1% Churn – Lessons from StatusPage (now part of Atlassian)

1% Churn Lessons from StatusPage

Read full case study on baremetrics

Here is an old post from 2015 worth revisiting to see how one company absolutely dominated the low churn metric and was ultimate acquired by Atlassian two years later.

StatusPage is a hosted status page for companies who need to report services uptime. Despite it being a naturally low churn product (why would you cancel a reporting page that your customers grow to appreciate?), I felt that there were a lot of great points and takeaways that can be applied even as we speak in 2019.

To make this most relevant and up to date for you, I went through the new signup flow and commented on what it does well and what you might be able to glean for your own SaaS.

Recap

Here is how StatusPage enjoyed a churn rate 1000% lower than the average SaaS. As you can see, there are no silver bullets (actually, just a bunch of them!):

  • Made something people want that continuously delivers value
  • Refined onboarding process relentlessly (a theme all great SaaS theme to take to heart, never stopping at one onboarding flow)
    • Usability testing
    • A set-up wizard
    • Knowledge base
    • Better empty states
    • 24/7 live chat (or close to it)
    • User segmentation
    • Design for the novice, configure for the pro
  • Focused on making the product great
    • Spoke often to customers to mostly listen to what they have to say about the product
  • Made everyone do customer support
  • Avoided feature creep
  • Tried to make customers like them:
    • Thanked them for being a customer
    • Proactively live chatted with them
    • Spoke to customers on Twitter
    • Rewarded super fans
    • Blogged about their experience of building the company
    • Open sourced code
    • Spoke at conferences
    • Created free mini-sites to help customers accomplish a task
    • Tried to stay humble
  • Chose a sticky product (hard to quit once you get going – who wants to cancel a status page?)
  • Integrated with other products (more value, more sticky). If customers cancel, they have to consider the total network value decreasing as this product interacts with others.
  • Focused on customer’s customers. In case of Statuspage, if the service was taken away from customer’s customers they might be upset given the convenience it provided.

Old Signup Flow

I was only able to capture a few screenshots from Archives as the rest of the process involves logging in, but here is a preview of what their old sign up process looked like:

StatusPage.io Home Page from 2015
Homepage as seen in August of 2015, at the time of the baremetrics post. The hero spot does a good job of rotating existing clients as social proof (the word Citrix interchanges with other brands in real time)
StatusPage.io Signup form from 2015
This page has barely changed to date. The form is minimal and does a great job of not requiring a password confirmation (a common mistake). Notice how it’s free to set up (no commitment today as the user can launch whenever), which means the entire flow has been reversed – user sets up the page first, then chooses to pay for it.

New Onboarding Flow

Here is the new flow as of May, 2019:

Statuspage Home Page illustrating product and communicating value to their customer's customers.
What’s changed? For one, the headline is now focusing on user’s users (building trust). Name dropping – Dropbox, Intercom, okay.. you got me. Call to action shifted to “Try it free” – who doesn’t like not having to make any commitments? More social proof AND product showcase in one. Two birds with one stone (please don’t stone birds πŸ₯)
Statuspage Signup Page 2019 Screenshot
This form practically did not change. Their A/B testing must show that this is outperforming other variants.
Statuspage onboarding flow step 1, illustrating product and providing social proof all at once. Image of dropbox status page.
Step 1: ensures user they will be up and running in a few minutes – good to know! The graphical element on the right rotates between other company page examples (more trust building and product showcasing)
Statuspage api step onboarding flow. Shows a testimonial and allows users to add a component.
Step 2: Guided process. The step by step progression has been proven to psychologically position people to want to more further to completion. If you are not using progression in your onboarding and showing people that they are making progress to the end goal, you’re probably missing out! More social proof in a form of a testimonial – this one speaks specifically to components (an added bonus).
Statuspage onboarding progression logo step.
Step 3: Moving me along the signup the page actually detected my gravatar image. I updated to the image you see below. Takeaway: If you can pre-populate parts of the process for your users, that’ll make their task to completion easier. More social proof.
Statuspage onboarding progression basic information step that can be skipped if desired.
Step 4: Basic Info – I totally skipped this page and I’m sure it was designed so on purpose. Since this service in particular requires some basic information, it’s a good idea to allow people to skip forms.
Statuspage onboarding invite a team member step.
Step 5: Invite a team member – normally you’d probably want to avoid adding complexity to your flow, but since this service likely requires participation of a developer, it makes sense to add it into the flow. There are however exceptions where encouraging people to invite others as part of the flow is a really GENIUS idea. Canva does a great job of this and a few other apps I’ll try to dig up later.
Statuspage onboarding core feature highlight - incidents.
Step 6: Not an actual step, just an explainer as this is one of the core features of the product. Social proof follows.
Statuspage dashboard featuring guided tooltips and completeness bar, currently showing 17% full.
With onboarding flow complete, we still don’t see a single mention of a paid plan or upgrade to premium! Quite the contrast with an earlier post I wrote about Dollar Flight Club. I think the key difference and deciding factor for doing it this way is the fact that this is a business-facing application. There is no point of pitching the pain points of why a company needs a status page – they already know why and came here seeking a solution.

Check out the tooltip guidance with high contrast to guide the user around the app. Lastly, the progress bar for “Status page completeness” is an excellent way to get the user invested in the product (get so far into it that it would be stupid not to sign up and pay for it). Once the user fills out their page and sees a preview, it will look so damn good that signing up will be a no-brainer.
Statuspage pricing table with 4 tiers, hobby, startup, business, enterprise. The tiers are recommended based on the features you enable in the app.
This page is only visible in the dashboard once you go to “activate my page”. It’s really clever to have people put all that energy into setting up the page and to ask for the CC last. There is a psychological principle at play called Need to Complete, which states that people have a burning desire to finish what they started – hence the progression and presenting payment last.

Notice how the intro text recommends a plan based on the features I set up in the flow. This is a GENIUS way to approach recommended price tiers because it’s much harder for someone to downgrade a highly valuable feature when they’ve already set it up. How can you apply this to your SaaS?
Statuspage Strip payment modal featuring 3 fields - credit card number, month and year, CVC (security) number.
While not aesthetically pleasing or very trusty-looking, the stripe form likely does a sufficient job of keeping people on this page without leaving the flow. It’s a convenient way to pay for the service.
Statuspage welcome email showing how the product works.
Here is the welcome email I got after signing up. It’s a product explainer video. Both buttons lead to a support page that has an overview of the entire product. My guess is that I will get a string of follow-up product emails, anywhere 3-5 that will gradually offer more guidance and assistance. I’ll update this post if that’s the case as they arrive (maybe a week or two later).

What are you doing to increase your conversions and reduce churn?

How does your B2B SaaS flow and positioning compare to Statuspage? Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Are we continuously delivering value to our customers, thus giving them less reasons to churn?
  2. Are we constantly refining the onboarding process to see what works and what doesn’t?
  3. Are we listening to our customers and using their feedback to improve our product?
  4. Does our team understand the challenges our customers face or do we silo our departments? (Your sales, customer support and marketing teams should all be communicating constantly and seeing first hand what customers are saying).
  5. Are we going out of our way to help our customers succeed?
  6. Are we making our product indispensable by anchoring it to existing great products through integrations?
  7. Our we focusing on helping our customer’s customers? (make our customers shine to their users).

And in regards to onboarding:

  1. Does our landing page or starting point illustrate the value provided to our customers or their customers, instead of focusing on features?
  2. Is our flow tapping into the psychological principle of need to complete?
  3. Do our forms ask for too much information thus hindering conversions?
  4. Does the flow illustrate product benefits with social proof?
  5. Are we dropping users into the dashboard without further guidance or using tools like Appcues to demo the dashboard and encourage completion through completeness progression?
  6. Do our forms reset on errors?
  7. Are we enabling product discovery and education through a welcome email series?
  8. Are the payment forms simple and easy to complete?

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