Hierarchy of Engagement

I recently came across a presentation from Sarah Tavel at Greylock Partners titled The Hierarchy of Engagement. It’s a talk she gave at the Habit Summit. The purpose of the hierarchy is simple:

As companies move up the hierarchy, their products become better, harder to leave, and ultimately create virtuous loops that make the product self-perpetuating.

A photo of the hierarchy of engagement

She provides a great breakdown of each step. I found it very interesting to read and then think about the products we’re building at Automattic.

In particular, I’m thinking more and more about step 2—retaining users. Sarah lays out two elements key to getting users to stick around:

  1. Accruing benefits – The more you use the product, the better it gets.
  2. Mounting Loss – The more you stay with a product, the more you have to lose by leaving.

She uses Evernote and Pinterest as examples of both accruing benefits and mounting loss. Another I would throw in that mix is Spotify. The personalize Spotify with things like custom playlists, the harder it is to switch to another service like Apple Music. I have to believe that “Creating a playlist” is in Spotify’s “Day Zero” strategy.

Day Zero: A new way to define customer success

Day Zero is the minimum set of tasks a user must complete before they realize the full value of your product. Customers that don’t reach Day Zero are more likely to churn because it is harder for them to see success.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about churn recently and how it relates to customer support. This article on the Intercom blog broke down a pretty interesting concept—Day Zero.

The underlying idea is to identify a handful of actions that are crucial to a customer’s success on your product or platform. Once customers complete these actions, they’re much less likely to churn. Once you’ve identified these crucial actions, your goal is to get each new customer to complete them as quickly as possible after signup.

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Photo credit: Intercom

For anyone interested in building products and minimizing churn, I’d highly suggest giving this article a read!