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Companies, organizations, enterprises, large, or small businesses—it doesn’t matter which category you belong to; paying close attention to your customers is essential to the success of your business.
If you want to understand and meet the needs of your customers, a customer retention dashboard and its associated metrics will help you monitor, analyze, and manage multiple customer-centric points while showing you how they echo in your business.
Customer retention metrics are especially powerful in the SaaS & B2B arena, where different packages and subscription models have immense value in defining the quality of the company, the possibility to establish itself on the market, and the chance to generate sustainable development.
To help you understand the value of retention metrics, we will look at the modern customer retention dashboard and KPIs in detail. We will also explore reports created with dashboard tools and delve deep while considering why a customer retention dashboard is so important in today’s digital world.
Let’s get started.
What Is a Customer Retention Dashboard?
A customer retention dashboard is a visual tool used to track key customer-centric metrics such as retention rate, churn rates, MRR growth, and the number of loyal customers. That way, a business generates detailed insights about its health and growth opportunities.
To reach success in our competitive environment, businesses must put customers first. This notion is not only important for SaaS companies but also in the B2C area such as online shops. While we will focus our examples on the B2B SaaS businesses, each company, no matter the size or business model, should focus its efforts on retaining clients, and continuously optimizing the customer retention analysis process in order to save time and money. It's a known fact that acquiring new customers can be expensive, therefore, customer retention metrics shouldn't be disregarded but, on the contrary, monitored regularly. A professional dashboard maker can help in the process, but let's see this through some visual examples of customer retention.
Our Customer Retention Dashboard Example
Measuring customer retention with modern and professional software is critical for any SaaS business that wants to establish a healthy relationship with its customers, share the knowledge with internal teams, and keep a positive business development environment. Let's take a closer look at how dashboards for retention look in a SaaS environment.
**click to enlarge**
This business dashboard starts with an at-a-glance overview of the net promoter score (NPS), loyal customer rate, the percentage of premium users, and the customer lifetime value (CLV). These SaaS retention metrics depend on the specific company's policies and the way that they define whether a customer is considered loyal or premium. Usually, the premium categorization is considered as customers that subscribe to the biggest package that a SaaS business offers but it can also depend, as mentioned. Below this quick overview, you can see the comparison between the last month and the previous period, therefore, you can conclude that the net promoter score is a bit lower while other top metrics of this SaaS dashboard have a positive development.
Doing exceptional work for your clients and customers is a critical point of this dashboard because customers will cancel their subscriptions if they're not satisfied with your business and simply go elsewhere. The next parts, organized into 4 main areas will show you the details of how successful your strategies work: the customer and revenue churn, net retention, and MRR.
Retention and churn are the pillars of successful business optimization since both are closely connected but describe different things. Our customer churn analysis example shows that the total percentage amounts to almost 17% for the past 12 months. The development is clearly shown in a line chart where users can immediately see how it behaved during the specific time frame. Here we need to emphasize that, in this calculation, the cancellations and downgrades are both included because they both affect the revenue, especially if bigger packages are downgraded to the smallest ones which can cause significant effects.
At the bottom of the dashboard, you can see the other 2 areas focused on net retention and MRR. The graph on the left shows that the business is quite stable, slightly lower in comparison to the previous period but the development on the bottom graph shows the details between the number of lost customers, new customers, and the retention rate. Some months performed better while others could use additional examination with the help of a BI dashboard software to create better and more lucrative strategies for the future.
Finally, the monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is an increasingly important part of developing and sustaining a profitable SaaS company. These kinds of dashboards for customer retention should show the details of the MRR: growth for the last month, total, and growth rate over the course of 11 months. You can see that January shows a decline in the growth rate, which can possibly mean that clients canceled their subscriptions at the end of the year.
If you're eager to create such an interactive visual, we suggest you read our guide on how to create a dashboard.
In the next part of the article, we will focus on retention metrics examples, similar to the ones depicted on the customer service retention dashboard above, but they can also be adjusted for specific business uses, as mentioned earlier.
Key Customer Retention Metrics Examples
Since we explained the exact customer retention dashboard definition, provided you with a data story of a stable SaaS business that can brainstorm ideas to grow further. Now we will talk about each metric in detail and why they are important in establishing a proper process on how to measure customer retention.
1. Net Customer Retention
The monthly net retention is a critical metric that contributes to growth and it can cause significant differences in revenue generation over longer periods of time. If you don't cherish and develop positive relationships with your customers, it will show in the numbers and cause an impact on the bottom line.
To get a better understanding of underlying customer dynamics, the net retention will show you the number of lost customers, new customers, and the net retention rate but, in the visual above, calculations only include cancellations to get a clear picture of the customer's behavior towards the product. You can see that some months have achieved more success than others but that doesn't have to be discouraging, it simply shows that the business should examine in more detail why customers canceled and improve the product or service for the future. For example, if you find that customers are frustrated with how difficult it is to get in contact with customer service to get their problems solved, consider investing in technologies such as unified communications as a service system.
2. MRR Growth Rate
The MRR is a metric that gives SaaS companies the most accurate status checkup. The recurring components will enable you to forecast the financial future much better, and give you a clear understanding of your business development and whether you need further adjustments.
In the example above, we can see that in the last 12 months the MRR grew by more than 7% and the rate over a longer period of time seems stable but, as always, there is room to grow even more. To learn more about the details of the importance and management of the MRR, we suggest you read our guide on the topic of monthly recurring revenue.
3. Customer Churn
Customer churn is another critical metric that affects the SaaS client retention processes. Also known as customer attrition, this metric will show you the exact percentage of customers that stopped using your product or service. It's crucial to keep this percentage as low as possible since lower churn rates mean your customers are loyal, and satisfied with the product, and will not turn their backs on you.
This visual above, created with a customer retention dashboard tool, shows the monthly churn rate that includes cancellations and downgrades. In a wide sense, churn can also mean the closure of an account, the decision to stop buying and use another provider, etc., but that depends on which industry you work in. The point is to keep the churn low and provide exceptional customer service by defining clear goals, continuously exceeding customers' expectations, and listening to your customer's needs.
4. Revenue Churn
The revenue churn also refers to loss, but that of revenue. It can happen due to lost contracts, downgrades, bankruptcies, etc. It assesses the degree to which customers spend over a period of time, and, if they spend more in the current period than in the previous one, this is shown as a negative revenue churn.
In the example above, we can see that in the last month and last year, the churn rate was negative and that signals a positive development. The progress on a monthly period is shown in a simple line chart where you can immediately identify which months performed best and learn from the ones that haven't achieved success.
5. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
One of the vital sales KPIs related to customer retention, CLV offers a definitive visual indication of how much revenue your repeat or loyal customers are driving to your business. Closely linked to the cost per acquisition (CAC) metric, frequently tracking your CLV will empower you to understand how much revenue you can expect from a customer during your relationship. This indicator will help you identify trends, make accurate projections, and take valuable measures to steadily increase your CLV rates over time.
6. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
One of the most vital user retention metrics for any modern business, NPS is an indicator that will tell you how people perceive your business and the level of service it offers. A powerful means of evaluating the power of your referrals, your NPS score will tell you how many people are likely to recommend or promote your brand. Here’s how it works:
You ask your customers how likely they are to recommend your brand on a scale of 1-10. Their responses put them into one of three NPS groups:
- Promoters (9-10)
- Passives (7-8)
- Detractors (0-6)
By taking the percentage of the customers that fall into the ‘promoter’ category (9 - 10) and subtracting that figure from the ‘detractors’ (0 - 6), you'll get your definitive NPS score. If you track this metric regularly, you can evaluate the right customer-focused areas of your business and take measures to improve your NPS score. When you do that, you will retain more customers, and grow your business in the process. The NPS is easily calculated with the help of a customer service analytics tool.
7. Monthly Active Users
Another relevant metric to include in your customer retention reports is the monthly active users. It tracks the number of active users for your product or service. As you have seen throughout this list of examples, your retaining efforts englobe a lot of areas and while the MUA is not directly related to your retaining strategies it can shine a light on problems that can help you boost it. For instance, you can analyze complications they face, drop-off points, and features that they don’t use that much. By doing so, you can optimize the experience and increase loyalty.
8. Repeat Purchase Ratio (RPR)
The perfect addition to any churn rate dashboard, RPR is a retention metric that provides a clear indication of the percentage of customers that have bought goods or services from your businesses more than once. A powerful means of quantifying customer loyalty, analyzing your RPR allows you to accurately assess the performance and impact of your various consumer retention initiatives. Using the RPR, you can see which segments of your customers are making the most repeat purchases, tweaking your marketing campaigns and messaging to inspire customer loyalty across a wider cross-section of your audience.
9. Customer Satisfaction
When it comes to understanding a user retention rate of any kind, gaining an insight into how your customers perceive you is essential. Customer satisfaction is integral to the ongoing health, growth, and success of your business, and this powerful customer retention rate metric will help you pinpoint any potential issues that are harming your reputation. By working closely with this customer satisfaction metric, you will get a clear snapshot of how your customers feel about your business from a range of ‘very unsatisfied’ to ‘very satisfied.’ In turn, you can get to the heart of any potential customer issues, improve your service & communications, and drive your satisfaction rates through the roof.
10. Product Return Rate
Next in our list of metrics for customer retention is the product return rate. If you’re a business that sells tangible goods and products, monitoring this metric will give you a panoramic snapshot of how many items were sent back to you over a certain timeframe. While people send back products for a number of reasons, returns are rarely positive and outline an issue, either with services or the goods themselves. Measuring your product return rate regularly will give you a greater insight into specific goods or service problems, empowering you to nip any issues in the bud, drive returns down, and ultimately, keep your customers happy.
11. Customer Loyalty Rate
Directly linked to the repeat purchase ratio, the customer loyalty rate is a valuable metric to understand how committed tour customers are to your business. It is calculated by dividing the total number of customers that purchased more than once by the total number of customers for the observed period. It is useful to know who are your most loyal clients as they are the ones that will spread the word about your brand and the ones that will bring more revenue to it as well. It is a useful practice to ask loyal clients about their experiences and use them as testimonials for the quality of your products and services.
12. Customer Retention
This most valuable of customer retention KPIs offers a definitive visual marker of customer loyalty. Retaining repeat customers is cheaper than acquiring new ones. Plus, the more loyal consumers you have, the better your brand reputation will become. That said, tracking your customer retention is important. This powerful customer retention report metric allows you to set a target while monitoring your retention rates over a set timeframe, giving you the tools needed for improving loyalty consistently.
13. Time Between Purchases
When it comes to customer retention analysis, knowing how frequently people buy products from your business will give you a deep level of consumer insights while allowing you to make accurate strategic projections surrounding your sales, service, and marketing initiatives. By comparing this metric to your customer satisfaction and NPS scores, you will quickly begin to understand whether a lot of downtime between purchases is because your product is well-built and robust (positive), or if it fails to stand out from your competitors’ offerings and your customers are shopping elsewhere (negative). This level of intelligence will give you the tools to evaluate what you sell and how you sell it, allowing you to make valuable strategic decisions that increase repeat purchase frequency over time.
14. Return Reason
This straightforward KPI is arguably one of the most valuable ones when it comes to understanding the reasons for a client to churn. When the rate of return is too high, it is very likely that people will lose trust in your company and not buy again from it. For this reason, taking a deeper look into the reasons for return can help you tackle the most common issues to avoid them from happening again. Of course, some return reasons are out of your control such as the item not fitting, but others such as defective or wrong items are and can significantly damage your relationship with existing and potential customers, therefore it is important to assess it carefully.
15. Days Sales Outstanding
The DSO is a client retention analytics metric that describes the average number of days that receivables remain outstanding before being collected from clients. While this indicator is mostly used to show the ability of a company to manage its receivables efficiently, it can also be used to evaluate your retention efforts. The longer the DSO, the more it’s taking customers to pay their bills which could mean a number of things such as payers being dissatisfied with your products or services, or your sales team closing deals with prospects that are not financially sufficient.
16. Existing Customer Growth Rate
Moving on with our metrics to measure customer retention, this KPI measures the rate at which your company is generating revenue from existing customers. As you’ve probably learned by now, existing customers account for around 60% of your total sales, therefore, tracking and optimizing this KPI can have a significantly positive impact on your profitability. Naturally, you want to keep this rate as high as possible by implementing smart marketing strategies that will motivate your customers to buy more from you. A low growth rate can translate into lower sales but also more money in acquiring new customers which is four times more expensive than retaining your old ones, as we’ve mentioned a couple of times already. It is important to remember that this KPI is calculated only considering the revenue generated from existing customers. It can be measured on an individual level or as a total rate.
17. Purchase History
As its name suggests, the purchase history provides a historical record of what your customers have bought from you including the item, price, and time of purchase. It is a KPI that is tight to the one we just described above as it can provide valuable insights into the preferences of a specific customer and generate targeted strategies that will boost engagement and retention. This KPI can be measured from an individual customer perspective or from a specific product and it can help you segment customers based on their preferences to gain deeper insights and target them in the correct way.
18. Renewal Frequency
This next customer retention KPI is for SaaS businesses and it tracks the rate of customers that renew their subscriptions after they expire. Obviously, the higher the rate, the more successful the business’s retention strategy. Therefore, keeping this KPI at the top of the list can reap great rewards in the long run. Especially considering how increasingly competitive the SaaS market is becoming every day. Ideally, your renewal frequency should be over 80% and to get there it is necessary to dive deeper into customer behaviors and identify the ones that are less likely to renew their subscription. For instance, users that are not interacting a lot with the service are considered more likely to churn. Therefore, being in close contact with them and offering what they need to see the value in your product is a good way to make them renew.
19. Upsell and Cross-sell Rate
The upsell and cross-sell rate KPI tracks the effectiveness of your efforts to make your customers buy more from you. Upsell refers to persuading them to buy a more expensive product or subscription package while cross-sell refers to suggesting complementary products. For example, suggesting an Iphone case to someone that is buying an Iphone. Implementing and tracking the success of upselling and cross-selling can have a positive impact on your average order value and revenue but, most importantly, it can provide more value to customers making them satisfied and engaged. Hence, increasing retention and lowering acquisition costs.
20. First Call Resolution
Your efforts to retain a customer should go further than just providing a good shopping experience from the moment they place an order to the moment they receive the order. It should go all the way to the end of their journey which means providing an excellent support system if they have an issue with their order. That leads us to our last KPI which tracks the first call resolution. This indicator will tell you the rate at which your service team can solve an issue in the first call without having to transfer it to another agent or make the customer wait for several minutes for a solution. It is a fundamental metric to track as a bad support experience can ruin all the efforts and progress you made from the other stages of your customer journey. A good way to optimize this metric is to improve your agent’s communication skills or put plans in place for repeating issues so that the solution will be easy. To learn more about this indicator, check our customer service KPIs library.
Why Is Customer Retention Analytics Important?
Now that you understand the concept of customer retention data analytics and the power of using visual metrics to understand your consumers on a deeper level, let’s consider why using online dashboards and reports to improve loyalty is vital.
First of all, in today’s hyper-connected digital world, consumers expect a flawless level of customer service and experience from brands. No exceptions. If you prioritize your service, experience, and messaging, you will retain more customers. And when you do that, your business will grow, and you will set yourself apart from the pack.
By investing in customer retention reporting using modern dashboards you will be able to understand the factors hindering your customer loyalty rates and take targeted actions to boost retention. Here’s why retention analytics is worth your time and effort:
Growth & profitability
Analyzing the behaviors and satisfaction rates of your customers will give you the tools to encourage loyalty. This is a valuable initiative, as not only is keeping customers more cost-effective than gaining new ones, but loyal customers will also act as brand referrers or advocates, helping you grow your business faster with minimal outgoings. Existing customers are around 70% more likely to make a purchase than brand new prospects: demonstrate that you understand their needs and you will boost your sales. Retention analytics will help you do just that.
Expanding on our previous point: By turning one-time customers into repeat purchasing advocates, you will also boost your brand reputation. Happy repeat customers that refer others will shine your brand in a brilliant light, sharing positive reviews, testimonials, and content online. In turn, this will boost your authority in search engines, build consumer trust, and empower you to grow your audience organically (with less marketing spend) while gaining an edge over the competition.
Evolution & responsivity
Customer retention analytics is the most effective way of keeping track of relevant trends and understanding the ever-changing needs of your audience. When it comes to customer retention, the goalposts are always moving. By working with the right mix of data analysis tools, you will be able to respond to constant change and evolve your efforts to continually retain customers and inspire loyalty. Doing so will ensure you stay on top of your game, not only in the short term but long in the future.
Tips To Boost Customer Retention Using Data
Now that you have seen why dashboards and metrics are so valuable to get a 360-view of your customers, we will guide you through a few tips and best practices you need to perform in order to boost your retention rates using data. Studies show that increasing your client retention rates by 5% can lead to an increase in profits of 25 to 95%. Taking that into account, investing resources in improving performance in this area is a no-brainer. Below we tell you how you can achieve it.
1. Assess your current situation
Naturally, before planning any strategies, it is important to assess your current situation. You should start by using your historical data to calculate your customer retention and churn rates as well as the financial implications of the two. To efficiently do so, it is necessary to look into your customer's behaviors and identify at which point of their journey they are most likely to churn. This will serve as a guide to understanding exactly which areas you need to improve and what actions you are going to take to get to prevent customers from leaving later on.
Paired with that, you should also define what customer retention actually means for your company. The concept can have many meanings depending on the industry and type of business, therefore, it is important to clarify it to keep everyone on the same page. Likewise, you should also define the end goal of increasing your retention rates. Which can be to optimize retention costs, increase business revenue, and improve customer relationships, among others.
With your customer retention data in hand, you can ask yourself questions that will help you map what you want to achieve. For instance, some of these questions might include: Are customer lifecycles too short? How many of them are churning? How long does it take them to purchase again? With the answers to these questions, you should be able to define clear and realistic goals as well as areas in which you should focus your efforts.
2. Segment your customers
If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you are aware of what a powerful tool data is. Many businesses fail to target the right customers because they are using old methods that are not effective in today’s fast-paced world. That said, data is there at your fingertips and it hides a number of insights regarding customers' behaviors and preferences that can lead you to generate unique experiences.
If you are not targeting the right customers it is very likely that your churn rates will be higher. To avoid this, do a clear segmentation of your customer base which can be based on annual spending, job title, level of education, or any other characteristics that are valuable to your business. Once you do this, you’ll be able to focus only on high-quality leads and build experiences that will boost retention. For instance, you can separate target clients into smaller groups based on their preferences and offer them personalized promotions.
3. Gather your data
So far, you have assessed your current situation and segmented customers into targeted groups to meet their specific preferences and needs. Now, it is time to gather some valuable data that will provide some extra insight into the reasons why your customers churn. For instance, you can perform feedback surveys to ask them the reasons why they are not subscribing to your service or purchasing your products anymore. In doing so, you can find gain valuable insights into product features, subscription packages, or even your customer service. Based on those answers, you can also look into other valuable data sources such as past purchases, customer service issues, social media comments, and more.
4. Use predictions
There are many methods and techniques businesses use to extract the maximum potential out of their customer retention data. One of them is predictive analytics, which is used to identify trends and patterns and generate accurate forecasts about what could happen in the future. It does this by analyzing current and historical data and finding relationships within the information.
When it comes to customer retention, using predictive analytics models can prove particularly useful in various scenarios:
- It can help you pinpoint common churn reasons so you can prevent them from happening again.
- It enables you to understand the likelihood of retention so you can separate customers and target them differently depending on their level of loyalty. For instance, sending re-engagement campaigns to the ones that are at risk of churning. Or retargeting campaigns to the loyal ones.
- It can also help you analyze past purchasing decisions to understand when a customer is likely to buy again. As well as which products are more relevant.
- And it can help you calculate revenue value per customer so you can focus your efforts on the ones that bring more value, among many other things.
5. Use text analytics
Paired with predictive analytics, another way of gathering valuable insights from your clients is to use text analytics. Essentially, this technology uses machine learning and natural language processing to analyze any type of text data and understand the sentiment behind it. It can be particularly useful to analyze survey responses, product reviews, and social media comments, just to name a few.
By using a text analytics tool, you can find pain points as well as understand the general sentiment customers have towards your business as well as their general expectations. There is no better way to improve than listening to what clients are telling you.
6. Select your KPIs and metrics
Now that you have a clear understanding of what your customers expect from you and what success looks like, it is time to start tracking the success of your efforts. To do so, it is necessary to select KPIs that will serve as a performance tracker and will tell you how far are you from reaching your goals. As you saw previously with our list of examples, there are various metrics and KPIs you can track to measure the success of your retention efforts. While many businesses might be tracking the same ones, it is important to set targets or benchmarks that are attainable and realistic to the current state of the company. If you don’t do this, it is very likely that you will set yourself up for failure, as you are not considering your current situation. If you want to understand how to set the right KPI targets and goals, then take a look at our complete guide on the topic.
7. Support yourself with the right tools
Dealing with massive amounts of customer retention data is not an easy task. This paired with the fact that data needs to be handled by multiple departments working together towards a common goal makes it even more of a challenge. That being said, there is a wide range of online data analysis tools available to make your life a lot easier.
A dashboard designer such as datapine offers you the possibility to merge all your data sources into one single dashboard that can be easily shared and accessed from any deceive with an internet connection. This facilitates collaboration between departments and makes the work more cohesive and efficient. Additionally, the data is displayed in real-time making it easier to adjust your retention strategies if they are not going as planned. This leads us to our next and final point.
8. Be mindful of security and privacy
As you probably already know, data privacy and security are probably one of the biggest concerns for digital businesses today. Amongst the massive volumes of information your business collects about customers, it is sensitive information such as names, addresses, credit card numbers, and more. If not protected, all this sensitive data is exposed to breaches and cyberattacks that will not only negatively affect your business but your customers individually. A breach of privacy can lead to a massive loss of customer loyalty, a damaged reputation, and legal repercussions. Therefore, being mindful of security and privacy when collecting, managing, and storing customer data is of utmost importance as it will directly affect retention but also the health of your business as a whole.
9. Start generating and tracking strategies
Once you’ve gone through the process of gathering data and generating insights from it using professional BI software, it is time to start building strategies to meet the goals you defined earlier in the process. Your strategies, of course, will depend on the industry and the type of customer you are targeting. For example, the apparel industry can boost retention by providing an excellent first shopping experience. After all, if that first experience goes perfectly, it is very likely that person will come back for more. On the other hand, a coffee shop can generate a strategy to boost retention by remanding their customers when it is time to get a new pack of coffee.
10. Adjust when necessary
Last but not least, we recommend you always adjust your strategies according to the current context. Rather you reached your goals or not, we live in a fast-paced world that is constantly changing and if you want to stay successful you need to act on changes as soon as they occur. If you grew your business and started offering new products or services, it is necessary to adapt your data to ensure you are making the most out of all your available resources.
Key Takeaways On Customer Retention Dashboards & Metrics
We’ve explained the importance of the churn and retention rate, explored a host of powerful retention metrics examples, looking at the net retention rate & customer retention KPI formula, and one thing is clear: retention or loyalty analytics is essential to ongoing business growth. We are living in an increasingly competitive time where the customer is well and truly in the driver’s seat.
Understand your business processes and service methods as well as the needs or thoughts of your customers on a deeper level, and you will set yourself apart from your competitors. Work with the right BI dashboards, reports, and KPIs, and you will see your retention rates soar. When that happens, you will experience more success than you imagined possible.
To start your own journey and utilize modern customer retention dashboard software, you can sign up for datapine's 14-day trial, completely free!