, a millionaire “serial entrepreneur” who takes part in the TV show Dragon’s Den. Anyway, the article lists some advice that Jones has to anyone interested in following their dreams and making their millions. Here’s his advice:

  • Use your influence: Focus on things you’re good at and the contacts you have amassed
  • Use your confidence: Remove the word failure from your vocabulary; replace is with feedback
  • Make a commitment: Commit to deliver what you promised and never blame others for any misfortune.
  • Get your timing right: There’s a good time to start a business, and a bad time. Learn to recognise the difference
  • Take action: Figure out how to get from where you are to where you want to be. Plot the tasks ahead then put the plan into action
  • Aim for results: Set yourself goals, commit them to paper the find a way to achieve them
  • Persevere, persevere: Making your dream come true is never as easy as you think it is.
  • Be caring: It is vital to care about the people who with with you, from staff to partners. These are your most important assets.
  • Use your intuition: Trust your gut instinct, it’s usually looking out for you.

It’s all a bit basic really, but you’d be surprised how many people get it wrong.