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Strike While the Iron is Hot

This week's Newsletter:


How Quickly Do Customers *REALLY* Need To Get Started? (What the data revealed surprised us all 👀 →)

We've always known that getting customers started quickly is important to their long-term success. But few realize HOW QUICKLY we have to move!

🔬 We recently conducted a churn analysis using data from a SaaS/B2B company tracking daily customer utilization for several years.

This unique data set allowed us to ask a fascinating question:

❓ How soon can you tell a customer will succeed or fail? ❓

The answer is astonishing...

📈 The data show that customers who did not achieve a minimum usage threshold within the FIRST 10 DAYS had 4x higher churn in the first year than their faster peers!

⦿ Customers who started within 10 Days: 4% churn @ 12 months.

⦿ Customers who started after 10 Days: 40% churn @ 12 months.

📉 After 4 years, 87% of the customers who started within 10 days remained vs. only 6% of the slower starters!

Interestingly, increasing the time threshold from 10 days to 30, 60, and 90 days, did not improve the results to any meaningful degree (less than 1%)!

What it all means is:

👉 Getting customers started quickly is not important → it's CRITICAL! 👈


1️⃣ Success depends on customer MOTIVATION to make key changes in how they work. Their energy for these changes naturally wanes as time passes.

2️⃣ Like anyone else, customers tend to get DISTRACTED by other tasks and problems. This is particularly a problem for leaders whose continued involvement is often essential for success.

3️⃣ If the implementation process is complicated, the element of DISCOURAGEMENT often comes along with inevitable bumps along the road.


✅ SCHEDULE the kickoff call *before* the customer closes. It often takes too much time to wrangle customers together. Cut this time down by setting it up during the sales process.

💡PRO TIP: Build a process to gather all the essential information you need from the customer before the kickoff call.

✅ STANDARDIZE or "templatize" your implementation so that customers have *fewer* steps to start. Choose their typical starting settings, and configure the features they will likely use. All of these choices and configurations can be explained later after the customer has momentum.

💡PRO TIP: If there are several distinct use cases, build starting templates for each and ensure the use case is captured clearly during the sales process.

✅ Eliminate time spent upfront on product TRAINING. Most new customers do not need to know the detailed ins and outs of every aspect of your product right at the start. Video/codify your product training and make it easily available so that customers can access it and guide themselves as needed.

💡PRO TIP: Focus on helping customers make the fundamental BEHAVIOR changes they need to achieve first results.


Upcoming Interview: Data-led retention: Why happy customers don't stay - and what to do about it

October 4th, 2023 @ 11:30am ET

Hosted by Debra Wilson @ Brainstorm. We will be discussing how customer results data can help Customer Success teams ruthlessly prioritize their client efforts.


Churn Cheats #11: "90%+ Accurate" Churn Predictions

People like to brag about their ability to accurately predict customer churn. But these predictions are almost always useless because they predict churn much too late to save customers!

Accurately predicting which customers will churn is essential to building a process for helping customers succeed at scale because...

👉 You can't prevent churn if you can't predict it. 👈

However, preventing churn takes time because customers invariably need to make behavior changes to get back on track to achieving results.

And it's virtually impossible to get customers to put in the necessary effort to make changes after they've become frustrated and discouraged.


📈 Our research shows that ...

⦿ Only a small fraction of "rescue" attempts lead to a renewal.

⦿ The majority of "rescued" customers will churn soon afterward.

🚨The only way to prevent churn is to intervene BEFORE customers know they are failing!


The problem with most customer health scores or churn risk metrics is that they rely on LAGGING indicators of customer failure. In other words, these signals arrive only AFTER the customer has already failed.

For example, we know that when customers stop using your product, or when they stop responding to you, they are highly likely to churn. These are accurate predictors of churn, but they unfortunately arrive too late.

That's why the ability to predict churn 90 days out is a cheat: it cannot be used to prevent churn at scale systematically.


✅ The key is identifying and tracking the LEADING indicators of success and churn:

1️⃣ Instead of focusing on the 'accuracy' of your churn predictor, focus on surfacing the EARLIEST signs of ultimate customer failure. Our research shows that most customers show signs of failure within days of starting. (see the data here:

2️⃣ The best early indicators of customer success and failure are customer BEHAVIORS. Study your most successful customers to identify the consistent behaviors that were essential to their results.

3️⃣ Systematically TRACK a few of the earliest key behaviors, and when they achieve their first measurable results. Our data show that customers who achieve any measurable result, even if small, stay much longer than those who don't.

4️⃣ Immediately identify all customers who fail to make any essential behavior change and react QUICKLY to help them get back on track.


Upcoming Appearance: CS100 Summit - Sundance, Utah

Sept 25-27, 2023

This is my favorite event of the year and I never miss it. Come join us and be inspired!

There are just a few tickets left for this exclusive event. Use code: "CS100Daines" to save $500 off your ticket price. Buy your ticket today:

Full agenda, speakers and topics are live now:

See you at Sundance!



Companies that focus on retention tend to have poor retention. Companies that focus on expansion get retention for free.

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