Retention is the new growth. I’ve said it before and will say it again—but that’ even more true among highly competitive apps for on-demand services. For every Uber or Wag there is a Lyft or a Rover looking to poach customers. And in this sector customer loyalty is far more important than in, say, gaming, where people tend to have several games they return to regularly. With all of this in mind, it’s clear that having a retention strategy in place is even more important for these apps.   


That’s why we sat down with Jessy Hanley—former VP marketing at Wag and director of CRM at Uber—to talk about her expertise in retaining customers. As part of our Mobile Presence Masterclass series, Jessy shared a few of her best tips with me. 

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Retention isn’t just marketing’s job 

While marketing may be the team most focused on retention metrics but if your approach isn’t holistic, you’re bound to struggle—maybe even fail. “I mean it’s really thinking about the entire customer journey and making sure that one, the organization is set up to support that journey and that everybody feels responsible and accountable for retention, because no one team can solve the problem,” says Jessy.  

Retention is a team effort and you’ll need to involve everyone from everyone from product developers to customer support, from community to marketing. “Everybody’s really very much involved if you want to do it well,” advises Jessy. 

Retention is a relationship 

You have to wine and dine your users before you can invite them back to your place! Maybe that’s taking the metaphor a bit far, but Jessy say, “I think the real trick is to think about retention as a relationship.”  

She adds, “You don’t ask someone to marry you on the first date, and so you have to think about what do you want to tell people? How do you want to work with them? How do you make sure that they are deepening their relationship with you over time? And that really requires some real tough conversations within your organization about what really matters.” 

Retention goals are as individualized as your users 

Everyone wants to know what the “north star” of retention is. What numbers should you be looking for? The truth is, it’s complicated—and specific to each company. Have you been around for a long time? Then your goal should be to make your tenured customers feel valued instead of worrying too much about bringing in new users.   

You can have too much segmentation 

When it comes to retention, you have to start with segmentation but it’s easy to look at your user base and go hog wild with segmentation, breaking out groups for every little demographic or action. But you can have too much of a good thing. 

So, I tend to believe in trying to stick around about six main segments,” says Jessy.  Beyond that, she thinks it’s too hard to really personalize messages in a meaningful way for each segment. “You also need to see, do these segments actually behave differently? Because sometimes your segment that is your tenured customer, or your high value customer, actually behaves very similar to another segment.” 

Want to take a deeper dive into the best practices for retention, check out the transcript below. 

Show Transcript