What Are Customer Retention Strategies for SaaS? Why Is It Important?

15 min
Apr 19, 2023

To achieve success in your software-as-a-service (SaaS) venture, it’s essential to prioritize customer retention. While attracting new customers through marketing campaigns is valuable, retaining them is what sustains your business. Don’t let your hard work and strategies go to waste by failing to focus on keeping your current customer base intact.

Moreover, in the competitive SaaS industry, prioritizing customer retention can set you apart from your rivals who are ignoring this crucial aspect. So, let’s jump into the essential customer retention metrics and check out some effective approaches to ensuring your existing customers stick around.

What is customer retention?

A successful SaaS business relies heavily on customer retention, and it all boils down to creating an unforgettable experience for your subscribers. Making your customers feel like they’re the only ones is an ongoing process. Ultimately, the objective is to maintain a loyal customer base, ensuring they enrich their relationship with your software and reap the maximum benefits from their subscription.

Let’s explore the benefits of having a robust customer retention plan for your SaaS.

What are the benefits of customer retention for SaaS products?

By offering a wide range of exceptional products and services via subscription models, SaaS companies are able to meet their customers’ diverse needs, resulting in a top-notch customer experience. What sets them apart is their data-centric approach — by gathering and analyzing data, they can continuously improve their offerings through customer feedback.

SaaS companies prioritize their customer retention approach to achieve the following results:

benefits of customer retention for SaaS

  • A steadfast stream of income. SaaS businesses that rely on a subscription-based model benefit greatly from the steady flow of income that comes from having devoted customers.
  • Lower customer acquisition cost. Acquiring new customers can be costly for your SaaS business, but implementing retention strategies can alleviate this financial burden. Keeping existing customers satisfied and loyal allows you to optimize your resource allocation, resulting in significant long-term cost savings.
  • Better customer lifetime value. Retaining customers can be beneficial to your company’s bottom line because of its enhanced customer lifetime value (CLV) over time.
  • Enhanced product offerings. Loyal customers are the best source of information in terms of learning about their needs and designing products to meet those needs.
  • Upselling and cross-selling possibilities. By keeping loyal clients, your company can unlock options for upselling and cross-selling, leading to a higher chance of purchasing supplementary products and services. This presents a lucrative opportunity for increased revenue and growth within your company.
  • Reduced customer churn rate. With retention strategies, you can reduce customer attrition, boosting business stability and growth.

Now that you are aware of how critical customer retention is for SaaS products, it’s time to start measuring it.

How to measure customer retention?

This simple mathematical formula is invaluable for tracking customer retention over time, allowing you to evaluate the efficacy of your retention efforts.

To calculate the retention rate, divide the total number of customers at the end of a specified time period by the total number of customers at the start of the specified time period.

If you want to calculate your retention rate of customers, you need to understand what stays behind each formula’s component. Firstly, the “number of customers at the end of a given time period” signifies the number of your total customers at the conclusion of your chosen cycle. This includes both continued customers and newcomers who joined during that period.

Second, the “number of new customers” represents the total number of brand-new clients you signed up for during that time frame. Thirdly and finally, to calculate your customer retention rate, divide the difference between the aforementioned components by the total “number of customers at the beginning of that time period.”

For example, let’s assume you have the following data for a monthly analysis:

SaaS customer retention metrics

  • 1,000 customers at the beginning of the month
  • 1,100 customers at the end of the month
  • 200 new customers acquired during the month

If we plug those numbers into the formula for customer retention, we get customer retention rate = (1,100 – 200) / 1,000 x 100.

This indicates your company’s retention rate of customers was an impressive 90%! This suggests that your business is skilled at retaining customers — a vital component of SaaS success. However, what is the ideal customer retention rate for a SaaS enterprise?

What is a good retention rate for customers?

Crafting an optimal pricing strategy demands careful consideration of numerous factors, such as your chosen market, pricing tactics, and the unique features of your software. For SaaS companies, a retention rate of no less than 85% is the standard target, though the most prosperous enterprises frequently achieve rates as high as 90-95%. Ultimately, this distinction draws the line between mere customer acquisition and a genuine commitment to the success of your business.

Tracking customer retention is crucial for SaaS businesses, but it’s not the whole story. Simply relying on this metric can give an incomplete picture of the business’s health and success. To truly grasp what’s going on, it’s important to delve into other metrics.

SaaS customer retention metrics

Keep an eye on these metrics to ensure your customer retention efforts remain on track:

  • Customer churn rate measures the rate at which customers abandon your SaaS product within a particular time span. It’s the opposite of the retention rate and can be assessed by dividing the number of customers lost during that period by the number of customers at the start of the timeframe and then multiplying it by 100.
  • CLV is a metric that enables you to predict the total financial gain you can expect from each customer throughout their relationship. The CLV formula is calculated by multiplying the average revenue per user (ARPU) by the gross margin and dividing the result by the churn rate.
  • The net promoter score (NPS) is a powerful tool that allows you to measure your audience’s satisfaction and loyalty by asking how likely they’re to promote your SaaS product to others. It ranges from -100 (representing detractors) to +100 (representing promoters), and typically, the higher the score, the greater the SaaS customer retention. With NPS, you can track shifts in customer sentiment and make data-driven decisions to improve their experience.
  • Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and annual recurring revenue (ARR) are crucial indicators of SaaS businesses’ financial stability. These metrics offer a window into the predictability and sustainability of a company’s revenue stream. By keeping close track of how MRR and ARR change over time, you can learn much about how happy their customers are.

Now that we understand the basics of customer retention in SaaS, let’s dive into some practical strategies for boosting the metrics we covered.

SaaS customer retention strategies

Here are some key customer retention strategies for SaaS.

customer retention strategies for SaaS

Onboarding and user education

A smooth onboarding experience with clear instructions, guided tours, and easy-to-access resources helps new customers quickly understand and use your product. Invest in a user-friendly SaaS UI/UX design to make the onboarding process enjoyable and easy to navigate. In addition, offer webinars, tutorials, and knowledge bases to further educate users.

Exceptional customer support

Delivering exceptional customer service is an integral component for any enterprise to thrive. Enabling your clients to receive prompt and expert assistance through your exceptional customer service team can greatly enhance their satisfaction. With various communication options available, including phone, chat, and email, your customers can select the channel that suits them best. A well-structured help center that streamlines navigation makes it effortless for them to access answers to their queries without delay.

Personalized approach

One way to boost customer satisfaction in UX/UI design is by tailoring the user experience through personalization. This strategy involves considering individual customer preferences, needs, and behaviors to create personalized dashboards, recommendations, and content. This strategy will let your customers know you appreciate them, which will result in a more satisfying interaction overall.

Effective communication with customers

Use tools like email, newsletters, and in-app notifications to keep in touch with your loyal clientele. Inform them of any changes to the product or service and any new features or special offerings. Build stronger connections by making complex information easily understood through visually appealing content.

Listening to customer feedback

Gathering customer feedback is key to improving your product’s overall user experience. Utilize various channels, such as surveys or user testing, to encourage feedback. You must show your customers that you care about giving them the best possible experience by taking their feedback seriously and using it in your design and development processes.

Take control of potential churn before it’s too late

To prevent the loss of valuable customers, it’s essential to stay vigilant of their behavior and engagement patterns. By going the extra mile to personalize your approach, you can cater to their specific desires and potentially foster loyalty. You can do this by offering custom-tailored support, exciting incentives, or special promotions. Don’t forget to assess the user experience and interface to address any apprehensions or issues. With this proactive mindset, you can retain your clientele and foster long-lasting relationships.

After establishing an effective strategy for captivating and retaining your audience, it’s imperative to delve into the primary means of retaining your customer base.

Customer retention tools

Numerous tools are at your disposal to connect with your clientele as a SaaS enterprise. Each of these tools serves a different purpose in your customers’ journey, allowing your company to fashion tailored interactions. Check out some customer retention tools for SaaS products:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software. These platforms provide all the tools you need to keep track of customer interactions, analyze data, and create meaningful, personalized experiences tailored to strengthen your relationship in the long run. With these solutions, deeper customer engagement and more customer satisfaction are only a few clicks away.
  • Helpdesk tools offer multi-channel support to ensure your customers always get the help they need when they need it.
  • Feedback and survey tools lend a helping hand in creating and deploying questionnaires and surveys that can generate invaluable insights.

In addition, mastering UX/UI design is a must. Providing a seamless experience that guides users through your platform and keeps them satisfied is key. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so ensure your interface is pleasing to the eye and user-friendly. A smooth onboarding experience is also important to avoid frustrating customers and losing them to other products.

Personalization is also a key factor in UX/UI design, as it lets customers engage with integrations that cater specifically to their individual preferences. What’s more, focusing on product accessibility helps you connect with more people and provides a better experience for users of all abilities.


Keeping your current customers happy yields excellent results compared to the costs associated with acquiring new ones. Furthermore, when customers perceive value, they are more likely to remain loyal and spread the word about your business.

Therefore, to stay successful, it’s vital for businesses to have well-thought-out customer retention strategies that speak loudly to their best and most dedicated customers.

by Ivan Klyzhenko
UX Startup Advisor, Uitop


Why is customer retention important for SaaS products?

Fostering customer loyalty is a surefire way to maintain revenue streams, minimize customer acquisition expenses, and elevate your brand image. Emphasizing customer retention also bolsters the foundation of a devoted customer base, which is essential for enhancing brand reputation. Putting customer retention at the forefront of your SaaS enterprise guarantees its continued expansion and prosperity.

What are the main SaaS customer retention metrics?

To maintain a keen awareness of your customer base, it’s essential to monitor certain vital metrics, such as:

  • The customer retention rate indicates the proportion of customers who continue using your services over a specified timeframe.
  • The churn rate, contrary to retention, indicates the number of customers who have stopped using your product.
  • The customer lifetime value (CLV) is an approximation of the total value each customer brings to your business over the long term.
  • Net promoter score (NPS) is an indicator of your customer’s willingness to endorse your product to others.

What are the main approaches to customer retention in SaaS?

Start with a flawless onboarding process that welcomes new users and easily gets them up to speed. Also, remember to provide comprehensive customer support. Create a personalized experience for your customers by tailoring your product to their unique preferences and requests. Foster a lasting relationship with them by maintaining open, frequent communication and using imaginative approaches to keep them engaged. Most importantly, always think about how you can improve based on what your customers say.

What’s the role of a good UX/UI in SaaS customer retention?

A good UX/UI design results in increased customer contentment and loyalty and decreased customer churn. Consequently, a good UX/UI design makes users more inclined to stay, recommend your product to others, and contribute to your long-term success and growth.

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