Customer Research – Why Fast-Growing Companies Make it a Weekly Habit.

Posted on October 1, 2019

Email is still the best medium to build relationships with your users.

And the best way to do great email is to know everything possible about your customers.

Both those things give you a formula for growth

Customer Research + Amazing Email Onboarding = Better Upgrade/Retention rates

We talk to Val Geisler, founder of Fix My Churn on how we can all create better email campaigns to increase engagement with our products.

We cover:

– The three groups of customers you should interview each week, and how to create a habit around customer research
– The framework Val uses to do those customer research, and what questions she asks to get insights that will result in better product engagement.
– Two recommendations that any business can start doing immediately for better results.

Happy Growing!


[2:15] – Val started ‘Fix My Churn’ to help software companies improve both their onboarding and retention.

[5:30] – When creating email campaigns for businesses, remember it’s a person, not a business that’s reading those emails. Your goal is to create a relationship with the people who are reading that email. It’s a lot harder for people to churn from a product that they feel a connection with.

[9:15] – The first place Val starts when working to improve a business’s product engagement is customer research. What Val is looking for is information on the customer, how they think, what they care most about, and how the product has changed their daily life.

Val gives an example of customer research she did that helped her create better copy for her email programs.

[12:35] – One of the easiest ways to form a habit around customer research is to have a post-it-note on your computer that says – “Have you talked to a customer today?”

[13:45] – Val recommends speaking with three different groups of customers:

1. Your best customers
2. Customers who signed up for your free product OR free trial and didn’t convert.
3. Customers who churned

Each day reach out to someone in that cohort and book 20 minutes with them.

Val uses the job to be done framework to conduct these interviews. She recommends reading the jobs to be done book, which is 60 pages.

Val records each call and turns them into a transcript.

[18:05] – One of the most important questions you can ask during customer research is – “what is your biggest problem at work.”

If your product can help address this, you can use that in your onboarding emails.

[19:15] – To get value from all of the customer research collected, Val will highlight common words and themes that appear in that research and shares it among teams.

She also pulls out research the marketing team can use to create content around,

And, often the research will help the business better understand the segment of customers they should focus on.

[24:35] – The job of onboarding is to build habits with customers. The best book Val has ever read on building habits for products is ‘Atomic Habits.’

You have to understand the habit you’re trying to form, for example, if a user has never used a specific type of software before, you’re trying to get them to create new habits.

If they’ve used that software before, you’re trying to change their existing habit, so they now use your product to complete that task.

[25:25] – Val thinks there are usually three features that your customers need to know about to be successful. She would focus the onboarding on those features so as not to overwhelm users.

[27:10] – Val’s recommendation when building email onboarding is to start with a time-based sequence and take people in and out of that flow based on their behavior. A time-based sequence means the user will get emails based on a time delay you set. Behavior emails will trigger based on how they interact with those emails.

[29:55] – A lot of Val’s most successful customers ask questions in the product signup flow that will help them better tailor their onboarding experience.

[35:12] – Some of the most common improvements companies can make to their onboarding are:

1. Instead of talking about products features, talk about the benefits of those features.
2. Send more emails. A lot of companies will have a 14-day or 30-day free trial, and then only send a couple of emails to onboard users onto that trial. Val recommends sending a lot more emails to keep people engaged with the trial.


– Val on Twitter / LinkedIn
– Kieran on Twitter / LinkedIn / Medium
– Scott on Twitter / Linked / Medium