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

ProfitWell often counts "Churned Delinquent" 14 days* after a payment initially fails. Up to 42% of recoveries happen after day 14 in Churn Buster.

Most companies using Churn Buster are recovering customer payments 14+ days after initially going past-due. Sometimes even 60+ days after.

When these recoveries are tracked as Delinquent Churn in ProfitWell, the metric becomes a less accurate measure for customer retention. And when comparing performance between Churn Buster and ProfitWell Retain, this metric can under-report Churn Buster performance by up to 42%.

Also, we've seen other factors pulling down the "Pre-Retain" measure of Churn Buster's performance within ProfitWell Retain. If you're running a comparison, we recommend analyzing your data independently, and importantly, looking out for the common pitfalls with performance-based billing.

*Delinquent Churn in ProfitWell could be based on payment processor retry settings, and has been observed as early as 9 days into a recovery campaign.

More detail:

Churn Buster campaigns can be extended to any length necessary for optimal performance. They run independently of payment processor settings.

Default Churn Buster campaigns are 28-days long. The focus is on passive recovery via retries to the card-on-file before escalating to email and other forms of customer contact.

ProfitWell Retain campaigns are dictated by payment processor retry settings, that are often much shorter than Churn Buster campaigns. Viewed through its own lens, ProfitWell Retain makes an assumption that campaigns running in other systems are of the same length.

This means payments that occur outside this window are not counted as retained.

Combined with pay-for-performance billing tied to the delinquent churn rate metric, it has the power to give a false sense of improvement over tools like Churn Buster. Billing is based on performance improvements that may not exist.

Who is affected?

Any company running recovery campaigns outside of ProfitWell Retain, while tracking performance inside ProfitWell.

Any company attempting to compare ProfitWell Retain to Churn Buster, while measuring the performance difference in ProfitWell.

How you can see the problem:

1. Open the Customers/Events page in ProfitWell
2. Filter for "Delinquent Churn"
3. Find a customer who has been past-due for more than 14 days (or the length of your payment processor retry period) without canceling.

You should see a churn event in their timeline. And you'll see in Churn Buster or your payment processor that they haven't churned yet.

You can also click on the customer icon next to any month's delinquent churn rate metric. You should see a list that includes falsely categorized churn events.

How you can fix the problem:

Your best option is to report these incorrect churn events to their team.

See if they can clear them from your account retroactively, and adjust the churn recognition event to match the length of your recovery campaigns (30 days is a safe bet for most).

If you're looking to compare the performance of ProfitWell Retain with another system, use an independent source of data. This can be tracked internally, via a 3rd party, or directly via your payment processor.

The goal is to find a consistent, reliable source of measurement, to exclude in-progress campaigns (that's incredibly important), and to spot check exports to verify that "churned" customers don't have an active subscription.

If you are currently using ProfitWell Retain, it's a good idea to verify this issue wasn't a factor in the calculation of your fees to ensure you aren't paying for false performance improvements.


This issue was first reported to ProfitWell leadership in 2018, and again in 2019.
This issue was most recently confirmed in the ProfitWell dashboard in September 2021.

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