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4 Customer Retention Metrics You Can Find in Your Online Community

Written by Julie Dietz on November 2, 2017 at 8:30 AM

Use your online community as an early warning sign for customer retention problems.

Customer communities are designed to keep your clients engaged, informed, and satisfied with your business so they stay with you longer, making repeat and additional purchases.

That’s why the best online community software has customer retention metrics built in – so you can see how likely your customers are to stay loyal to your company. Here are four community metrics that will give you a snapshot of how customers are interacting with your business online and how likely they are to stay.

1. Community Members

Just as it sounds, this metric captures current customers in your online community, including total number of community members along with details on individuals, such as the date they were added to the community and their last login. Other engagement metrics, including blogs published and discussion posts, may also be available.

While the engagement details are helpful for determining how active your customers are, you can also use the number of customers in your community to calculate more direct retention metrics like growth and churn rate. The net growth in your community shows how many customers you’ve gained or lost. If you’ve lost members, you may want to implement additional retention strategies.

You can calculate churn rate, or the percentage of customers lost over a period of time using the following formula:

customer community churn rate calculation.png

Compare your community’s churn rate with your company’s overall customer churn rate, identifying patterns and discrepancies. Typically, a higher community churn rate corresponds to a higher overall customer churn rate, so if your community churn rate increases, you may be able to use it as an early warning sign of retention problems that need to be addressed.

2. Customers Who Joined… Then Left

Unlike churn rate, which takes into account long-term customers as well as new arrivals, this metric deals only with customers who both joined and left your community within a certain time period. If your time period is a month, this report will exclude customers who left within that month, but joined a year earlier.

This is a great indicator for how new customers feel about your community and your business. If most of your customers join and leave quickly, then they may not be interested in your content and offers. You can then adjust your strategies to better onboard new customers. On the flip side, if new customers join your community and stay, becoming active members, then that’s a good sign for retention.

3. Individual User Engagement

Engaged customers typically have higher retention rates, so use individual user engagement data to identify customers who are active with your business as well as those who are more disconnected. Engaged customers will typically ask and answer questions, post blogs, view pages, and network with their peers. By contrast, disengaged customers will have few, if any, of these activities on the report. These are customers who are not actively involved with your business and may be at risk of leaving.

Identify customers with low engagement and drill into why they aren’t participating. Are they long-time customers who prefer to handle things independently? These customers are usually fine when left to their own devices.

New or frustrated customers who have little to no engagement, however, may benefit from personalized support and content recommendations. If you can show these customers that you care about their experience and are available to provide support and helpful resources, you may be able to increase their engagement and build loyalty.

4. Logins

There are two types of login metrics:

  1. Total number of logins
  2. Total number of unique logins

Ideally, both logins and unique logins will be high, indicating a high engagement from a large number of customers. That’s a good sign for retention. If your unique logins are similar to total logins, however, then customers are visiting your community once, but rarely returning. They may not see enough value in your community, products, or content to return.

If you notice this pattern, review your community’s content and send an email survey to customers asking for their opinion on your brand and community. Are they experiencing problems with the product? What can you add to the community to make it more valuable and increase customer satisfaction with your products?

Improve both your community and your overall customer experience so all your clients are engaged and successful with your products and services.

Your Community’s Retention Metrics Indicate the Health of Your Customer Base

Retention metrics in your community will not be equal to your overall customer retention rate. They’ll fluctuate, functioning as early indicators of how likely customers are to stay with your business. Community membership and high engagement indicate that customers are likely to stay with you. Leaving your community and or showing weak interaction with your business are signs that customers aren’t invested in their relationship with you.

Use the metrics above to supplement your CRM’s retention reports, identifying and addressing at-risk customers before they put your company in their rearview mirror.

Tips for developing a great online customer community strategy.

Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Engagement, Customer Retention

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