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The underrated reason why your users' retention sucks

Throughout my product management career, I have had many opportunities to impact user retention. User retention is simply an indicator, a metric to measure if users are coming back to use your product and if they do, how often? Retention, however, is an outcome that cannot directly be impacted. Retention is the result of your other metrics working well such as activation, engagement, stickiness, and resurrection (bringing people back when they almost left your product for good).

So how do you improve these other metrics that impact product's user retention?

I believe one of the underrated reasons retention suffers in so many apps out there, is a company’s lack of respect for your users which in most cases is unintentional. But what do I mean by this?

When you google the meaning of “respect” this is what you find:

Respect means that you accept somebody for who they are, even when they're different from you or you don't agree with them. Respect in your relationships builds feelings of trust, safety, and wellbeing.

When you respect someone for who they are without trying to change them, you accept them as they are. This means that you seek to deeply understand them and their unique needs and point of view without trying to change them and make them see the world as you do.

When you build a product for others, you can go about it in two ways. The first approach is to go ahead and design and build a product based on how you see the world and then expect the users to adopt your product. In this approach you will be more prone to going toward manipulation, falsely presenting your product's capabilities, and expecting users to adopt your worldview and of-course none of these approach work long term.

On the other hand, if we truly “respect” our users, you listen deeply to their needs. You become obsessed with understanding them and their needs and you deeply empathize with how they see the world. Respected users are loyal users and loyal users come back to the app often because they trust that your product/service understands their deep desires and needs and they know that your company works hard to provide solutions for their needs.

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