Defection Detection: Measuring and Understanding the Predictive Accuracy of Customer Churn Models
Kamakura, Wagner A., Neslin, Scott, Gupta, Sunil and Mason, Charlotte, Defection Detection: Measuring And Understanding the Predictive Accuracy Of Customer Churn Models, Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. XLIII (May 2006), 204–211
9 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2014
Date Written: 2006
This article provides a descriptive analysis of how methodological factors contribute to the accuracy of customer churn predictive models. The study is based on a tournament in which both academics and practitioners downloaded data from a publicly available Web site, estimated a model, and made predictions on two validation databases. The results suggest several important findings. First, methods do matter. The differences observed in predictive accuracy across submissions could change the profitability of a churn management campaign by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Second, models have staying power. They suffer very little decrease in performance if they are used to predict churn for a database compiled three months after the calibration data. Third, researchers use a variety of modeling "approaches," characterized by variables such as estimation technique, variable selection procedure, number of variables included, and time allocated to steps in the modelbuilding process. The authors find important differences in performance among these approaches and discuss implications for both researchers and practitioners.
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