Retention Analysis: 6 Steps To Analyze & Report On Retention (2023)

The efficiency of customer retention efforts is hard to underestimate. With 80% of your future profits coming from 20% of existing customers, the ability to keep them loyal is the key to success.

Your customer retention results depend on your ability to analyze them. Knowing when to make a small change or where to take a sharp turn can help you capitalize on retention efforts and cut marketing costs.

Let's dive a little deeper into what customer retention analysis is and how to get the most out of it.

Table of contents:

What is retention analysis?
How retention analysis works
How to conduct retention analysis
Understanding your retention metrics

What is retention analysis?

Retention analysis (or survival analysis) is the process of analyzing user metrics to understand how and why customers churn. Retention analysis is key to gain insights on how to maintain a profitable customer base by improving retention and new user acquisition rates.

By running consistent retention analysis, you'll learn:

  • Why customers are churning.
  • When customers are more likely to leave.
  • How churn affects your bottom line.
  • How to improve your retention strategies.

Overall, this analysis allows you to see how well your customer retention efforts are working. Without it, you may end up spending your marketing budget inefficiently

How customer retention analysis works

Conducting a customer retention analysis is much more than calculating the churn rate. To get a clear picture, you need to figure out where, how, and why your customers leave.

These insights can help you adjust the retention strategy and achieve sustainable business growth.

(Video) User retention analysis framework | data science product sense

Identify where customers churn

An efficient retention analysis can help you understand at which point in their journey, your customers are more likely to churn.

By studying your existing customers' behavior and the retention rate fluctuations, you can find out which stage of the new user journey is highly volatile.

Once you have this information, you can adjust the marketing strategy to improve the retention efforts at the most vulnerable part of the customer's lifecycle and increase the number of users that stick with your product.

The key to identifying where customers churn is the continuous analysis of their behavior, right from onboarding, with retention and churn rates in mind.

Determine why customers churn

Retention analysis can show you the number of customers who churn and why. By doing this, you can identify behaviors associated with churning and acquire direct feedback.

Figuring out when customers leave you, can help you identify weak spots in your strategy. Meanwhile, feedback offers a direct explanation of why a customer decides to churn.

By adjusting your business strategy to battle the common reasons for churning, you can increase retention rates quickly and efficiently.

Find out how to improve retention

A smart customer retention analysis allows you to understand what you've done wrong. Knowing where and why customers churn can help you single out weak parts of your marketing and retention strategies and fix them timely.

A variety of retention improvement tactics exist. Many companies make a mistake of employing them without analyzing the situation first. With retention analysis results in hand, you can pinpoint strategies that work specifically for your business.

How to conduct retention analysis

The key to getting the most of your retention analysis is conducting it regularly. Customer behavior changes over time and so does your product offering. Seeing the full picture is only possible when you analyze customer cohorts consistently and continuously.

Calculate you retention rate

Your customer retention rate is the starting point of any retention analysis. You need to know how many customers are staying and how many are leaving. Even if the rate is satisfactory, you still need the analysis to continue keeping it this way.

(Video) Calculating retention factors for TLC | AP Chemistry | Khan Academy

Define what retention means for your business

Customer retention can have a slightly different meaning for different companies. What do you expect to achieve by improving the customer retention rate?

  • Spend less money on customer retention
  • Increase revenue
  • Build better customer relationships
  • Improve marketing strategies

Depending on how big your clients are, you may want to calculate revenue (also called dollar) retention along with the customer retention rate. Losing one big customer may affect the revenue tremendously while increasing the customer retention insignificantly.

Conduct cohort analysis based on timeframe and persona

To get more information from your analysis, divide your customers into cohorts and personas. A cohort or a customer persona is a group of customers, who share the same characteristics.

Time-based cohorts is a group that signed up for your services at around the same time. Studying their actions for retention helps you understand how many of them continue to be active users for weeks/months/years. Cohort retention analysis gives you a better understanding of buyer behavior and reasons for churning based on your analysis parameters.

By dividing your customers into personas that share similar characteristics (customer time with product, use of certain features, demographics), you can get a better idea of what works and what doesn't for a certain group. This can help you adjust your retention strategies "in bulk".

Track user behavior from acquisition to attrition

The way your customers behave during their lifecycle is the raw data you need to conduct the retention analysis.

The retention rate across the customer lifetime isn't uniform. That's why you need to know what happens during each of the stages. Meanwhile, keeping a growing customer base with your company requires different actions at different stages. Your user retention strategy will be different for new users versus seasoned power users.

Choose retention KPIs

To take the retention analysis in the right direction, you need to identify metrics that you associate with engagement. Some common key KPIs are:

  • Customer churn rate: customers that leave after subscribing.
  • Customer lifetime value: the total amount the customer is expected to spend on your product.
  • Customer engagement score: evaluates customer engagement and free trial prospects.
  • Net Promoter Score: how many customers recommend your product to others.
  • MRR churn rate: lost revenue due to lost customers.

By analyzing your KPI-related goals, you can take your customer retention strategies to a new level.

Each business has specific metrics that it associates with customer engagement. For example,

  • Number of upgrades
  • Frequency of feedback
  • Participation in loyalty programs
  • And more

Consider these KPIs as well when analyzing your customer behavior and rethinking your retention tactics.

(Video) Monday Night Metrics - Gross Dollar Retention and Net Dollar Retention Rates

Flag behaviors that indicate churn risk for at-risk customers

By tracking customer behavior and reviewing certain patterns, you can develop an idea of what indicates future churn and build better customer segmentation.

Some useful questions to ask are:

  • Do users that take advantage of a certain feature have a higher churn rate?
  • Do customers who access three features each month have a lower churn rate?
  • Do users who contact customer service more than twice a month have a higher churn rate?

You can get highly valuable data by analyzing churned customer behavior. You may want to consider sending out surveys to help with gathering information. In many cases, past customers are more than happy to provide feedback.

Once you flag risky behavior, you can channel your efforts into retaining clients who exhibit it. You may have to work out a separate strategy for each behavioral pattern.

Determine churn triggers for each cohort & persona

To target your retention efforts toward areas where customers typically churn, you don't just need to look at the previous behavior, you should make some churn predictions.

The ability to predict where a particular persona or cohort is at a high risk of churning is a formidable potential revenue source for a SaaS company.

Considering the loss of revenue associated with the loss of clients coupled with high customer acquisition costs, each prevented churn is virtually priceless.

Retention Analysis: 6 Steps To Analyze & Report On Retention (2)

With a tool like Profitwell, you can make predictions by taking full advantage of behavioral patterns and retention metrics. While the accuracy of such predictions may vary, you are likely to get an approximate picture of where the groups are more likely to churn in the future. This will be enough to take specific actions to retain them.

Identify behaviors associated with churn and retention

The next step is to track customers who stay with your product for a long period of time. Your retention tactics seem to be working for these people. Examine their behavior to come up with patterns that appear to be associated with retention.

By comparing their patterns to the patterns of customers who churn, you can identify where and how your customers are likely to leave.

(Video) Customer Retention & Cohort Analysis | How VCs Calculate Customer Retention

Try to follow how the behavior of your customers changes after introducing certain retention measures or launching a new feature. Such data gathering takes time. That's why it's extremely important to perform retention analysis regularly.

Get direct feedback from customers

You can conduct customer surveys or ask for feedback while they are using your product. This can give you valuable insight into what you are doing right or wrong. You can also take advantage of their suggestions to beef up retention efforts.

Don't hesitate to ask past customers for feedback, as well. Unhappy clients are often more likely to give feedback than satisfied customers are.

Churn surveys are highly useful for SaaS companies. They ask clients to choose the biggest and smallest reason they are churning.

Understanding your retention metrics with ProfitWell

When it comes to customer retention, knowing your numbers is essential. The ability to identify and understand metrics can help you adjust the retention strategy and boost marketing efforts.

To run a top-notch customer retention analysis, you need to identify the metrics to work with and learn how to wield them timely. Without a clear understanding of what these numbers mean, it's hard to adjust your retention and marketing tactics.

By signing up with ProfitWell, you can get access to a highly accurate retention reporting platform to drive customer success, as well as visualizations of numbers and insights that give you an opportunity to achieve sustainable business growth. This tool can help you gather the most valuable data to conduct precise retention analysis.

The takeaway

Retention analysis is an integral part of your customer retention and marketing strategies.

By taking full advantage of the data you collect by tracking customer behavior, requesting feedback, and studying important metrics, you can decrease the churn rate, improve customer satisfaction, and boost your revenue.


How do you write a retention report? ›

First, choose a period of time to measure. Record the number of customers your company had at the end of the period and subtract the number of new customers. Divide that number by your total customers. Then multiply that number by 100 for your final retention rate.

How do I check retention data? ›

Three retention metrics

To calculate the retention rate, you need to look at two numbers: The number of users at the beginning of the time frame, and the number of those users who are still users of the product at the end of that time frame. To get the retention rate, divide the latter by the former.

What is the formula for retention? ›

To calculate the retention rate, divide the number of employees that stayed with your company through the entire time period by the number of employees you started with on day one. Then, multiply that number by 100 to get your employee retention rate.

What are the types of retention? ›

Five Types of Customer Retention
  • Situational Binding. Spatially or temporally, here the provider has the monopoly. ...
  • Legally Binding. There is a contract between the company and the customer to ensure that the buyer remains.
  • Technical Binding. ...
  • Economic Ties. ...
  • Emotional Bonding.
23 Feb 2021

What is the first step in retention? ›

The first step in developing a retention plan is to use exit interviews and/or surveys to find out the satisfaction level of employees. Once you have the data, you can begin to write the plan, making sure it is tied to the organizational objectives.

What is retention technique? ›

A retention strategy is a plan that organizations create and use to reduce employee turnover, prevent attrition, increase retention, and foster employee engagement.

What is the meaning of retention report? ›

The Retention topic helps you understand how frequently and for how long users engage with your website or mobile app after their first visit. The topic also helps you understand how valuable users are based on the additional revenue you generate after their first visit.

What are the keys to retention? ›

This article will present you with 5 keys to employee retention that go beyond your pay package.

What is the example of retention process? ›

It's expressed as a percentage of a company's existing customers who remain loyal within that time frame. (We'll get into the formula a little later.) For example, if your business starts the year with 10 customers and loses two of them, you have an 80-percent retention rate.

How is employee retention measured? ›

How do you measure employee retention? Employee retention is the percentage of employees who remain at a company for a fixed time period. To calculate, divide the number of employees who stayed during a specific time period by the number of employees at the start of time period and then multiply by 100.

What is data retention summary? ›

Data retention is the storing of information for a specified period. Data retention is primarily relevant to businesses that store data to service their customers and comply with government or industry regulations. Data retention is critical for modern organizations.

What is retention chart? ›

The Retention Chart displays how new listeners continue to engage with your podcast over time. This information can be viewed on a monthly or episodic basis. Depending on how much data your Trackable analytics prefix has collected, you may not have access to both views.

What are the 7 customer retention strategies? ›

7 Customer Retention Tactics Your Brand Should Use Right Now
  • Build customer trust and long-term relationships. ...
  • Create a robust customer loyalty program. ...
  • Leverage your customer data. ...
  • Re-engage customers using marketing automation. ...
  • Measure customer lifetime value. ...
  • Personalize your offers and communications.
15 Apr 2022

What are the four parts of retention? ›

The 4 Cornerstones of Employee Retention
  • Leadership That Listens. Employees are hired to do a job, which includes not only listening to leadership directives, but also executing upon those mandates. ...
  • Culture That Rewards Performance. ...
  • Culture That Is Flexible. ...
  • Transparent Communications.
26 Oct 2017

What are the 3 stages of retention? ›

The 3 Stages of Customer Loyalty
  • The First Stage: Customer Retention. Retention occurs when a buyer decides to stick with a brand. ...
  • The Second Stage: Enrichment. ...
  • The Third Stage: Advocacy.
18 Aug 2016

What is the value of retention? ›

The term value retention was coined by the International Resource Panel following a global study looking at business processes that are designed to keep products in use for the most valuable amount of time.

What is a good retention factor? ›

Well, the largest gain in resolution is achieved when the retention factor value is between 1 and 5. If the k value is lower than 1, analytes may be eluting with other sample components or with the solvent. K values above 5 only provide minimal increases in resolution.

How do you measure client retention? ›

How do you calculate your customer retention rate?
  1. Find out how many customers you have at the end of a given period (week, month, or quarter).
  2. Subtract the number of new customers you've acquired over that time.
  3. Divide by the number of customers you had at the beginning of that period.
24 Jul 2020

What is the purpose of retention? ›

The purpose of retention is to ensure that the contractor properly completes the activities required of them under the contract. In the US, this is known as Retainage. Retention can also be applied to nominated sub-contractors, and the main contractor may also apply retention to domestic sub-contractors.

What are the 5 main drivers of employee retention? ›

The key drivers of employee retention
  • Recognition and appreciation. Employee retention starts with creating a healthy work culture and recognizing people as individuals rather than replaceable parts. ...
  • Work balance. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Training and development. ...
  • Organizational and individual alignment. ...
  • Competitive pay plans.
20 Jan 2022

What are the objectives of retention? ›

Employee Retention Objectives. In order to retain and engage your employees, you must truly care about them. No strategy will overcome a lack of empathy or appreciation for your employees. Employee retention has one major goal: to keep your talented employees working effectively and happily at your company.

What are five 5 actions you would take to increase retention of employees? ›

Five Ways to Retain Employees Forever
  • Responsibility. Show your employees you trust them by giving them responsibilities that allow them to grow. ...
  • Respect. Employees want to know they are respected and appreciated. ...
  • Revenue-sharing. Tie a part of your employees' wages to the company's performance. ...
  • Reward. ...
  • Relaxation Time.
12 Nov 2012

How many steps are there to develop a retention strategy? ›

  1. Step 1 - Document your company's EVP.
  2. Step 2 - Audit your current offering.
  3. Step 3 - Crowdsource ideas to develop your plan.
  4. Step 4 - Refine ideas and finalize your action plan.

What are retention tools? ›

An employee retention tool is a platform or program that helps drive employee engagement, satisfaction, peer-to-peer connectedness, and of course, retention.

What are the two types of retention? ›

The truth is that there are at least three different types of retention in insurance—customer retention, revenue retention, and policy retention—and although there is some overlap among the three, success in one doesn't guarantee success in all the others.

Why is retention of records important? ›

Records retention is important because it helps organizations save storage and operating expenses when dealing with paper records, reduce litigation risks by adhering to various rules and regulations, and increase record security by preventing unauthorized access.

What are the eight retention strategies? ›

Eight employee retention strategies to consider
  • A thoughtful, intentional onboarding process. ...
  • Promotions and professional development. ...
  • Competitive pay and perks. ...
  • Public recognition. ...
  • Work-life balance and flexibility. ...
  • Constant communication and continuous feedback. ...
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion. ...
  • Teamwork.

What is a good 7 day retention? ›

Traditionally, good retention rates are: Day 1 Retention – 40% Day 7 Retention – 20% Day 28 Retention – 10%

What is retention process in HR? ›

Retention is defined as the process by which a company ensures that its employees don't quit their jobs. Every company and industry has a varying retention rate, which indicates the percentage of employees who remained with the organization during a fixed period.

What are the most important factors in employee retention? ›

Research shows that six important factors in employee retention are people and culture, acknowledgement at work, providing meaningful benefits, ongoing training, workplace environment, and mission and values alignment.

What are retention policies? ›

What is a retention policy. A retention policy (also called a 'schedule') is a key part of the lifecycle of a record. It describes how long a business needs to keep a piece of information (record), where it's stored and how to dispose of the record when its time.

What is a good document retention policy? ›

Document retention guidelines typically require businesses to store records for one, three or seven years. In some cases, you will need to keep the records forever. If you're unsure what to keep and what to shred, your accountant, lawyer and state record-keeping agency may provide guidance.

What are three techniques used in retention of information? ›

3 techniques that have worked for me to increase my memory retention are connecting topics to each other, constantly reviewing previous concepts, and assessing often.

What is the importance of retention? ›

The importance of employee retention strategies

They not only make employees stay in your company, but also boost productivity and promote higher levels of engagement, which ultimately increases revenue. The main goal of any retention strategy is to keep turnover as low as possible.


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