Improve customer health and retention

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More and more, product and customer success teams have found innovative ways to leverage their products to facilitate important customer milestones. Onboarding new customers, providing renewal opportunities, and highlighting new functionality can now occur seamlessly within the application.

While this foundation is crucial, a key component of ensuring the success of a subscription business model is to first understand what makes a healthy customer healthy, and conversely, what puts a customer at risk. Developing a strategy around these insights can continuously drive users to value.

Tip: For more in-depth guidelines on how to use Pendo as a customer success professional, see our Pendo for customer success article and Pendo for Customer Success Academy course.

Incorporate usage metrics into your customer health scoring

A critical piece of this strategy is using data to inform customer health scoring. Consider measuring breadth, depth, and frequency of usage to make up your customer health score.

Indicators Definition Measurement
Breadth Number of users using the product for a given customer Number of active visitors for a given account within the last 30 days
Depth Whether the customer is using key features that make them "sticky" Usage of five to eight key features that have been validated as leading retention indicators
Frequency How often customers access the application Number of logins across all visitors for a given account within the last 30 days

Use historical data and customer outcomes to set goals around each of these metrics to define a customer as healthy or at risk. These goals will be unique to every business based on how they’ve seen usage patterns lead to more positive customer outcomes. However, the breadth, depth, and frequency framework provides a holistic way to structure these goals.

To put this into practice:

  1. Navigate to People > Accounts in Pendo.
  2. Open the Account Reports tab, then select + Create Report.
  3. Add a name, update the visibility and filters, then add the following columns: Visitors (for breadth), Usage Trending (for depth), and Days Active (for frequency).
  4. Experiment with different segmentation. For example, segment by your “happiest” customers (customers known to have renewed multiple times, be advocates, or simply exhibit usage on the higher end of your breadth, depth, and frequency calculations). Then, assess the results and determine if you’ve made a good first pass at your health score benchmarks.


Tip: Download the reports as a CSV to manipulate columns, sort, and filter in a way that enables you to discover a baseline of data that could represent average usage trends.

Create custom account reports

As a customer success manager (CSM), creating detailed account reports helps you track the customer data that matters most, enabling you to take proactive steps to improve customer health and retention. Follow these steps to create and use effective customer reports:

  1. Navigate to People > Accounts in Pendo.
  2. Open the Account Reports tab, then select + Create Report.
  3. Add a name, update the visibility and filters, assigning a segment that reflects your book of business.
  4. Add the columns that make sense for your goal. Here are some data points to consider: Usage Trending, Days Active, engagement with high-value events, poll responses from NPS and other surveys, and any additional data from outside integrations like Salesforce, such as renewal date or ARR.
  5. Optionally, if you prefer to analyze the data outside of Pendo, you can export the report by selecting CSV at the top of the report. This allows you to digest the data in systems like Salesforce or any other analytics tools you use.


Tip: The Usage Trending column is particularly useful for a quick assessment of the overall health of your customers. It provides a comparison of total active time in your app for the selected date range to the previous period of equal length, helping you identify any significant changes in customer engagement.

By creating and regularly reviewing these customer reports, you can gain valuable insights into customer behavior, identify at-risk accounts, and develop targeted strategies to improve customer health and drive retention.

Measure product health with the stickiness ratio

For products using subscription business models, understanding and measuring stickiness is crucial. Stickiness assesses the frequency of user engagement, typically measured as daily active users (DAU), weekly active users (WAU), monthly active users (MAU), daily active accounts (DAA), weekly active accounts (WAA), or monthly active accounts (MAA). While DAU or MAU provide insights into user base volume, they don't inherently gauge user quality.

Instead of viewing these metrics independently, the stickiness ratio, often calculated as DAU/MAU or DAA/MAA, offers a more insightful measurement. For instance, stating a "20% increase in MAU" is valuable, but ensuring users engage frequently throughout the month is vital for sustained growth.

The stickiness ratio visualizes your product’s natural usage pattern, enabling you to analyze usage differences among user segments or account types over time. Identifying sticky personas and correlating features helps tailor user acquisition, feature adoption, and educational strategies effectively. Consider regularly monitoring changes and integrating stickiness into your KPI reviews.

  1. Navigate to a dashboard, then select + Add Widget in the top-right corner of the page.
  2. Select Stickiness Metric from the list of available widgets.
  3. Select your preferences for the widget, then select Save to add the widget to your dashboard.


Tip: To gauge your ideal stickiness level, add your “healthy” customer segment to this widget, then compare it with the average stickiness for all accounts over time for continuous improvement tracking.

For more detailed guidelines on the stickiness calculation and configuring the widget, see Measure stickiness.

Optimize retention

Retention analytics is crucial for assessing the growth and engagement of SaaS and digital products, allowing you to measure how well your product retains users and accounts over time. Understanding these metrics provides insights into behavior patterns and the effectiveness of retention strategies.

Our retention report is helpful for both understanding the rate of return and also evaluating whether action needs to be done to reactivate visitors and accounts who aren't coming back to your product.

  1. Navigate to Behavior > Retention.
  2. Select Activity source, keep Any activity selected, then choose the relevant app or group of apps from the list.
  3. Configure the rest of the query to your preferences, then select Run.
  4. Identify where retention starts to drop, then select that cell to view the list of visitors or accounts who weren't retained.


  5. Select Export CSV to download the list and plan your next move. For example, consider sending an email to these visitors or displaying an in-app guide if login frequency is more than 15 out of the last 30 days.

For more detailed instructions on creating and interpreting retention reports, see Retention report FAQs and Retention.

Be proactive using guides

Once you've identified a customer health score, take proactive steps to engage with your at-risk customers using Pendo guides:

  1. If you haven't already, navigate to People > Segments to create a segment to define your at-risk customers. For example: Number of Days Active = less or equal to 2 within last 30 days AND Time on site = less or equal to 10 (minutes) within last 30 days.


  2. Build a guide to proactively engage with users in this segment. Your guide could offer additional help through a poll or include a link to an appointment calendar.


Tip: If you include a poll, you can push the poll results to Salesforce and coordinate with a Salesforce admin to set up triggers, or leverage our Zapier integration to automatically push poll responses to a Slack channel for real-time viewing and response. 

Provide contextual in-app assistance

Use the Resource Center to offer comprehensive in-app guidance, ensuring users have immediate access to information, reducing frustration and support calls.

The Resource Center is an invaluable tool for delivering contextual in-app guidance at scale. This assistance can include an onboarding checklist, step-by-step walkthroughs, announcements, knowledge base articles, live chat, and custom modules tailored to specific user needs.

To set up your Resource Center, you must have admin permissions. Consider the following points, then follow the instructions in the Overview of the Resource Center:

  • Segmentation. Determine which user segments should see specific modules within the Resource Center. Apply segmentation rules at both the guide and module levels to ensure relevance. For instance, you might segment the onboarding checklist for new users in their first 30 days or tailor guides for different user personas.
  • Integrations. If you want to integrate external tools like a knowledge base or live chat into your Resource Center, an admin can go to Settings > Integrations to add an integration to your subscription. After you add the integration, you can add it as a module within the Resource Center.

Assess and iterate

Regularly update your health score. Initially based on assumptions, your health scoring system will evolve as you gather more data and insights.

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