Why do in-progress Churn Buster campaigns show as "Churned Delinquent" in ProfitWell?

Summary: ProfitWell has a documented history of tracking "Churned Delinquent" events several days before customers passively churn in Churn Buster. This incorrectly is shown as increased churn while using Churn Buster in the ProfitWell dashboard.

A bit more detail:

When Stripe retries have run their course, Stripe gives you an option to either set the status of subscriptions as unpaid or canceled.

Churn Buster leverages the unpaid setting.

This allows companies to run longer, more effective Churn Buster campaigns before subscriptions are permanently canceled.

The problem: ProfitWell reports that a subscription is "Churned Delinquent" when it transitions to an unpaid status. When using Churn Buster, there's a good chance that unpaid subscriptions will go on to be recovered.

The result: Any customer that remained past due longer than 1-2 weeks in Churn Buster is considered "Churned Delinquent" by ProfitWell.

Who is affected?

Any company using Churn Buster, or a dunning solution that leverages the unpaid status in Stripe to run extended payment recovery campaigns.

What are the consequences?

If you are affected by this bug, you can verify the consequences in your own account.

It's likely that your ProfitWell data exports will show customers as churned who are merely past-due (and in a recovery campaign), or who were actually recovered.

If you are currently using ProfitWell Retain, see if you are paying extra fees for false improvements. When the Recovery Rate of your prior setup is under-reported, you will see false gains.

This simple bug in reporting explains how claims like these are possible:

When it comes to customer retention, a 20% improvement is a big win. The only way to find 3-4x performance improvement over an advanced tool like Churn Buster is to mis-interpret the results.

What can be done about it?

This issue was first reported to ProfitWell leadership in 2018, and again in 2019. The issue was last observed in an active ProfitWell account in June, 2020.

Our recommendations are:

  1. Instead of using ProfitWell to measure delinquent churn, or to assess Churn Buster performance, use data pulled directly from Stripe. Or use a more reliable tool like ChartMogul that tracks churn recognition accurately.
  2. Don't use ProfitWell to measure the performance difference between dunning tools. Beyond this calculation flaw, the recovery rate metric they use isn't a measure of dunning performance, and it's at the core of their attribution and billing model.
  3. Report this issue to ProfitWell, and ensure you are being charged fees based on good data as a ProfitWell Retain customer.

If you believe this reporting issue has been resolved, please contact the Churn Buster team at support@churnbuster.io.