15 Winning Customer Retention Examples to Power Up Your Strategy

15 Winning Customer Retention Examples to Power Up Your Strategy cover

Looking for some customer retention examples to inspire your strategy? You’re in the right place.

In this article, we handpicked retention examples from some of the most successful SaaS companies in the world. Read on to see what they’re doing right and why their strategies are so effective. You’ll also learn how to use customer retention software to maximize your retention game.

TL;DR

  • Customer retention is taking proactive steps to engage customers and make them love your product so they’ll keep renewing their subscriptions.
  • Why every SaaS business should be interested in retaining customers: it’s cheaper than acquisition, increases loyalty & customer lifetime value, and helps to increase your revenue.
  • A simple formula to measure customer retention: divide the total number of customers at the end of your desired period by the number of customers at the beginning. Multiply the result by 100.
  • Good CRR depends on the industry, but for SaaS, over 35% is considered good.

Examples of customer retention from inspiring brands:

  • Slack uses a simple onboarding process to engage customers and drive product activation.
  • Facebook does a great job at encouraging customer engagement with different fun banners.
  • Grammarly collects customer data by allowing them to select their writing goals. The company then uses this information to personalize the user onboarding experience.
  • Apple uses social media and other channels to respond promptly to customers.
  • Pinterest uses AI to analyze vast amounts of data and tailor search results for each user.
  • Userpilot offers on-demand self-service support with an in-app resource center.
  • Calendly highlights the importance of customer feedback and uses a 3-format survey to proactively collect it.
  • Asana leverages social proof by dedicating a section on its homepage to showcase client testimonials.
  • Loom uses product tutorials as educational content while also showcasing the platform in action.
  • Baremetrics utilizes social media to celebrate customer success.
  • Thank customers when you reach important milestones. Trello did it when they got to 10 million users.
  • Other strategies: surprise customers with gifts, and use customer loyalty programs of different kinds to keep users engaged with your brand.

What is customer retention?

Customer retention is taking proactive steps to engage customers and make them love your product so they’ll keep renewing their subscriptions. It shows how well a company is able to keep its customers over time.

Why is customer retention so important?

Software companies can’t afford to joke with retention; it’s literally the lifeblood of the SaaS business model. Here’s why…

  • Retention saves you money. Depending on your audience, it costs 5-10 times more to acquire new users than retain your existing customers. And without a retention strategy, you can’t be sure to get back your CAC.
  • An effective customer retention strategy increases customer loyalty and customer lifetime value. That’s not to mention the free marketing you’ll get from loyal customers.
  • Repeat customers generate steady income and are often the most likely to upgrade their accounts.

How to measure customer retention rate

Now that you’re convinced of the power of customer retention, let’s talk about how to measure your retention rate so you can always know how well you’re performing.

Use this simple formula:

Divide the total number of customers at the end of your desired period by the number of customers at the beginning. Multiply the result by 100.

Customer-retention-analysis-retention-rate-formula

Kindly note that the above is just a basic formula. A deep customer retention analysis entails more.

What is a good customer retention rate?

There’s no universal benchmark for a good customer retention rate, as the latter varies based on the industry. The type of service, purchase frequency, and even formula for calculating customer retention differ from one industry to another. Hence, the different interpretations of a “good retention rate.”

For SaaS businesses, over 35% is considered okay, but even this number is generalized. This is why it’s recommended to compare your current CRR with your previous ones instead of chasing benchmarks.

15 customer retention examples and strategies from inspiring brands

The key to winning the retention game is picking the right customer retention strategies—that’s because your business and customers are unique, so not everything will work for you.

This section goes over 15 customer retention examples. We’ll introduce the strategy, show why it works, then give an example.

1. Enhance the onboarding process (Slack)

Your onboarding process is the first experience a customer has with your brand after deciding to use your tool. And you know what they say about impressions—the first goes a long way in shaping perception.

This maxim couldn’t be more true in SaaS. As a matter of fact, 80% of customers report deleting an app because they don’t know how to use it. And in a similar report, 74% of potential users say they’ll switch to competitors if a company’s onboarding process is too complicated.

Making intentional efforts to wow, guide, and educate customers through your onboarding process will significantly impact your ability to retain them. They’ll reach the aha moment quickly on your product and see reasons to continue using the app.

With these in mind, it’s no surprise that successful SaaS companies take user onboarding seriously. Slack is a good example; the company streamlines its onboarding process with the help of tooltips that familiarize the user with key features without overwhelming them with too much info.

Slack-onboarding-example

Still, on onboarding, it’s important to provide users with a frictionless process, especially if you’re using a self-service onboarding approach. You can check our 2022 State of SaaS Onboarding Report if you’re curious about frictionless onboarding and how other companies are implementing it.

2. Gamify user experience (Facebook)

Gamification uses rewards, fun elements, and challenges to make the customer experience more exciting and increase engagement. This helps to prevent customer churn due to loss of interest in the product.

Facebook does a great job at encouraging user engagement with different fun banners. If you’re active on the app, chances are you’ve received different badges for engaging on Facebook. If you’ve not, here’s an example:

facebook-badge-notification-ui-modal-customer-retention-examples

3. Use data to personalize (Grammarly)

Customers love personalization. It makes them feel like you understand their needs, and they begin to trust you more. The key to proper personalization is gathering as many details as possible about your customers. This data will enable you to group customers based on demographics, preferences, behavior, etc., and deliver more targeted experiences.

Grammarly collects customer data by allowing them to select their writing goals. The company then uses this information to personalize the user onboarding experience, a process that naturally improves customer satisfaction and retention.

Grammarly-personalized-goals-example

Userpilot helps companies like yours to collect data and properly segment users to deliver customized in-app experiences. Here’s a screenshot showing how user segmentation is done on our app:

user-segmentation-customer-retention

4. Be responsive (Apple)

Responsive communication and support are one of the best ways to build trust with customers. Of course, not all issues can be resolved immediately, but telling customers you’ve received their complaints and will get back asap goes a long way.

If you’re using an autoresponder for the above function, also ensure to provide customers with resources they can use to troubleshoot while waiting for a human agent.

Apple is one of the most customer-centric companies in the world. The screenshot below is an example of how responsive and empathic their customer support is.

responsive-support-example-from-Apple-customer-retention-examples

5. Automate with AI (Pinterest)

Automation helps you increase customer satisfaction by enabling you to serve them at scale without keeping anyone waiting.

And when you add AI to the mix? The result is an explosion of happy customers. Think back to the last time you were on Amazon or any modern e-commerce platform. How did you feel when the website/app recommended a product you absolutely needed but hadn’t searched for?

Elated? That’s the power of AI. Used well, artificial intelligence will help you collect and analyze data to learn more about users and predict customer behavior.

Pinterest uses AI to analyze huge amounts of data and tailor search results for each user. It’s little wonder the platform has many sticky users, and their strategy is one of the most successful customer retention examples out there.

Pinterest-AI-customized-search

6. Offer self-service support (Userpilot)

The high point of customer service is delivering support where customers spend their time the most—whether that’s your website, mobile app, email, or social media. The idea is to make support super convenient for them.

SaaS customers spend a lot of time on the platform because that’s where they get work done. So it makes sense to have an in-app support center that customers can always visit when confused. With a robust self-serve center, your users won’t have to leave the app to resolve issues and won’t even need to contact a human support agent unless the problem requires it. The advantage is that customers get to spend more time on your product and become fond of it.

Your self-service center should be as exhaustive as possible. Also, add multiple content formats to make it engaging.

Userpilot offers on-demand self-service support with an extensive in-app resource center that was built with, you guessed it, Userpilot.

video-tutorial-playing-in-app-resource-center-userpilot

 

7. Actively ask for feedback (Calendly)

Customer feedback plays an important role in shaping your product and driving customer retention. While there are many channels and types of feedback, the most direct way to get honest opinions is to ask customers.

Feedback should be regular practice in your company, but keep in mind that collecting customer opinions for the sake of it doesn’t change anything. For real improvements, you’ll need to be proactive in support, gain and analyze feedback, and make intentional changes based on your analysis.

Feedback has never been easier with user sentiment software like Userpilot. Our tool enables you to send, track, and analyze different types of customer feedback surveys with ease.

In the example below, Calendly highlights the importance of customer feedback and uses a 3-format survey to proactively collect it.

feedback-collection-calendly-customer-retention-examples

8. Leverage social proof (Asana)

Customers will rather trust what a random stranger says about your brand than any of your marketing messages. The logic is simple: brands have everything to gain, but the stranger is only sharing their experience, so if anyone is going to sugarcoat anything, it will be the company.

User-generated content has come to stay; you can’t change that. What you can do, however, is partner with existing customers to build more trust with your audience.

How? By leveraging online reviews, social media testimonials, podcasts, case studies, etc. Put these content pieces where customers and prospects can engage with them.

See how Asana dedicates an entire section on their homepage to showcasing client testimonials.

Asana-social-proof-example

9. Share useful content (Loom)

Educational content isn’t just a tool for customer acquisition. It also helps you retain customers—if your content is valuable, it will show them how to solve their problems and how to use your tool more effectively. They’ll keep returning for more of that.

In fact, if your content is extremely helpful, users will continue visiting even after they stop using your product.

In the example below, Loom uses onboarding video tutorials as educational content that also showcases the platform in action.

customer-retention-examples-videos-loom

10. Stay active on social media (Baremetrics)

Social media is a good way to integrate your brand into your customers’ lifestyles. It’s less formal, so many people prefer it as a means to stay in touch with brands. Being active on social media shows that your business is always available, creates a sense of community, and increases customer loyalty & retention in the long run.

Social media can also be used for social listening to gain customer insights and join conversations about your brand.

Baremetrics shows us a great customer retention example by using social media to celebrate a customer’s success.

baremetrics-active-on-social-media

11. Take the time to thank customers (Trello)

A simple thank-you message can go a long way in endearing your brand to the customer. Many companies send thank-you notes after a purchase completion or during Thanksgiving. That’s nice, but it’s also worth thanking customers for their active support, feedback, review, or when your company reaches a milestone.

Trello executed this quite well with their thank-you email when the company reached 10 million users.

Trello_thank_you_milestone_email

12. Surprise with gifts and rewards (Userpilot)

Customer satisfaction is great, but you can take things further with customer delight, which is all about exceeding customer expectations.

Gifts and rewards always work in this regard. Just see how delighted our customer was when Userpilot sent him an unexpected dream user shirt:

userpilot-customer-delight-example
Customer delight example by Userpilot.

13. Encourage customer referrals (Dropbox)

Happy customers are the best brand advocates. However, a good chunk of them wouldn’t spread the word about you until you provide a small push in the form of a referral program.

A good referral program delivers rewards customers care about—this can be anything from monetary benefits to free access to premium features. Well executed, your referral program also has the power to convert ordinary customers into loyal fans.

Dropbox is a file-hosting service provider, so offering customers extra storage space for referring others worked like magic. This referral program helped the company not only increase customer retention but also go viral in its early days.

Dropbox-customer-referral-program

14. Promote loyalty programs (Evernote)

Loyalty programs work like referrals. The difference is that a customer loyalty program has a broader scope—you reward customers for performing key actions on the app, and referrals may just be one of those actions. For instance, you could instead reward customers for renewing their subscriptions or upgrading their accounts.

Your rewards can be discounts, random gifts, free service, or anything else you think the customer will appreciate. The key is to offer something of real value to win customer loyalty in the long run.

As an example of this retention strategy in action, see how Evernote allows customers to accumulate loyalty points for inviting friends.

evernote-loyalty-program-customer-retention-examples

15. Unite around a mission (Whereby)

Do you know why people can’t stop attending religious gatherings, the gym, yoga classes, conferences, etc.?

It’s because they get to meet like-minded people that share the same beliefs or aspirations as them. In other words, they’re united by a mission and shared values.

You can create a parallel of that in your app by having a compelling mission that your users can relate to. This mission will build an emotional bond between you and the customer that’s beyond transactional, contributing to long-term customer happiness.

Consider this example from Whereby:

whereby-customer-retention-examples

By being vocal about its mission, the company created a community of like-minded people that want to see the mission actualized.

Conclusion

As mentioned earlier, not all the customer retention examples in this article may resonate with you. Pick the retention strategies that work for your brand and run with them. Also, always measure the success of your customer retention strategies and make adjustments based on performance.

Userpilot can help you implement the customer retention examples shared above and drive more customer loyalty. Book a demo to get started.

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