Churn Buster
vs ProfitWell Retain

By reading this article, you’re facing an important business decision: what’s the best way to manage failed payments?

Mistakes on repeat are a slow, compounding drain on subscription revenue. So everyone wants to get this right.

The niche “dunning” industry is surprisingly competitive, and Churn Buster is sometimes compared with ProfitWell Retain. As you’ll see, we approach the same problem in very different ways.

Every business is unique, and our difference comes from a core belief…

Nobody knows your customer better than you.

We don't expect all companies to use the same followup process when payments fail.

We leverage billions of data points to develop best practices. To give your company better defaults out-of-the-box. But that's just a starting point.

We believe in matching the customer experience to your business model and brand. This boosts customer confidence to renew subscriptions, and inversely, won't erode your valuable customer relationships over time.

Because of our customer focus, customer-centric businesses around the world trust Churn Buster.

Ready for a deep dive? Read on for 3 reasons why Churn Buster could be the right choice for your company.

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Focus on fundamentals, not misleading metrics

Churn Buster charges a monthly rate based on the size of your company.

ProfitWell Retain charges a commission on how much they claim to improve a single metric: Recovery Rate.

Recovery Rate is the percentage of customers who initially fail a recurring payment, who go on to issue a successful payment.

There's a big problem with this approach, as shown with the following examples.

This company sells meat subscriptions. When everyone started sheltering in place due to COVID-19, subscription renewals went way, WAY up.

Their dunning process did not change. But recovery rate did. They will be paying a lot more with "perfomance-based" pricing.
profitwell retain pricing recovery rate

If you are comparing against this "before" recovery rate, it's surprising to pay so much more because of unrelated changes in your market.

You don’t need to wait for the next pandemic to see variance at play.

Here’s a normal recovery rate, with 20% swings up and down from one month to the next.

Customers change, seasons change, and churn has a life of its own.
churn rate normal variance

Will Churn Buster reduce your churn rate? Absolutely. But you won't measure it by looking at Recovery Rate.

"Recovery rate" is an aggregate measure of many things.

This metric is a harmful focus, as it can seem like nothing is wrong while important fundamentals get ignored.

Companies big and small see lots of variance in recovery rate...

What impacts Recovery Rate?

Payments Volume

With less than 10% of customers experiencing a billing issue each month, even large companies see random swings in Recovery Rate—due to a small sample size.


Annual holidays, customer personas, limited-time offers, annual subscription promotions, random spikes in signups...these all will impact Recovery Rate in months to come.

Price Points

Recovery Rate is often calculated based on dollar amount. With a wide range of price points, you'll see Recovery Rate swings when high-paying customers fail payments.

Billing Cycles

Annual subscribers renew less often than monthly—and their cards are more likely to get declined. The distribution of monthly and annual billing issues will impact Recovery Rate in a big way.

Customer Acquisition

Customers who sign up with a discount are more likely to churn. The same for customers auto-subscribed to recurring plans without noticing. Past signup offers will impact your current Recovery Rate.

Service Quality

Improvements to the quality of your product, support, and onboarding will reduce churn. These improvements will also impact Recovery Rate, and with the right dunning tool in place, are a great focus.

Recovery rate is a great way to monitor how well you're retaining payments over time.

You'll see it front-and-center in the Churn Buster dashboard.

Where our approach differs from ProfitWell Retain is that we don't tie our success to swings in overall recovery rate, or bill our customers based on these swings.

"We switched to Churn Buster after using ProfitWell Retain for quite some time. Our primary concern with ProfitWell was their attribution and subsequent reporting. With Churn Buster we now have better reporting, a more cost-efficient solution, and a fast-improving product."
Adii Pienaar, Founder

"Just turn it on."

ProfitWell Retain takes a commission when recovery rate goes up.

But, as we've seen, recovery rate alone can't measure dunning improvement.

Churn Buster is commission-free.

Churn Buster offers simple pricing based on company size. You'll snap into better fundamentals matched to your unique business on day one. And you'll be on a path toward improvement, with all the visibility, control, and customization you need.

Focus on customization, not one-size-fits-all

With Churn Buster, you don't have to put all your trust in a 3rd party tool to make decisions for you.

You know your business better than anyone else. And you'll have full control over the customer experience.

Out of the box, you'll get a built-for-you campaign specific to your industry. From there, you'll make decisions about how to improve based on data reported by Churn Buster.

You won't be forced, as an eCommerce company, to use the same campaign that a software company is using.

Some examples of what you can do with Churn Buster include:

  • Variable length campaigns to match your unique business
  • A mix of branded emails and text-based emails for optimal delivery
  • Enhanced retry scheduling for fewer emails sent, fewer cancellations, and fewer support issues
  • A seamless card update experience with no login required, and real-time payment processing (instead of waiting until the next retry happens days later to get paid)
  • Escalations for high-value customers, including SMS, bounced email alerts, and help desk integrations

This list is long, but the core difference is this: Churn Buster is built to support the unique aspects of the brands we work with.

"We switched to Churn Buster and saw a fast improvement in failed payment retention. Beyond that, we were able to set up bounced email alerts, enabling our team to manually recover at-risk customers."
Sean Percival, CMO

Our team, and our product, are focused on solving this one problem. And we get superior results for brands processing hundreds of millions a year in revenue.

All of our customers benefit from the platform we've built over the years to serve these high-growth companies.

Our philosophy is that customer experience is where brands differentiate online, and every part of our dunning approach has been designed to enrich that experience.

Focus on customer outcomes, not gaming results

At Churn Buster, involuntary churn isn't delegated away and forgotten about for years.

We don't ask anyone to put blind faith in algorithms behind the scenes.

Custom-tailored automation will do most the work for you. But what about when a customer email address bounces? When your point of contact has left their company? When a high-value customer is at-risk?

Without tools to make these problems visible, good customers will churn.

With Churn Buster, your team can retain these customers who otherwise would have churned. Real-time alerts bring visibility at just the right time to make the save. Help desk integration builds this into your workflow.

Could algorithms or machine learning take the place of your team? Maybe someday. If there is a way to improve in this direction, we intend to be leading the way.

These days, when it comes to payment-processor extensions, what is marketed as "machine learning" falls into two categories:

1. Gamesmanship

Tracking a "win" behind the scenes is most easily done by sequencing events in a certain way. This provides no value in the best case, and erodes customer relationships in the worst.

Here's an example:

In this scenario, the payment processor was allowed to do its thing. The customer's card-on-file started working again, and was successfully billed.

This is an excellent outcome, and one that Churn Buster will prioritize.

But when you layer ProfitWell Retain "smart retries" on top of Stripe "smart retries," you get this instead:

profitwell retain smart retries

A retry strategically placed in front of Stripe's can look like a win. But it's not recovering a customer who would have been lost. And it's not improving your business fundamentals long-term.

Bottom line: companies like Stripe are sitting on more data than Churn Buster, or ProfitWell. Their algorithms are the smartest around, and should be trusted to work optimally for your business.

2. High-risk tactics

Some may call it "black hat." These tactics are always changing, to stay ahead of restrictions and regulations often coming from the card issuing banks themselves.

It could mean breaking larger payments into smaller ones, and trying to get the smaller payments to clear. Or when one payment processor declines a charge, running the charge again in another payment processor.

Aggressively trying to force payments with banks is a recipe for disaster. We've helped companies recovering from bad experiences here, and it's not fun when a bank decides to put a red flag on your business.

At Churn Buster, we will never do anything that could harm your business reputation with banks.

You're not paying for a secretive, magical AI to solve this problem for you. You understand that there's no silver bullet for better retention, and that sometimes it requires rolling your sleeves up and getting involved.

Choose your industry to learn more...
One size fits none. Choose the option that's right for your business.