Improving user retention: case study

I use a platform called Crash to apply to create killer resumes, find job opportunities, and receive curated help in my job search.

Yesterday, I was wondering why I use Crash in the first place: it's not like I need Crash to pitch resumes, and I could do all this job research and applying by myself. So, I posed a question in the Crash Slack, and here's what I got (thanks Jérémy for the in-depth response!).

"What makes's onboarding and user retention so successful?"

Love this question 😁

We borrowed significantly from Superhuman's onboarding process. Here are the major insights I've found:

  • being invite-only increases demand, though that’s not why we do it
  • manually selecting our users helps us ensure maximum quality (look at everyone in here! 🚀 ) and listen to + implement people’s feedback more effectively
  • the 1-to-1 onboarding ensures that each new user learns exactly how to make killer pitches, and our overall philosophy. When you’re redefining how people do something like job hunting, you really have to make sure they’re using the product in the right ways, so this part is a big one.

In other words, Crash is sticky

Crash is sticky because right from the get-go, new users feel invested in the product. When I joined, there was a whole application process, where I had to record a video of myself, take a personality quiz, and even join a scheduled, one-on-one Zoom onboarding call.

After this whole application process was done, Crash quickly admitted me, making it very clear I was valued. Crash gave me a dedicated Supercrasher title, which meant I would get extra support and dedicated attention from the Crash team. In retrospect, most or even all users probably get the Supercrasher treatment, but at the time, this bestowal of a title by the Crash team was very motivating, and more importantly, sticky.

The stickier your product is, the better your product will retain users. The most effective way to increase this stickyness is by making users invested in your product, and to make them truly believe the product is something that will help them.

Crash is sticky through its perceived exclusivity (a good thing!). Via its invite-only joining, and nontrivial application process, Crash more looks like an "elite job-hunting" tool, made and used for the hard-core.

Crash is sticky through the real human connections. Corné, my onboarder, feels less like a teacher, and more like a role-model/friend, who has always been encouraging and knowledgable, who even shared my a blog post of mine on Twitter. Same goes for the rest of the Crash team: very quick to help their users!

Most importantly, Crash is sticky through shared philosophy between users and the product. Crash believes that job-hunters should send directed, personalized pitches to companies they want to work for. Crash's onboarding call does an excellent job of communicating this philosophy to its new users: this shared philosophy is the number one thing that contributes to Crash's stickyness.

Because Crash is so sticky, I never really found the courage to stop using it. Even when I'm not necessarily the grittiest man in the world, I keep coming back to Crash, because I believe what Crash believes, and I know it's a place where I have support and community to reach my job-hunting goals.

For your buisiness

Make the product feel special and tailored for the customer. Make meaningful connections between the product and the customer, in person, and in functionality. And most important of all, make the product match the philosophy of the customer, so that the customer could never even think of using an alternative product.