Crafting Delightfully Sticky Products: A Guide to Customer Retention

Crafting Delightfully Sticky Products: A Guide to Customer Retention
Attracting and Keeping Customers

4 min read
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Crafting Delightfully Sticky Products: A Guide to Customer Retention

The best products in the world solve key jobs for customers. But great solutions alone won’t build loyal users and recurring revenue without thoughtful retention.

Sticky products create experiences so valuable and rewarding that customers can’t imagine life without them. They drive perpetual engagement that keeps users coming back thanks to compelling value.

Read on for examples of super sticky products and companies employing tactics improving retention results. Mix these product stickiness techniques into your customer experience to reduce churn and fuel growth.

Calendly Logo

Case Study: Calendly’s Scheduling Stickiness

Scheduling platform Calendly helps mobile and distributed teams conveniently book meetings and events. Users connect Calendly to calendar systems and availability automatically displays. Customers then choose open slots that sync directly to calendars without conflicts or double-booking.

While handy, Calendly fights commoditization retaining customers through:

  • Ongoing value - Regular usefulness for scheduling drives habitual engagement
  • Workflows - Integration deeply into company meeting practices and SOPs
  • Switching friction - Tedious to transition integrations to alternatives
  • Network effects - Peer usage creates group reliance on platform

Combined, these dynamics deliver immense utility while increasing change resistance - hallmarks of retention.

Leverage Ongoing Value and Usage

Like Calendly, products that provide perpetual utility intrinsically incentivize return usage. Communication platforms, financial modeling tools and task managers all enable frequent quick wins keeping them top of mind.

The more your software delivers daily value solving real problems, the stickier the engagement. Build recurring value-add use cases that sustain delight over time.

Increase Switching Difficulty

Shifting away from products seamlessly integrated into workflows comes with nasty friction - data loss, process interruptions, reconfiguration headaches.

Maximize switching barriers by weaving your solution tightly into customer standard operating practices through deep feature integration, data migration hurdles between platforms and advanced configurations reliant on your unique architecture.

The more disruptive abandoning your product, the stickier customer commitment becomes.

Double Down on Personalization

Solutions that adapt to individuals’ preferences and context keep users locked in thanks to tailored experiences.

Capture user behaviors and attributes to customize onboarding touchpoints, interface elements, proactive tips, and recommendations ensuring your product resonates personally.

Personalization makes alternatives seem bland and lifeless by comparison.

Tap into Community Effects

Solutions like Figma, Notion and Clubhouse benefit immensely from network effects - as more users join, the collective value increases for all members.

Social features, external integrations, centralized content and multi-player usage feeds a cycle where growing adoption incentivizes further signups.

If your product facilitates teams collaborating, build community gravity pulling users into your world.

Reward Loyalty

Loyalty programs raise switching costs by essentially “holding hostages”. Customers lose perks and privileges built up over time by starting anew with rivals.

Offer redeemable points, account upgrades or early access to new capabilities based on tenure. VIP status for your best evangelists works magic. Make abandoning perks painful.

The stickiness boost earns more than offsetting the cost of some freebies for your best advocates.

Foster Brand Affinity

Retention has strong emotional components beyond pure utility. Products that skillfully build brand affinity enjoy irrational customer loyalty despite cheaper options with equal functionality.

Infuse your branding, messaging, imagery and experiences with authentic personality, transparency and meaningful values. When you move from transactional to transformational, lifers emerge.

This cultural cache secures enduring loyalty beyond tactical lock-in.

Get Sticky or Get Lost

Thriving products seeking sustainable growth focus obsessively on stickiness from the start. Retention readies your venture for scale by compounding your customer base.

Rather than chasing endless new signups, identify what makes each additional tenured user invaluable. Then double down sticking to customers like glue.