ReadingCustomer retention rate 101: Calculation and strategies

Customer retention rate 101: Calculation and strategies


Being a SaaS business owner or a savvy entrepreneur, you must have felt the joy of acquiring new customers after all that hard work of providing customer service to them. It’s like crossing the finish line in a sprint. But what comes next is the marathon of encouraging new customers to make repeat transactions with your business, eventually becoming retained customers.

During the course of your business, you’ve probably felt the sting of losing hard-won customers, and it’s not just an emotional setback; it’s a financial one, too. Customer churn can feel like watching your hard-earned revenue trickle away. This is where Customer Retention Rate (CRR) comes into play.

The future of customer support
The future of customer support

The future of customer support

Track support performance with built-in customer satisfaction surveys

What is the customer retention rate?

Customer retention rate, often abbreviated as CRR, is the percentage of customers that stick to your business over a specific time period. In simple words, it is the heart rate of your business, if it’s steady and healthy, your business is thriving, and if it’s distressing, it’s time to take the right action.

CRR is the key factor driving sustainable growth. It’s crucial to measure customer retention rate in order to ensure your hard-earned customers don’t walk out of the door.

Why is it important to calculate customer retention rate?

The Customer Retention Rate (CRR) goes beyond being just a standard business statistic; it serves as a valuable tool for assessing the success of your customer relationships. According to a Bain & Company study,

Retained customers spend 67% more than first-time buyers.

Let’s explore the significance of calculating Customer Retention Rate (CRR) for your business.

  • Revenue stability: One of the direct benefits of calculating CRR is the revenue stability it brings to your business. In a competitive market, having predictable revenue is highly coveted. With CRR calculations, you gain the ability to forecast your expected quarterly cash flow accurately.
  • Cost-efficiency: We know that acquiring new customers is costlier than retaining the old ones. In fact, a study revealed that acquiring a new customer can cost you anywhere from 5 to 25 times more than retaining existing customers. Calculated CRR empowers you to make informed decisions regarding your budget allocation, striking a balance between the resources dedicated to acquiring new customers and those focused on retaining existing ones.
  • Word-of-mouth marketing: Happy and satisfied customers are your best marketers. Every business needs a less expensive and more effective marketing tactic, and retained customers are the one. A high CRR signifies that your customers are not just sticking around; they’re likely to become vocal advocates for your brand. They market the product or services you offer, the level of customer support you provide, and the experience they had while interacting with your business.
  • Competitive edge: Having a high CRR is one of the main factors setting you apart from your competitors. High CRR demonstrates that your business isn’t just attracting customers; it’s keeping them engaged and satisfied in a way that others might not be. This factor distinguishes your brand from others.
  • Adaptation and improvement: In a way, CRR is your feedback loop, indicating how your customers feel about your product or service. If it’s dropping, it indicates that something is off in your business operations and needs to be fixed. It can be your starting point for improvement and adaptation, ensuring that your business stays relevant.

How to calculate customer retention rate (CRR)

The Customer Retention Rate (CRR) signifies the proportion of customers you’ve successfully retained over the total number of customers you initially had within a given time frame.

In simple words, CRR measures the percentage of customers you’ve managed to retain during a given period.

Formula to calculate CRR = ((E - N) / S) x 100


S: Total number of customers you had at the start of a specific time frame, whether it’s a month, quarter, or year.
E: The total number of customers you have at the end of the chosen period.
N: Number of new customers you gained during the same time frame.

A high CRR indicates that you’re retaining a significant portion of your customer base, while a low CRR suggests that you’re losing customers at a faster rate.

Example calculating CRR

Suppose you started the year with 500 customers (S), acquired 30 new customers (N), and ended the year with 480 customers (E). Here’s how you calculate your CRR:

CRR = ((480 - 30) / 500) x 100
= (450 / 500) x 100
= 0.9 x 100
= 90%

In this scenario, your Customer Retention Rate for the year is 90%, which is a strong indicator of customer loyalty and satisfaction.

CRR gives you a clear picture of how well your business is retaining its customer base, and it’s a powerful metric to track over time. As a business owner, mastering the art of CRR calculation empowers you to make informed decisions to boost customer satisfaction and drive long-term growth.

The image below explains how customer retention works for a business in 10 years.

8 Expert strategies for elevating your customer retention rate (CRR)

As a business owner, your goal is not limited to maintaining CRR but also to improving it over time. According to a survey by SurveySparrow, the top five companies maintain an average customer retention rate of approximately 94%.

1. Continuous product improvement

Improving your product isn't just about adding new elements but also refining what you offer to suit your evolving customer base better.

This ongoing commitment to enhancement demonstrates to your customers that your business is dedicated to providing value during the holiday rush and throughout the year.

Such a proactive strategy is critical to maintaining a competitive edge, keeping your product relevant, and ensuring customer engagement and satisfaction after the holiday season. This approach retains customers and turns them into advocates for your business.

2. Offer exceptional customer support

Excellent customer service is more than just resolving customer issues; it’s a whole strategy for giving customers a smooth, customized experience. This means paying close attention to their concerns in order to comprehend their requirements and difficulties fully. It entails giving them expert guidance tailored to their specific situation and making sure they feel valued and appreciated.

Exceptional support goes beyond addressing immediate problems; it anticipates potential issues and offers proactive solutions. It instills a sense of confidence in customers, assuring them that your business is not only responsive but also genuinely committed to their success. 73% of customers consider their customer experience a significant factor in their purchase decisions.

Moreover, customer service extends beyond immediate problem-solving; it anticipates potential issues and provides proactive solutions. This proactive approach instills confidence in customers, assuring them that your business is committed not just to responsiveness but to their long-term success.

Statistics show that 73% of customers consider their overall customer experience a significant factor in their purchase decisions.

To further enhance your customer support strategies post-holiday season, consider leveraging tools like DevRev. It is designed to streamline support operations, empowering your team to listen to customers actively, proactively address concerns, collaborate with development teams, and deliver tailored solutions that continue to impress and satisfy customers beyond the festive period.

3. Engage in proactive communication

Proactive communication entails regular updates, sharing valuable content, and keeping customers in the loop about the latest developments within your business. This ongoing dialogue not only keeps them connected to your brand but also serves as a tangible demonstration of your unwavering commitment to their satisfaction and engagement.

By continuing to communicate effectively, you solidify that their engagement remains a top priority, fostering lasting loyalty and setting the stage for success in the year ahead.

4. Build a community

When you establish a customer community through dedicated forums or social media groups, you provide users with a valuable platform to connect, interact, share their experiences, and extend a helping hand to one another. This collaborative environment transforms your customer base from a collection of individual users into a unified community of like-minded individuals.

This sense of belonging and camaraderie is instrumental in building lasting customer loyalty. They don't just use your product or service; they actively participate in a community that revolves around it.

Moreover, a thriving customer community is a treasure trove of insights and solutions. Customers within the community share their experiences, offer tips, and troubleshoot common issues. This collective knowledge pool is a valuable resource, enhancing the overall customer experience and reducing the likelihood of customer churn.

5. Organize loyalty programs

Customer loyalty programs are designed to incentivize customers by offering rewards or benefits for their continued patronage. These incentives can take various forms, including discounts, access to exclusive features, referral rewards, and more. The aim is to not only keep customers coming back but also to transform them into active promoters of your brand.

The benefits of loyalty programs are multi-faceted. Firstly, they boost customer retention, ensuring that your customers remain engaged and loyal over time. Secondly, loyalty programs increase the frequency of customers returning to your business, fostering ongoing engagement and activity.

Moreover, these programs have the power to nudge customers to make repeat purchases over time, contributing to the sustainability of your business. In essence, loyalty programs provide a win-win scenario, where customers feel appreciated and rewarded for their loyalty, while your business benefits from increased retention, engagement, and revenue.

6. Regular surveys and feedback

Frequent feedback collection, whether through surveys or other means, is a valuable tool to understand your customers' needs and preferences. It allows you to make data-driven decisions that can lead to improvements aligned with what matters most to your customers.

Regular feedback collection demonstrates your commitment to continuously improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.

You can employ various methods to collect feedback, such as feedback forms, polls, emails, or social media engagement. These multiple feedback channels ensure that you capture insights from a broad spectrum of your customer base. By listening to their voices and acting upon their feedback, you create a warm, welcoming environment that resonates with the festive spirit of giving and receiving.

7. Incentivize customers with dynamic pricing strategies

Implementing dynamic pricing strategies involves the thoughtful adjustment of service or product pricing based on user behavior, engagement levels, and other relevant factors. It's a strategic approach that keeps customers engaged and encourages continued usage of your services while ensuring they receive a tailored and value-driven offer.

For instance, you may offer your most loyal, long-term customers discounted rates, providing them with a personalized pricing experience. Alternatively, you can offer customized pricing to high-usage customers, ensuring they receive a tailored deal that suits their needs.

Dynamic pricing adds a layer of sophistication to your pricing strategy, allowing you to respond effectively to customer needs and behaviors. It creates a sense of appreciation and value, making customers more likely to continue engaging with your offerings.

8. Enable integration and build ecosystem

Enabling API integrations with other software tools and building an ecosystem around your product is important. It primarily reduces friction for customers who rely on multiple tools, as they can seamlessly work together. An integrated ecosystem increases customer satisfaction and loyalty by offering a comprehensive solution to their needs.

For example, the Snap-Ins feature of DevRev empowers users to seamlessly integrate their preferred apps and tools, unlocking powerful capabilities through their combined functionality. This not only enhances user convenience but also significantly boosts productivity, making it an invaluable asset for businesses looking to streamline their operations and provide top-notch customer support.

Key metrics for ensuring sustainable business growth

While customer retention rate (CRR) is an important metric for assessing the health of your business, it’s important to recognize other key metrics that complement CRR and provide a more holistic view of your business’s performance.

  • Customer churn rate: The churn rate is the flip side of CRR. It measures the percentage of customers who discontinue their subscription during a specific time period. A low churn rate is a positive sign, while a high churn rate can be a red flag, indicating issues that need attention.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): NPS measures customer loyalty and satisfaction by asking a simple question: “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our product to a friend or colleague?” Users are categorized as promoters, passives, or detractors. A high NPS indicates satisfied customers who are likely to refer others.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): CLV quantifies the total revenue a customer is expected to generate during their entire relationship with your business. This metric helps you understand the long-term value of a customer and can guide decisions regarding customer acquisition and retention efforts.
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) score: CSAT measures customer satisfaction by asking them to rate their level of satisfaction with your product or service. It’s typically measured with a single question and provides a quick snapshot of customer sentiment.

Embark on your journey to boost customer retention

The number of customers who remain with your business long-term is more impactful than the number gained over time.

High CRR shouldn’t be your short-term goal instead, it should be your long-term commitment. It is the result of constant efforts in understanding, managing, and meeting your customer expectations.

To excel in retaining customers, you should incentivize loyal customers, improve your offerings, seek customer feedback, and adopt CRM software to provide seamless customer support. All these efforts combined empower you to deliver superior customer experience, fostering a positive brand reputation and serving as a powerful competitive advantage. Once your customers start choosing your brand over others, a high customer retention rate is just a piece of cake.

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