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User Retention: Lessons from a Digital Ledger Giant
User Experience

User Retention: Lessons from a Digital Ledger Giant

Vimlesh Gautam
 min read
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User retention is the biggest challenge your mobile app faces. More than 50% of users uninstall apps within 4 to 5 days of installation. And if you're a product manager– this is concerning.

Less than 2 weeks ago we had Rahul KR with us.

Rahul is the Senior Product Manager @ Khatabook.

 And he’s a major advocate of having a ‘user first’ approach.

So we decided to ask him– How does he solve for Drop offs?

- His answer?

“If you can put yourself in the shoes of your users– you've already won half the battle!”

Khatabook: The Beginnings

Every product has a vision. And behind them, there is almost always a story. And Khatabook is no different:

“It was built by the son of an electrical shop owner in Maharashtra'' says Rahul. “The shop owner, being  a shy person, wasn't able to ask for payments from his customers. So his son built the app for him to do exactly that”

The app was designed to note down customer transactions and give reminders to the customer before the due date. 

Simple and straightforward, but super useful even at its early stage. Khatabook saw over 50K downloads organically! This showed there was a need for a solution like this one.

What is Retention?

According to Rahul, The most important key metric they track is the Retention Rate 

- How many users have tried it? 

- Have they added customers and transactions? 

- Are they actually coming back sticking with the app?”

- But How do you define retention? 

Activation, engagement and resurrection–  At Khatabook These 3 are used to define user retention. 

Activation refers to the users who added at least two unique two transactions into unique days. Tracking Activation is fairly straightforward and there are many quantitative analytics tools doing precisely that.

Rahul mentions they use Mixpanel to get an accurate view over their numbers.

"Your Numbers (quantitative data) are very important. critical even"

Rahul adds "however numbers alone don't give a full picture behind 'WHY' your users drop off."

You need to keep a track of Exactly How the users are Engaging with your app to understand their problems.

Understanding users with UserExperior

“My day starts with seeing the UserExperior dashboard wherein I see the sessions of my users  using the app” According to Rahul, Session replay is imperative to see exactly how your user’s journey looks like.

The type of data you gather here is Qualitative– just like getting feedback and direct customer interaction. Which is important  to understand your users and you should never stop doing that.

“ However when you speak to the customer, you're not catching them in the action–” Rahul calls customer bias as one of the factor behind skewed data.

 "—So when you actually observe them with these Sessions Replays– that’s when you can truly  understand their problems!”

You start getting answers to real questions

- Why is the user not tapping at the CTA?
- Why did the user spend so much time on the screen?
- Were they confused about something?

Session replays give answers to these questions and Rahul rightly calls these sessions as “Eureka moments!”

Heatmaps in identifying confused user

The purpose of heatmaps is pretty simple. It notes whatever interaction users do with the interface and gives a visual representation of their experiences.

Rahul briefly explains how heatmaps help them with understanding user intent.

The above image is an example  that Rahul brought to show confused users and how Heatmaps helped in tracking the problem.

“Someone asked me, how do you nudge the first time user to add a transaction for a user in rural areas who may not be tech savvy?”

Rahul explains - “The user logs in using the simple one tap login button and lands inside the homepage. However we  noticed if you have a screen with multiple tabs, people get confused.”

Rahul points towards the heatmaps image of a user, randomly tapping all over the interface to get to the Button. Rahul called it the deer in the headlights problem i.e. when you throw too many elements and the users and they get confused.

“So that's why we figured out, just keep one user action per screen and added an animated arrow towards the Button to give clarity to first time users”

Using Heatmaps for understanding User Intent

Another interesting case Rahul shared was using Heatmaps to understand user intent.

Understanding user intent with heatmaps

“There were areas on the app page that were getting lots of taps and they weren’t clickable area either–
And when we actually went deeper, we figured they were tapping over texts such as "day-to-day sales", "Total expense" This gave us insight over what they were looking for"

Rahul adds- “People actually wanted something more— they wanted those text fields clickable. They wanted to get insight over their day-to-day sales, total expenses etc. And after user research we figured  a bottom sheet can be attached to display exactly those insights the customer was looking for!”


Over the course of an hour Rahul went over everything from Conversion funnels, segmentation to Crash analytics and ANR. Everything that makes him understand his user better.

He  clarified the difference between a loyal user and a frustrated one. And it was all about the empathy that you can show your users–with your product!
–and how likely you are willing to solve  customer's problems.

If you want to learn more  watch the full webinar here

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