What happens when we invest $100,000 to fix our churn
We doubled down on the production value of the interviews.
We improved the onboarding experience. From their very first day, we made sure each new member felt personally welcomed into the community.
I even personally dropped in to as many meetups as I could.
Feeling hopeful, I revisited the numbers a few months later.
I opened the analysis, holding my breath…
These changes made zero impact on our churn.
This was really frustrating. We were listening to customer feedback, iterating, using "best practices," and closely tracking our churn. Yet the number wouldn't budge. None of it made sense to me.
No matter how we sliced the data, we couldn't figure it out…
…until I got an email from one of our oldest RBT students. She'd been with the program since the beginning, she just canceled, and gave me some honest feedback:
"I just canceled my RBT subscription and wanted to add a thought for your team… I suspect I'm not the only advanced member of RBT to eventually leave because RBT felt small. I say this because I've seen many other people who joined RBT in the beginning (and are now doing big things) have since left."
Wow. This was devastating to hear. Imagine you'd created a program that was a surprising success. You doubled down, grew it…but then you started to notice cracks in armor.
Suddenly, nothing you tried worked. Your best customers eventually left because they outgrew the program. The new customers came in for a while, stuck around a bit, and eventually left, too. Meanwhile, your customers gave you increasingly aggressive feedback because they truly loved the program — but you couldn't make it work.
In one email, I learned what thousands of data points couldn't tell me: The oldest, most advanced members of RBT had outgrown the program. It wasn't valuable to them anymore, so they left. It was the 2017 version of Eternal September.
Our very best customers didn't care if the interviews looked prettier or if onboarding was any better. (In fact, we found that the biggest value of our program was not the interviews — which cost us tens of thousands of dollars — but the community!)
They needed another level of community and guidance — in fact, they'd been telling us for months! — but we didn't react in time.
I can understand how frustrating this could be. For example, if you're new to a city, everything is exciting. Where should I go out tonight? What about that new bar? Have you tried the new dim sum restaurant?
But after a while, you just want to hang out with your friends. And the difference between the older customers and newer customers continued to grow.
We tried a variety of things to keep challenging them, but I also deeply understand that as the business grew, it became tougher and tougher to serve all the different people in the program. We had a mixed bag of beginners and advanced students, all of whom wanted something different — for $49/month.
Meanwhile, as we worked on the rest of the business, we quickly realized we were MASSIVELY growing in every area… except for RBT.
Imagine: one area of your business generates $100 in revenue, while over here, you're making $10,000 in another area. Where would you invest your time and money?
In fact, what if that $100 program was also costing you $98 to run?
Here's one snapshot of an analysis we ran: