Software as a service has become the key trend for business growth by offering subscription-based services to various companies. One of the significant critical factors in measuring business success is SaaS customer retention. Indeed, SaaS customer retention is crucial in sustaining business growth and boosting revenue. According to Forbes, there is no need to spend 5 times more to attract a new customer than retain an existing one.

Measuring SaaS customer retention is crucial, as it refers to how customers are satisfied with the product and willing to continue using it. Generally, the purpose is to boost customer lifetime value (CLV) by keeping customers engaged and loyal.

Companies can use several different indicators to gauge the success of their SaaS customer retention strategies.

Among these are:

  • The churn rate of monthly recurring revenue (MRR).
  • The churn rate of gross revenue (GRR)
  • The churn rate of net revenue (NRR)
  • The churn rate of customers (CRR)

These indicators are helpful for SaaS businesses since they reveal information on client retention and the revenue earned by ongoing contracts with existing customers. Read on to learn how to measure  SaaS customer retention in 6 easy steps!

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What is SaaS customer retention?

SaaS customer retention refers to the percentage of an organization's current user base that remains a subscriber and continues to buy products over time. In other words, it also describes the success of the SaaS business model, which leads to client satisfaction by meeting their demands and expectations. Undoubtedly, client satisfaction will retain existing customers and keep them renewing their subscriptions, buying more advanced packages, and recommending SaaS services to others.

Many indicators, including the monthly recurring revenue (MRR) churn rate, the gross revenue churn rate, the net revenue retention (NRR) rate, and the customer retention rate (CRR), can be used to assess the success of a SaaS business' retention efforts. These indicators are helpful for SaaS businesses since they reveal information on client retention and the revenue generated by ongoing contracts with existing clients. For this reason, SaaS businesses must track and enhance customer retention rates.

How do you calculate customer retention?

The customer retention rate indicates the percentage of customers that use your product over time. These consumers were active subscribers during a specific time and subscribed for the subsequent term.

So, the formula for customer retention rate is:

Customer Retention Rate = ((CE-CN)/CS)) x 100


  • CE: Number of customers at the end of a period
  • CN: Number of new customers acquired during that period
  • CS: Number of customers at the start of that period

This formula calculates the percentage of customers a company has retained over a specific period, typically a month, quarter, or year.

How to measure SaaS customer retention with 6 metrics?

The long-term success of a SaaS business is measured by customer retention and loyalty. When customers become loyal, they continue to buy the same company's SaaS subscription-based products or services for a certain period. Therefore, retaining existing customers is more cost-effective than attracting new ones. Here are the 6 key metrics that help measure SaaS client retention and loyalty.

1. Customer Churn Rate

The percentage of customers a SaaS company loses over a period is known as the churn rate. A high customer churn rate indicates clients are unhappy with a company's services and products. According to the Harvard Business Review, bringing new consumers is 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining the ones you already have.

Thus, SaaS businesses must work towards lowering their churn rates. This measure can be easily calculated – just take the total number of customers at the beginning of the period and divide it by the number of customers who departed during that time. Follow this formula to find out:

(Customers lost throughout the period / Total Customers at the beginning of the period) x 100.

For example, if any SaaS company starts the month with 10,000 clients and loses 500 customers by the end of it, the churn rate is 5%.

2. MRR Churn

The need for monthly recurring revenue (MRR) due to customer turnover is a serious problem. How much Monthly Recurring Revenue was lost due to client cancellations during a specified time frame is calculated. For example, a 10% MRR churn rate indicates that 10% of your 30-day-ago MRR has been lost within the last 30 days.

MRR churn is an excellent indicator of a company's performance, even for SaaS companies with premium pricing and variable contract lengths. Churn analysis reveals simply the total number of dropped customers. Yet, the influence on MRR is revealed via churn analysis. Growth is happening rapidly when monthly recurring revenue churn is low.

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3. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The level of customer satisfaction and loyalty can be measured by looking at the Net Promoter Score (NPS). Customers are polled on the likelihood to recommend a scale from 0 to 10, with higher scores indicating more enthusiastic endorsement.

Those customers that rate their experience highly (9 or 10), to a lesser extent (7-8), or not at all (0-6) are known as Promoters, Passives, and Detractors, respectively. You can measure the Net Promoter Score by using this formula.

Net Promoter Score = (Promoters - Detractors) / (Total Respondents) x 100

The NPS can range from -100 to +100, with a higher score indicating higher customer loyalty and satisfaction.

4. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

The total worth of a customer measures the Customer's Lifetime Value to a company over the entire relationship period. It also refers to the amount of money a customer spends on a SaaS company's products or services, the frequency of their purchases, and the trust in their relationship with the company.

It is crucial to note that a higher CLV means more loyal customers and a high lifetime value to the company. However, a low CLV indicates that the customers need more loyalty and are unlikely to continue purchasing services from the company.

The formula to calculate Customer Lifetime Value is as follows:

CLV = Average order value x number of purchases per year x Average customer lifespan

For example, if a customer spends $100 per order, purchases from a company four times per year, and has an average customer lifespan of five years, the CLV is $2,000.

5. Repeat Purchase Rate

The percentage of customers who return after making an initial purchase is known as the Repeat Purchase Rate. It describes how often customers purchase from you again; the SaaS customer retention rate is a crucial key factor of customer satisfaction. Follow the below formula for determining the Repeat Purchase Rate:

RPR = (Returning Buyers / Total Buyers) x 100.

For instance, a 40% Repeat Purchase Rate is achieved when out of every 1,000 consumers, 400 have made a subsequent purchase.

6. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

A SaaS company's success can be measured by its customers' level of satisfaction with the product or service they received. As part of a survey questionnaire designed to measure this metric, customers are usually asked to rate their level of satisfaction on a scale from 1 to 5 or 1 to 10. If a company has a high customer satisfaction rate (CSAT), its consumers are happy with their services.

Generally, companies conduct CSAT surveys to learn about their customers' experiences and determine where improvement are required. They can assess how to satisfy customers with a particular product or service, the entire customer service process, or a single interaction.

Moreover, the CSAT score is utilized as a benchmark to measure a company's growth over time relative to its competitors and the industry as a whole or against any other variables of interest. For instance, any SaaS company possesses a CSAT of 80% or more, indicating that most of its clientele likes its products or services.

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Measuring SaaS Customer retention – conclusion

SaaS Customer retention rate is a significant factor for long-term business success. It can be achieved by adopting SaaS customer retention strategies that help to understand how your business performs and identify the areas where modifications require.

The 6 key SaaS retention metrics mentioned above are important and assist in measuring customer loyalty and retention. SaaS companies can improve customer experience and refine their business strategies by considering these metrics. Therefore, measuring the customer retention rate for business growth and delivering long-term value to their customers is essential.