Customer retention is a practice of ideating clues that will perform to pursue the likability and dislikes of the customer in a way that shall result in occupying business from the same customer over a long period.

Let’s simplify this with an example: Apart from being a multi-billion dollar conglomerate, what does Apple possess that sets itself apart from other companies? It is the trust of the customers in the business and the business’s valued effort to serve them to the fullest. And what does this tell us? That building trust is of utmost importance before targeting your customers with your products. 

Earlier, businesses dominated with a monopoly by occupying a greater power of control over people’s choices. The internet era, however, changed this scenario with the introduction of interactive communications channels. Soon after entering this new era, companies confronted fierce competition from new set-ups and start-ups, which brought innovation, technical advancements, and higher visibility to the table. 

Along with these, customer interaction also became a central part of redrafting the business structure. Getting feedback from customers helped businesses to identify the desirable areas and the disliked operations of their business, thus, creating a scope for improvement. 

Continuous customer interaction has allowed businesses to stay in touch with people’s tastes and trends, which helped businesses establish a loyal customer base. This is where the term ‘customer retention’ comes into the picture. 

Before employing any idea to attract customers to the business, it is important to fully understand their needs and choices. Without knowing these three elements, it would not be possible for businesses to retain their customers. Here, the question that comes to mind is, what is customer retention? 

What is customer retention?

Assume that there is Company ‘A’ which provides car-maintaining solutions to customers. The owner of the company has a practice of asking each customer to provide feedback on how the company has served them. The feedback is bifurcated into four sections: good, satisfactory, fair, and bad. Now, every time the customer marks the service as good, the owner asks for the reason that the customer felt it was a good experience. 

Similarly, he asks every customer to associate a reason with their feedback, thus making him understand the areas of improvement and the areas with non-improvement. Taking this into consideration, the owner makes necessary changes abiding by the feedback received. Looking at the owner’s loyalty to their demand, the customer feels indebted to be associated with his service for a good long time. 

In this way, the owner helps his business to keep his older customers and acquire new ones. This business tactic of keeping customers loyal to the service of the business for a prolonged time is called customer retention practice. 

However, this term has gone through some technical advancements to change from its technical definition. The digital world calls for evidence that proves that customer retention helps businesses to grow.

Thus, the metrics to calculate the success of a customer retention campaign has changed over a while. Digital ads, social media ad campaigns, and other strategies can be tracked easily with given numbers, thus allowing businesses to see if the strategy is working or not. 

Also read: Customer Retention Strategies that work 

How to measure the effectiveness of a customer retention strategy?

Here we bring to you some of the most common parameters that can be used to measure the success of any customer retention strategy:

  • Customer churn out rate

The first and foremost metric of calculating the success of any strategy is knowing the customer churn out rate. This means analyzing the customer’s activity. Analyzing is important because it tells you the difference between “how often did the customer visit your business” and “how often is the customer visiting your business currently.” 

Tracking a customer’s activity gives the business an idea about why the customer stopped receiving any services from the business and what had motivated them to start a service in the past. Here is a simple formula to calculate customer churn out rate:

Annual Churn Ratio = (Number of Customers at Start of Year – Number of Customers at the End of Year) / Number of Customers at Start of Year

  • Revenue churn rate

Another important metric of calculating customer retention success or failure is the revenue churn rate. Revenue churn rate calculates the percentage of revenue that a business has lost from its existing customer for a given period. 

Revenue churn rate gives an overview of the customer’s health and satisfaction. If the existing customer is lowering his spending on the services of the business, the customer relations team should quickly trace back the problems and make up for the flaws with qualified discounts, offers, or better services. A simple formula to calculate revenue churn rate can be: 

Monthly Revenue Churn Rate = [(MRR at Start of Month – MRR at the End of Month) – MRR in Upgrades during Month] / MRR at Start of Month

  • Repeat purchase ratio

Repeat Purchase Ratio defines the volume of purchases of a particular product or service made by a customer. RPR is one of the finest indicators of customer loyalty. RPR provides deep insights into a customer’s persona, defined by their demographic presence, earning strength, age, etc.

This helps businesses establish a planned strategy to provide customers with a better and advanced quality of product or service, thereby allowing customers to repeat their purchase. A simple formula to calculate repeat purchase ratio is: 

Repeat Purchase Ratio = Number of Returning Customers / Number of Total Customers

  • Time between purchases

An important feature to know whether a business is retaining its customer is by knowing the time spent between a customer’s present purchase and past purchase. The analysis of this feature bears two possibilities: the customer has changed their routine, or the customer has changed their buyer preference. 

Comparing the time of purchases with other customer satisfaction metrics is a good way to know the overall strengths and weaknesses of a business. A simple formula to calculate the time between purchases ratio is: 

Time Between Purchases = Sum of Individual Purchase Rates / Number of Repeat Customers

While these are only some of the metrics that act as a good scorekeeper for businesses, the other metrics that can be applied to calculate customer retention succession are:

  • Product return rate – wherein the business tracks how often the customer has returned a product.
  • Customer lifetime value – which defines the revenue that is generated by an individual customer over a period.
  • Outstanding revenue period – which defines the period for which a particular amount is kept outstanding by a customer. 

All in all, customer retention is a valued component of any business growth strategy and should be minutely adhered to and planned to build a better, greater business prospect for the future.


An avid football fan and a Fintech enthusiast.

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