Your Guide to Understanding and Minimizing Your Churn Rate

What Is Churn Rate?

The churn rate indicates the percentage of customers lost during a specific time period. The opposite of a churn rate is the retention rate, which shows how many customers are retained in a time period. 

This metric is typically represented as a percentage of the customer base. To illustrate, if a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company begins the month with 100 customers and sees 5 customers leave by the end of the month, the monthly churn rate would be 5%.

To calculate the churn rate, you divide the number of customers lost by the total number of customers you had at the beginning of the period. Then multiply by 100 to convert it to a percentage. The formula looks like this:

In our example, churn Rate is = (5 / 100) x 100 = 5%

Tracking customer churn out rate allows you to measure customer loyalty over time. A high churn rate indicates problems retaining customers. A low churn rate shows you are doing a good job of keeping customers happy and engaged. Monitoring churn rate regularly lets you quickly spot any trends and issues. This way, you can then improve customer retention and maximize revenue growth.

How to Calculate Churn Rate

The most common way to calculate churn is to take the total number of customers you had at the beginning of a period (e.g., month) and subtract the total customers remaining at the end. This gives the customer losses for that period. You can divide that churn figure by the starting number of customers and multiply by 100 to get a percentage. Here is the formula for calculating churn rate:

The churn rate shows the percentage of customers lost over a given period.

Examples of calculating monthly churn rate:

  • Start of July, you have 100 customers
  • End of July, you have 95 customers
  • Your churn would be 100 - 95 = 5 customers
  • Divide churn by initial customer base to get 5/100 = .05
  • Multiply by 100 to get a percentage: .05 x 100 = 5%, which is the monthly churn rate

Another example:

  • You started January with 500 customers
  • Ended January with 450 customers
  • Your churn is 500 - 450 = 50 customers
  • The monthly churn rate is (50/500)*100  = 10%

Simply replace the time frame with yearly intervals to determine churn rates for different periods. It's crucial to measure and monitor churn over a time frame for tracking and comparison purposes. Monitoring the churn rate is a commonly used metric to keep tabs on customer retention regularly.

Good vs Bad Churn Rates

Churn rates differ greatly between industries and types of businesses with what may be deemed a "good" or "healthy" churn rate in one sector possibly having less of an impact in another. Here are some general benchmarks:

SaaS companies:

  • Good churn rate: <5%
  • Average churn rate: 5-7%
  • High churn rate: >7%
  • Many SaaS companies aim for an under 5% monthly churn rate.
  • Above 7% is generally considered a high and unhealthy churn rate.

Grocery delivery services:

  • Good churn rate: <25%
  • Average churn rate: 25-40%
  • High churn rate: >40%
  • Grocery delivery tends to have a higher churn as customers switch between services or cancel when they no longer need it.
  • Under 25% is admirable.

Streaming media services:

  • Good churn rate: <1%
  • Average churn rate: 1-2%
  • High churn rate: >2%
  • Streaming services strive for the lowest possible churn.
  • Even a 1% monthly loss can be concerning in this competitive market.

E-commerce retailers:

  • Good churn rate: <15%
  • Average churn rate: 15-25%
  • High churn rate: >25%
  • Online retailers aim for an under 15% monthly churn.
  • A churn rate over 25% indicates issues retaining customers.

The ideal churn rate varies significantly. Compare your rate to industry benchmarks to determine if it’s good or bad. Stay vigilant even if you’re in the “good” range, as lower churn yields better growth.

Reasons for High Churn

Understanding why customers leave is crucial for reducing churn. Some common reasons for a high churn include:

  • Poor customer experience - Customers may have a negative experience due to extended wait times, unresolved problems, unhelpful customer support, complex interfaces, technical issues, etc. If using your product becomes frustrating, they will likely seek alternatives.
  • Pricing problems - Issues with pricing can also arise. Your prices might be perceived as high compared to competitors, or customers may feel that they are not receiving value for the money they spend.
  • Lack of innovation -  When your product fails to evolve while competitors advance and bring ideas customers will likely look for options elsewhere. You need to add value to your business products continuously.
  • Data or security issues - For products handling sensitive data, any breaches, leaks, or data loss often result in a massive churn.
  • Limited features/functionality - Customers with evolving needs will outgrow basic/limited features. If you can't expand your capabilities, they'll seek other options.
  • Poor onboarding/education - Not adequately guiding and educating customers can lead to confusion and hinder their ability to fully utilize your product.
  • Lack of personalization - The absence of customization or providing generic, standardized experiences does not make customers feel appreciated for their qualities. Personalization is key.
  • Competitive pressure - Customers may churn due to superior offerings from competitors, like better features, lower prices, or added value. You need competitive intelligence.

Analyzing churn drivers lets you pinpoint problem areas and craft targeted solutions to improve customer experience.

Analyzing Your Churn Data

Understanding why customers are churning is crucial for lowering your churn rate. Here are some ways to analyze your churn data:

  • Segment your customer base - Segment customers into categories according to their demographics, behaviors, shopping habits and various other criteria. See if certain segments have higher churn rates.
  • Conduct cohort analysis - Group customers by the date they first signed up. Track each cohort over time to identify patterns. Cohorts with above-average churn rates may indicate issues with the business.
  • Identify common churn triggers - See if events, like a pricing change or new feature launch, precede cancellations spikes.
  • Analyze usage metrics - Low product usage, infrequent logins, and other engagement metrics can predict churn risk. Identify trends among churning customers.
  • Survey churned customers - Send surveys and interview people who have canceled orders to learn why they left and what could have been improved.
  • Predict future churn - Use machine learning models to identify customers likely to churn based on behavioral, demographic, and other attributes.
  • Calculate churn by segments - Examine customer turnover based on categories such as regions, advertising platforms, and customer segments to pinpoint areas of concern.
  • Identify revenue impact - Determine the extent of revenue loss attributed to frequent customer churn.

A thorough analysis will uncover the main drivers of churn and allow you to take targeted action to improve retention. Continuously monitoring metrics can help identify issues early on.

Improving Customer Experience

Enhancing the customer experience fosters customer loyalty, reduces customer turnover by providing customers with help and support increasing the likelihood of them continuing to use your products. There are several tactics you can employ to elevate the customer experience:


Tailoring your product and messages to suit new customers can make them feel appreciated. By personalizing the onboarding experience sending emails and suggesting products based on their preferences you show that you grasp their requirements.


Educating customers so they fully understand how to use your product prevents frustration. FAQs, tutorials, webinars, and in-product messaging are effective ways to share knowledge.


Providing quick and accurate customer support is crucial. Make sure support agents have proper training. Offer different contact channels like phone, email, and chat in multiple languages, if possible. Continuously gather feedback to improve support interactions.

Remove Friction

Identify parts of the customer journey with friction, such as difficult signup processes or complicated payment flows. Simplify these pain points to prevent churn.


Send periodic surveys to gauge customer satisfaction. Ask for feedback on their experience and how you can improve. This helps to identify issues before customers churn. Improving customer experience requires an ongoing, customer-centric focus. However, the investment pays off with higher satisfaction, loyalty, retention, and growth.

Managing Costs

Optimizing Pricing

Pricing plays a major role in the churn rate. If your prices are too high or structured poorly, customers may leave for cheaper or more flexible options. Here are some pricing optimization strategies to consider:

Offer Discounted Packages

Offering package deals, combined pricing, or subscription savings can enhance the perceived value of lost customers. Encourage customers to remain loyal. For instance, you might provide a 20% discount yearly instead of memberships.

Structure Smart Upsells

Upselling done right can boost revenue without driving customers away. Make sure your upsells are for features that customers truly want or need. Also, allow seamless add-ons vs forcing customers into expensive packages.

Consider Usage-Based Plans

For products with variable usage patterns like cloud services, usage-based pricing aligned with the value provided can lower churn. Customers only pay for what they use.

Try a Freemium Model

Offering free, limited-feature plans removes initial barriers to entry. Customers get to try before they buy, and those who see value are more likely to upgrade and stick with your product.

Optimize Billing Cycles

Choosing the right billing cycle, such as monthly vs yearly, can impact churn. Test whether longer cycles increase retention since customers interact less frequently with renewal.

Maintain Fair, Competitive Pricing

Research competitors and industry averages. Ensure your pricing aligns with the market and is fair based on the value delivered. Discounted introductory offers can help acquire customers. Continuously monitor pricing, run A/B tests on new structures, and survey existing customers. The goal is to optimize pricing to deliver maximum value at costs that customers can afford long-term. Get it right, and you incentivize loyalty.

Increasing Loyalty

Building customer loyalty is key to decreasing customer turnover in the long run. Introducing strategies that enhance customer connection to the brand and boost engagement can greatly enhance customer retention rates.

Loyalty Programs

  • Consider creating a formal loyalty or rewards program that gives customers points, credits, or special status for purchases and engagement. This creates an incentive for them to continue using your product.
  • Tiered programs with basic, silver, gold, and platinum levels work well too. Offer elevated perks, discounts, and access for your highest-tier members.
  • Joining the program should be free and easy during sign-up or account creation. Automate point accruals for different actions.

Promotions and Rewards

  • To boost purchase frequency, offer periodic promotions like free shipping, discounts, or BOGO specials. Birthday and loyalty status promotions also work well.
  • Give surprise rewards or free products/services to long-tenured, high-value customers as a ”thank you” gesture. This makes them feel special and appreciated.
  • Create referral, affiliate, and loyalty partnerships with complementary brands to offer your customers deals, bundles, and perks.

VIP Access and Events

  • Host member-exclusive online or in-person events like parties, early access sales, and ask-me-anything sessions.
  • Consider package upgrades or memberships with access to VIP content, facilities, or experiences related to your brand.
  • Identify your most loyal brand advocates and offer them early access, input, or exclusivity into new products, services, and initiatives. Building this community is essential to keep your churn rate at a minimum.

Setting Churn Rate Goals

Setting realistic churn rate goals is crucial for focusing your retention efforts. When setting targets, consider the following:

Benchmark Against Your Industry

Research typical churn rates for your industry. SaaS businesses often aim for under 5% monthly churn. Meanwhile, e-commerce sites see about 15% —25% annual churn. Compare your current rate to competitors' and industry averages. This gives a baseline for improvement.

Set Goals by Cohort

Look at churn by customer segments. New users likely have higher early churn. Set progressive goals to reduce churn for each cohort over time. Example:

  • Month 1 cohort: 9%
  • Month 2 cohort: 7%
  • Month 3 cohort: 5%

Aim for Gradual Reduction

Don't expect overnight success. Set monthly or quarterly goals to decrease churn over time steadily. Aim to reduce overall churn by 2%- 3% every six months. Slow and steady improvement is key.

Factor in the Growth

When setting churn rate goals, account for projected revenue churn and new customer growth. As you expand your user base, the total number of churned customers will increase. Balance churn reduction with growth across business segments. 

Review Progress Regularly

Track your progress monthly and quarterly. Review what’s working and adjust your goals as needed. Setting churn rate targets is an ongoing process and changes as your business evolves.

Continuous Improvement Is Key

Reducing churn should be viewed as something other than a one-time initiative. Rather, it requires an ongoing commitment to continuously monitor your churn rate data, understand the factors driving churn, and rapidly implement improvements. 

The most successful companies view churn reduction as a never-ending pursuit of excellence in serving customers. They regularly analyze their data to spot new trends and issues. They talk to customers to gain insights. They run controlled tests to optimize the user experience. And they quickly roll out changes and new initiatives when opportunities arise. Some best practices for continuous improvement include:

  • Set up dashboards and alerts to monitor your churn rate and other key metrics in real time. This will enable you to spot negative trends quickly.
  • Conduct regular surveys and interviews to gain first-hand insight into your churn rate. Feedback is essential for improvement.
  • Empower team members on the front lines to identify and rapidly solve pain points. Your support team often hears about issues first.
  • Test new initiatives like pricing changes or referral programs with small segments before rolling out aggressively. Optimization never ends.
  • Foster a culture of innovation where everyone is motivated to brainstorm and contribute new ideas to reduce churn. With a mindset of constant learning and rapid iteration, you can continuously optimize the customer experience. This agility and dedication to customers become vital to achieving long-term loyalty and sustainable growth for your business.

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