Churn vs Retention: “meh” vs “I love it”

My theory is that one will lead to a product that your customers don’t hate while the other to a product your customers love. Now, before I go any further I will tell you again this is just my own idea and unfortunately I don’t have hard numbers to back it up, BUT I think I’m on to something. Here’s why…

Most people would say that churn and retention are two faces of the same coin, so why the different outcomes? Well, for me the answer lies in understanding a basic idea promoted by NLP (neuro-linguistic programming): the words we use in our communication have an inherent and unconscious impact on the outcome of our conversation.

For example if I tell you: “Don’t think of a black cat“.

What’s the first picture that comes to mind? A black cat. That is because the command “think of a black cat” is in that short sentence. Of course, before you have a chance to not think of a black cat, your unconscious brain has already put a picture of a black cat up and stuck a DON’T label on it saying “this is the thing to not think about.”

This same principle helps you achieve certain goals, from buying milk to building better products. NLP specialists say that you’ll have more chances to remember the milk if you phrase it: “remember to buy milk“ instead of “don’t forget to buy milk“.

To a certain extent, I do believe that, and I do believe that words and phrases have an inherent effect attached. We might not notice because it usually happens unconsciously. Thus, IMHO it’s better to focus on what you want to achieve instead of what you want to stop/move away.

Long detour, but this is why I think churn and retention will have different outcomes.

Churn vs Retention

Inherently, stopping churn implies that you have to stop people from quitting using your product/service. In other words stop people hating your product so much that they wan to quit. Once you’ve done that you are fine.

On the other hand, increasing retention implies that you want people to use your product for as long as possible, thus you want to maximize the value they get. In other words you make people love your products, which by the way is a much better goal to have ;).

So… any thoughts on my theory? Please let me know in the comment section.

Photo by Linda Tanner, used under CC

Leave a Reply