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Do you instrument to prevent downgrades?

Do your SaaS customers downgrade service? If so I wonder if you instrument for the kind of user behavior that might help you prevent service downgrades, or net-negative revenue churn. Do you use your customer's own data to demonstrate what they are losing? When you turn off features, do you hide them altogether or do you highlight what they're missing?

Do your SaaS customers downgrade service?

I study this stuff for a living, so I keep a particularly close eye on user experience, especially when I get to experience it first hand. My friends might roll their eyes if they have to hear another analysis of buyer or user experience from me, but it does seem to be in my blood to analyze it.

We use PandaDoc at Eigenworks for proposals and contracts. It's much better than Word, and better for our purposes than some of the other programs we evaluated about a year ago. I have some complaints about the user experience, especially the difficulty of organizing standardized content blocks, but overall we are more productive with it, and less prone to making potentially costly errors in contracts.

Recently we were reviewing subscriptions and we downgraded our service to a lower tier. I don't even recall making the decision, so either I made it in haste or someone on my team made it. Regardless, we downgraded, and cut costs in about half.

As it turns out, we were heavy users of one of the features of the higher trim level: Content Libraries. This is a great feature that allows us to build standard clauses so that we keep master copies, and in turn we minimize both duplicated work and errors that could result.

When the service was downgraded, that feature - which we use very heavily - simply disappeared. Customer support didn't seem to understand our question, so we didn't get a useful answer when we asked the first or second time. (I couldn't remember the name of the feature we were missing since, as above, it had simply disappeared.)

I concluded that PandaDoc had simply removed the feature. It was definitely on my list of critques for the product, so I assumed maybe they'd had too many complaints anyway and pulled it to re-word it. But after the third note to support, I learned that our Content Libraries lie waiting for us after I re-upgraded to the higher trim level.

Do you measure "Edge Feature Usage"?

I think of featuress like this as "edge features": They are the features that encourage upgrades to a higher tier of service. How closely do you look at utilization of edge featuees when processing downgrades or re-marketing upgrades? If subscription downgrades are an issue for you, this example may be instructive.

Let me know what you think in the comments please! - AA

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