Case Study: How Drift Deploys Drip to Save New Customers from Churning (and Achieves 66% Open Rates)

“If Slack is a messaging app to help you run your business, Drift is a messaging app to help you grow your business.”

That’s how Cara Herrick describes Drift, the sales and customer success app she helps 10,000+ businesses wield as Drift’s Customer Success Manager. “Customers use Drift for live chat, in-app messages, email, and more so they can talk their website visitors, convert more leads, and keep customers happy,” says Cara—and it really is that simple.

We use Drift on our own website at Drip, and we also have a really cool integration that lets you retarget and market to people using the combined power of email and in-app messaging. So I can personally attest that Drift is a powerful and intuitive tool.

But even the world’s best software companies face certain challenges that come with the territory: notably, accelerating customer onboarding and reducing customer churn.

Ever since they switched their marketing automation platform to Drip, Cara and her team are successfully onboarding and retaining more customers using Drip’s behavioral targeting capabilities and visual workflows. We asked her to tell us a little bit about making the move, the results they’re seeing, and the unique ways they’re using Drip to ensure the success of their rapidly growing customer base.

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Making the Switch to Drip

Before discovering Drip, the Drift team used another messaging platform. But simply getting campaigns up and running was a challenge, Cara recalls:

“It was difficult to visualize who was getting which emails and when … It was just tables of different emails—it was not visual at all. It was easy to set up a few emails, but it got hard when we tried to scale it to larger campaigns or one-off emails.

“We also found it pretty difficult to get all of the data set up in the first place.”

Logging into Drip for the first time was a very different experience.

From the first login, “Drip’s design was way simpler—everything just seemed a lot more welcoming,” says Cara. “The visualization/workflow tool seemed like a departure from everything that was already out there—a good reason to switch.”

As Drift got started with Drip, the team realized that this was a tool that could grow with their rapidly rising company and let them track their success. Cara reports:

“Our main reason for switching was just that Drip had a more digestible aspect to the experience that helped us better understand the success of our campaigns. And as we continue to grow and develop new features, Drip was able to better handle bigger campaigns or one-off emails.”

The Results: Better Open Rates, More Clickthroughs, Less Customer Confusion

In addition to the enhanced user experience, Drip has aided Drift’s operations and performance in several very tangible ways:

Timeline-based onboarding sequences: “Our primary use case for using Drip has been to properly onboard new customers to get them up and running with Drift,” says Cara. “We’ve successfully set up Drip campaigns that send out triggered emails based on customer timelines or actions.”

Using Drip’s campaign builder, the team can automatically send out onboarding emails at the ideal intervals they’ve observed based on past customer experience. These automated email sequences keep new customers on track and make sure they’re hitting the milestones that make for a successful Drift experience.

But not every customer’s the average customer. That’s why Drift also takes advantage of Drip’s ability to track user behavior in great detail—and trigger emails in response.

Behaviorally triggered outreach sequences: Most importantly, Cara says, “We’ve used Drip to help alleviate customer confusion.” Drip helps them both recognize and remedy that confusion:

“We’ve found specific points where customers get caught up or don’t know what to do next. Maybe they’ve hit a wall and just don’t quite know how to use the product yet. We built a Drip campaign to recognize these clues and send an email offering help at these points, bridging the gap and increasing our customer success.”

For instance, Cara says, one Drip campaign consists of “something we call activation emails. Activation is a word we use to describe a number of chats someone has had with their customers through their Drift account. It’s a sign of success and engagement, so if we notice that someone hasn’t hit this number, we’ll automatically send them an email asking if we can help.”

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Accessible performance insights: As a Drift user myself, I can attest that Drift moves really, really fast—hardly a week goes by that I don’t notice an upgrade or two when I log in. Drip has helped Drift’s growth and customer success move as fast as its product development.

“I think the UX made it easier for us to understand our email performance,” Cara speculates. “So we then knew what to reiterate on, what was working, what wasn’t… Our email open rates are probably higher now because of it.”

Speaking of those open rates—they’re exceptional. Cara says:

“Since we’ve been able to trigger Drip to send emails to the right people, at the right place, and at the right time, we’ve been able to provide a very tailored onboarding experience. Our open rates for the emails sent offering help have been approximately 66 percent, with a click through rate of about 10 percent. [This is] very high engagement since we’re really speaking to a problem they’re experiencing.”

Next Steps: Future Growth for Drift

So what’s next for Drift as they continue to use Drip to fuel customer success?

I’ll let Cara have the last word. Here’s her outlook on the future:

“It’s become clear that people don’t just want to use messaging to talk to businesses, they expect it. Just last week, Twilio published a new study about how people want to use technology to talk to businesses, and there was one clear takeaway: people want to use messaging.

“Nine out of ten consumers said they want to be able to use messaging to talk to businesses.

“And our mission is to help every business on earth know, grow, and amaze their customers.

“We want Drift to become the standard for how businesses and customers communicate.

“Email has been a huge channel for us, and Drip makes email really easy, so we’re going to keep it going :)”

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What kind of signals indicate that a customer is thriving or struggling in your business? Share your thoughts in the comments.