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

ProfitWell often counts "Churned Delinquent" two weeks after a customer goes past-due.

Up to 42% of payment recovery happens after day 14 in Churn Buster.

Most companies using Churn Buster are recovering payments 14+ days after going past-due. Many are even running campaigns that extend longer than 30 days!

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 under-reports Churn Buster performance by up to 42%.

You can see this reporting issue in the "Pre-Retain" baseline that is used to calculate the improvement to your retention, and also the performance-based fees you will pay.

When running a comparison, it's important to analyze your data independently, looking out for the common pitfalls with performance-based billing.

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, SMS, and other forms of customer contact.

ProfitWell Retain activity is tied to payment processor retry settings, that are often much shorter than Churn Buster campaigns. Viewed through its own lens, ProfitWell Retain reporting assumes that campaigns running in other systems are of the same length.

This means customers who make payment outside this window are reported as churned, instead of retained.

Combined with pay-for-performance billing that is tied to the delinquent churn rate metric, it has the power to report improvement over tools like Churn Buster with high reliability. However, billing is based on performance improvements that often do 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:

Report these incorrect churn events to your account manager at ProfitWell.

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

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 (this is extremely 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 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.