Churn Rate

Churn rate is the percentage of customers who stops using or do not renew their subscriptions for a product or service.

What Is Churn Rate?

Churn rate, also known as the rate of attrition or customer churn, represents the proportion of customers or subscribers who terminate or discontinue their relationship with a company during a specific period of time.  

It is a key metric used to evaluate customer retention and the overall health of a business. A high churn rate indicates that a significant number of customers are leaving, which may require businesses to invest more in customer acquisition to offset the loss. Conversely, a low churn rate is a positive indicator of customer loyalty and can lead to increased profitability and sustainable growth. 


What Is a Good Churn Rate?

What can be considered a good churn rate varies depending on the industry and business model. However, as a general rule, a lower churn rate is typically considered more desirable as it suggests higher customer retention and loyalty. 

For instance, an acceptable churn rate for some industries – such as utilities – may be around 11%. In contrast, businesses following a subscription-based model may aim for a monthly churn rate of less than 2%, while a target churn rate of 5% or less is often deemed good for SaaS businesses. It’s important to note that these figures are not definitive, and businesses should compare their churn rates with industry benchmarks and competitors to determine their performance. 


How to Calculate Churn Rate

To calculate churn rate, you can follow these general steps: 

  1. Determine the time period: Decide on the specific period of time for which you want to calculate the churn rate (e.g., monthly, quarterly, annually). 
  2. Count the number of customers at the beginning of the period: Note the total number of customers you had at the start of the chosen time period. 
  3. Count the number of customers lost: Identify the number of customers who terminated their relationship, unsubscribed, or stopped using your product or service during the chosen time period.  
  4. Divide the number of customers lost by the initial number of customers: Divide the number of customers lost during the time period by the total number of customers at the start of the period.  
  5. Multiply the result by 100: Multiply the quotient from step 4 by 100 to express the churn rate as a percentage. 


Here’s the formula for calculating churn rate: 

Churn Rate = (Number of Customers Lost / Number of Customers at the Start of the Period) * 100[1]. 


It’s important to note that the specific calculation of churn rate can vary depending on the business model and industry. For instance, in some cases, revenue generated by customers who have left may also be factored into the churn rate calculation. Additionally, there are various other methods and variations to calculate churn rate depending on the specific context and business needs. 


What Causes Customer Churn?

Churn can be caused by various factors. Here are some common ones: 

  • Attracting the wrong customers 
  • Better perception of competition 
  • Changes in customer circumstances 
  • Decline in perceived value 
  • Failing to meet customer outcomes 
  • Lack of engagement or onboarding 
  • Negative reviews or referrals 
  • Persistent product bugs and issues 
  • Poor customer support 
  • Poor user experience 
  • Price and affordability 

These causes can be interrelated. It’s important to note that the specific causes of churn may vary depending on the industry and customer segment. Analyzing churn data and conducting customer surveys can help identify the primary reasons for churn in a specific business context. 


What Are the Benefits of Understanding Churn Rate?

Customer Retention 

Analyzing churn rate helps businesses identify the number of customers lost over a specific period, enabling them to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

Revenue Preservation 

Understanding churn rate allows businesses to estimate potential revenue loss, helping them develop strategies to reduce churn and preserve revenue. 

Enhanced Decision Making 

Churn rate analysis provides insights into customer behavior and preferences, guiding decisions on product/service improvements, pricing adjustments, and targeted marketing campaigns. 

Resource Allocation 

By understanding churn rate, businesses can allocate resources more efficiently, reducing customer acquisition expenses and marketing budgets. 

Competitive Advantage 

Comparing churn rate to industry benchmarks helps businesses evaluate performance against competitors and implement best practices to gain a competitive edge. 

Customer Feedback 

Churn rate analysis highlights reasons for customer attrition, providing valuable feedback to drive improvements in products, services, and customer experience. 

Customer Lifetime Value 

Understanding churn rate enables the calculation of customer lifetime value (CLV), informing decisions about resource allocation, marketing strategies, and customer segmentation. 

Targeted Retention Strategies 

Churn rate segmentation helps businesses develop personalized retention strategies, reducing churn among high-risk or high-value customers. 

Forecasting and Planning 

Churn rate data aids in making accurate forecasts for future churn rates, assisting in resource planning, budgeting, and goal-setting. 

Business Health Assessment 

Churn rate serves as a metric for assessing the overall health and sustainability of a business, helping identify areas of improvement and take corrective actions. 


How to Predict Churn

To predict churn, businesses can use various methods and techniques. Here are a few common approaches: 

Churn Prediction Models 

Building churn prediction models involves analyzing historical customer data using machine learning algorithms to identify patterns and factors that contribute to churn. These models can then be used to predict which customers are at risk of churning in the future. 

Customer Segmentation 

Segmenting customers based on different criteria, such as demographics or behavior, can help identify groups that are more likely to churn. This allows businesses to tailor retention strategies to address their specific needs. 

Customer Behavior and Engagement Analysis 

Monitoring customer behavior, interactions, and engagement with your product or service can provide insights into their likelihood of churning. Metrics like activity levels or response rates can indicate customer satisfaction and churn risk. 

Customer Surveys and Feedback Analysis 

Collecting feedback from customers through surveys, interviews, or user feedback channels helps identify potential issues or reasons for churn. Analyzing this feedback can guide improvements in products, services, or customer experiences. 

Social Media and Sentiment Analysis 

Monitoring social media platforms, review sites, and online forums can detect customers’ sentiments towards your brand. Negative sentiment or complaints can indicate churn risk. Analyzing customer comments and sentiments at scale using sentiment analysis techniques can help categorize and understand the feedback. 


It’s important to note that predicting churn is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and combining multiple methods and data sources can provide more accurate predictions. Additionally, businesses should continuously evaluate and refine their churn prediction models and strategies to adapt to changing customer behavior and market dynamics. 


How to Benchmark Churn Rate

1. Define Your Industry or Market Segment

Begin by defining the specific industry or market segment in which your business operates. This will help ensure that you compare your churn rate to businesses with similar characteristics. 

2. Research Industry Benchmarks 

Conduct research to find industry reports, studies, or surveys that offer benchmark churn rates for businesses in your industry. These benchmarks will provide context and help you understand the average or typical churn rate for similar businesses. 

3. Compare Different Customer Segments 

Take into account any sub-segments or customer categories within your industry and compare your churn rate specifically to businesses in your segment. This will provide a more accurate benchmark and allow for a more relevant comparison. 

4. Consider Other Factors 

Consider additional factors that can impact churn rate, such as the size of your business, pricing model, or customer demographics. Adjust your benchmarking analysis accordingly to ensure a fair comparison. 

5. Monitor Changes 

Continuously monitor industry trends and keep tabs on any changes in churn rate benchmarks over time. This will help you stay updated and make sure your benchmarking analysis remains relevant and reflects current industry dynamics. 


Related Terms

Customer Experience (CX)

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