Customer Retention Rate


What Is Customer Retention Rate? How to Calculate It?

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Team Storyly
January 17, 2024
0 min read

What Is the Customer Retention Rate?

The Customer Retention Rate is a critical metric for businesses as it quantifies the percentage of customers a company has retained over a specific period, indicating the effectiveness of customer relationship management. 

Understanding and optimizing this rate is pivotal for business growth and profitability, as retaining existing customers is often more cost-effective than acquiring new ones.

Benefits of a High Customer Retention Rate

Increased Profitability

A high customer retention rate is directly linked to increased profitability for a business. When customers continue to purchase from a company over time, the cost of acquisition per customer decreases. This is because acquiring a new customer generally costs more than retaining an existing one, due to expenses related to marketing, advertising, and promotional offers.

Existing customers are also more likely to purchase additional products or services, contributing to higher revenue per customer. These customers have already developed trust in the brand, making them more open to upselling or cross-selling opportunities. Furthermore, long-term customers tend to be less price-sensitive, meaning they are willing to pay more for products or services they trust, further enhancing profitability.

Enhanced Customer Loyalty

A high customer retention rate is indicative of strong customer loyalty. Loyal customers are more likely to continue doing business with a company, even in the face of competition or market changes. They form a stable customer base that provides consistent revenue, making business forecasting more accurate and reliable.

Customer loyalty also transforms customers into brand advocates. Satisfied customers are more likely to share their positive experiences with friends, family, and colleagues, or even on social media platforms. This word-of-mouth marketing is incredibly valuable, as potential customers tend to trust personal recommendations more than traditional advertising.

Positive Word-of-Mouth and Referrals

Customers who remain with a company over time are more likely to recommend its products or services to others. This positive word-of-mouth can lead to referrals, which are a cost-effective way to acquire new customers.

Referral programs can further incentivize existing customers to recommend a business, creating a win-win situation where both the existing and new customer benefit. This not only helps in acquiring new customers but also strengthens the relationship with existing ones, as they feel valued and appreciated for their recommendations.

More Opportunities for Upselling and Cross-Selling

A high customer retention rate opens up more opportunities for upselling and cross-selling, as existing customers have a established trust with the brand. These customers are more receptive to recommendations for additional products or services that complement their existing purchases.

Upselling involves encouraging customers to purchase a higher-end product than the one they are currently interested in, while cross-selling involves suggesting additional products that complement the original purchase. Both strategies lead to increased revenue per customer and enhance the overall customer experience, as customers receive products that better meet their needs and preferences.

Operational Efficiencies

Retaining existing customers contributes to operational efficiencies, as businesses can reduce costs associated with customer acquisition and marketing. Resources can be allocated more effectively, focusing on improving products, services, and customer experience rather than acquiring new customers.

Furthermore, long-term customers provide valuable feedback that can lead to product or service improvements. This continuous loop of feedback and improvement enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty, creating a positive cycle that benefits both the customer and the business.

In conclusion, a high customer retention rate is crucial for the long-term success and profitability of a business. It leads to increased revenue, enhanced customer loyalty, positive word-of-mouth and referrals, and more opportunities for upselling and cross-selling. Additionally, it contributes to operational efficiencies, allowing businesses to allocate resources more effectively and improve their offerings based on customer feedback.

What Is Considered A Good Customer Retention Rate?

A good customer retention rate can vary widely depending on the industry, business model, market conditions, and the specific products or services offered. However, as a general guideline, a retention rate above 20% is often considered acceptable, while a rate above 30% is deemed good. Businesses with retention rates above 50% are typically seen as excelling in customer retention.

In subscription-based industries, such as SaaS (Software as a Service), a customer retention rate above 90% is often considered excellent. On the other hand, industries with more one-time purchases or infrequent purchase cycles might have lower average retention rates.

It’s also important to benchmark your retention rate against industry averages and competitors to get a more accurate sense of where your business stands. Some industries are naturally more competitive, or have products with shorter life cycles, which can lead to lower retention rates.

Factors such as the length of the customer relationship and the customer lifecycle can also impact what is considered a good retention rate. Businesses that have been operating for a longer period of time and have a stable customer base might aim for higher retention rates, while newer businesses or those with shorter customer lifecycles might have lower expectations.

Ultimately, the goal should always be to continuously improve your customer retention rate, as retaining existing customers is generally more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. Strategies such as delivering exceptional customer service, building strong relationships, and continually improving your product or service offerings can contribute to higher retention rates over time.

How To Calculate Customer Retention Rate

Calculating the customer retention rate helps businesses understand how well they are maintaining their existing customer base over a specific period. To calculate it, you can follow these steps:

1. Define the Time Period

Select a specific time period for which you want to calculate the customer retention rate. This could be a month, a quarter, or a year, depending on your business cycle and how you track customer data.

2. Determine the Number of Customers at the Start of the Period (S)

Identify how many customers you had at the beginning of the selected time period. Ensure that this number only includes existing customers and not any new customers acquired during the period.

3. Identify the Number of Customers at the End of the Period (E)

Count the number of customers you have at the end of the time period. This number should include both existing customers who have stayed with you and any new customers acquired during the period.

4. Find Out How Many New Customers Were Acquired During the Period (N)

Determine the number of new customers that you acquired during the selected time period. These are the customers who started purchasing from you within this period.

5. Use the Customer Retention Rate Formula

Apply the customer retention rate formula:


  • E is the number of customers at the end of the period
  • N is the number of new customers acquired during the period
  • S is the number of customers at the start of the period

6. Interpret the Result

The result will give you the customer retention rate as a percentage. A higher percentage indicates a higher retention rate, which is generally a positive indicator of customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Customer Retention Rate Calculation Example

Suppose you started the quarter with 100 customers, acquired 20 new customers during the quarter, and had 110 customers at the end of the quarter.

  • S=100 (customers at the start)
  • N=20 (new customers acquired)
  • E=110 (customers at the end)

In this example, the customer retention rate for the quarter would be 90%, indicating that a high percentage of customers were retained.

It’s important to note that while a high customer retention rate is generally positive, it’s also crucial to consider other factors such as customer satisfaction, lifetime value, and profitability to get a comprehensive understanding of customer loyalty and business health.

Strategies to Improve Customer Retention Rate

Improving the customer retention rate is crucial for long-term business success and profitability. Focusing on customer satisfaction, engagement, and value can lead to more loyal customers, reducing churn and increasing revenue.

 Below are strategies to enhance customer retention:

  1. Deliver Exceptional Customer Service
  2. Build Strong Relationships with Customers
  3. Offer Quality Products and Services
  4. Create a Loyalty Program
  5. Engage Customers Through Multiple Channels
  6. Solicit and Act on Customer Feedback
  7. Implement a Customer Onboarding Program
  8. Foster a Customer-Centric Culture
  9. Analyze and Learn from Churn
  10. Monitor and Evaluate Retention Strategies

Deliver Exceptional Customer Service

Providing outstanding customer service is paramount. Customers appreciate quick responses, helpful solutions, and a friendly attitude. Ensure your customer service team is well-trained, knowledgeable, and empowered to solve customer issues promptly. Utilize customer feedback to continuously improve service quality and address any recurring issues.

Build Strong Relationships with Customers

Building and nurturing relationships with customers helps in creating loyalty. Personalize interactions and communications based on customer preferences and purchase history. Celebrate customer milestones and show appreciation through personalized messages or rewards. Regularly check in with customers to ensure they are satisfied and address any potential issues before they escalate.

Offer Quality Products and Services

Ensuring your products or services meet or exceed customer expectations is fundamental. Invest in quality control and continuous improvement. Gather and act on customer feedback to enhance your offerings. A consistent and reliable product or service builds trust and encourages repeat business.

Create a Loyalty Program

A well-designed loyalty program rewards customers for repeat purchases or other engagement actions. Provide tangible value through discounts, exclusive access, or personalized offers. Ensure the program is simple to understand and participate in, and regularly evaluate and adjust the program to maintain engagement and value.

Engage Customers Through Multiple Channels

Utilize various communication channels to stay in touch with customers and provide them with valuable content. This could include email newsletters, social media updates, or personalized recommendations based on their previous purchases or interactions. Ensure your communications are relevant and add value to maintain customer interest and engagement.

Solicit and Act on Customer Feedback

Actively seek out customer feedback through surveys, reviews, or direct communication. Show customers that their opinions are valued and taken seriously. Implement changes based on feedback and communicate these changes back to customers to demonstrate commitment to their satisfaction.

Implement a Customer Onboarding Program

For businesses that require a learning curve for their product or service, a customer onboarding program can help new customers get up to speed quickly and start seeing value. Provide clear instructions, resources, and support during the initial usage period to ensure a smooth and positive experience.

Foster a Customer-Centric Culture

Creating a culture that prioritizes customer satisfaction across all levels of the organization ensures that every employee understands their role in customer retention. Provide training and resources to enable employees to contribute to customer satisfaction and retention.

Analyze and Learn from Churn

When customers do leave, take the opportunity to learn from the experience. Conduct exit interviews or surveys to understand their reasons for leaving and identify any patterns or areas for improvement. Use this information to make necessary changes and reduce future churn.

Monitor and Evaluate Retention Strategies

Regularly monitor your customer retention rate and other relevant metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of your retention strategies. Be prepared to adjust your approach based on performance and changing customer needs or market conditions.

By focusing on these strategies, businesses can create a positive customer experience, build loyalty, and ultimately improve their customer retention rate. Remember that customer retention is an ongoing effort and requires continuous attention and adaptation to meet evolving customer expectations.


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