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7 brilliant customer retention examples to learn from

Customer retention is a tremendous building block of a successful, sustainable business. In other words: if all you do is acquire new customers, but most of them leave or never buy from you again, your business will always struggle. If you’re not sure how to tackle that, use these customer retention examples as inspiration.

Last updated

7 Nov 2022

What does successful customer retention look like in real life? How are thriving companies ensuring their customers are happy with their product so they become loyal to the brand? This guide outlines seven fantastic examples of customer retention and practical tips to emulate them in your business and industry.

Learn about your customers to retain them for longer

Dive into insights like session recordings, heatmaps, survey responses, and customer feedback to delight your customers at every touchpoint.

1. Lume: product subscriptions, VIP pricing, and renewal emails

Lume is a brand of whole body deodorant, body care, and laundry products that offers recurring delivery and better prices when customers subscribe to certain products.

When Lume customers place an order, they receive a heads-up email about their upcoming subscription shipment. This email consists of shipment dates, a list of included products, and an option to delay or cancel their order.

Lume’s upcoming shipment reminder (source)

The same email also includes special offers and pricing for customers who add other one-time purchases to their order.

Special pricing in the shipment reminder email from Lume (source)

How Lume retains customers

Products like deodorants, body wipes, and laundry care need replenishing every once in a while. Even if you’re loyal to a brand, when a product runs out and you haven’t realized it in time to make an order, it’s often more convenient to run to the nearest store and grab an alternative.

Lume’s approach to product subscriptions is a twist on the conventional customer loyalty program. Instead of giving customers the option to collect loyalty points and exchange them for a discount, Lume discounts its products when you go for automatic deliveries every one, two, or three months.

The subscription operates on a ‘swap, skip, or cancel anytime’ policy. This means the company rewards you for committing to a recurring delivery, but won’t penalize you for changing, delaying, or dropping your subscription.

#How Lume’s subscription works
How Lume’s subscription works

Lume’s heads-up email for an upcoming delivery shows a great deal of care for its customer base. If you’ve ever been charged for a subscription you forgot you had (annual ones are particularly easy to forget about), you know how frustrating the ‘service renewal confirmation’ email can be. Lume doesn’t let it get to that point and instead gives customers at least five days to change their mind.

Care for the customer and creating customer delight at its finest.

Want to replicate Lume’s approach to customer retention? Try this:

Make repeat purchases easy

Build an option for easy reordering into your shopping experience. This can be a subscription, yes, but even a ‘Repeat order’ call to action (CTA) button at the right place can make a big impact.

Send renewal reminders early

Your customers are counting on you to give them a heads-up about taking their money. Yes, this might increase churn rates—but those are the people who would be the most frustrated about the charge anyway.

Provide options

Retain and get more loyal customers by giving people flexible subscription terms. Ask them about their experience navigating their options through a customer effort score survey.

2. Dubsado: building a community of customers

Dubsado is a client management software for freelancers and creatives, including photographers, coaches, virtual assistants, event planners, and makeup artists. The platform’s features include forms, contracts, invoicing, workflow automation, and client portals.

What makes being a Dubsado customer special is the company’s private Facebook group. It’s designed to ask the Dubsado community for support and advice around a specific problem—like location-specific payments or custom client workflows—and to celebrate business milestones and customer successes.

#Examples of posts in Dubsado’s Facebook group for customers
Examples of posts in Dubsado’s Facebook group for customers

This group isn’t the place to get answers to tech support questions, but to connect with fellow creatives and Dubsado’s employees—all working toward the goal of streamlined client communications and workflows.

How Dubsado retains customers

The Dubsado team built a setup checklist for new users who want to get up and running quickly, along with a detailed demo video. These resources are key for customer activation and to help new customers navigate the user interface (UI).

But Dubsado is a versatile tool with several different features—and it may take users a while to fully customize once they complete the setup checklist. With flexible products, there’s always a risk of overwhelming users with too many options.

That’s exactly where Dubsado’s social media community initiative comes in. The Facebook group lets people of similar backgrounds, niches, and goals help and inspire each other with ideas, templates, and workflows, so they can make the most out of Dubsado for months and years to come.

Try creating a Customer Advisory Board (CAB). You create a small group of key customers to meet several times a year to get feedback on product direction.

You not only get valuable feedback from customers, but customers get to feel like they have input on the product, and they often enjoy networking with other members of the CAB—a small community in and of itself.

Sarah Metcalf
Head of Customer Marketing at Hotjar

Want to replicate Dubsado’s approach to customer retention? Try this:

Identify what customers struggle with beyond tech issues

Is there any knowledge or inspiration that your current customers lack when trying to make the most of your product? Review customer support conversations to find these pain points and a potential focus of your community.

Survey customers

Run a user persona survey to learn your customer’s background and the needs they’re looking to fulfill with your product. You can build upon those insights when creating a community and forge meaningful customer relationships.

Create an online community

Explore options like Facebook groups, Slack channels, and software solutions for customer forums to bring your users together so they can help each other out and make the most of your product.

3. Hotjar: quick time-to-value and a learning center

Hotjar (that’s us! 👋) provides product experience (PX) insights that help businesses of all shapes and sizes—from startup teams to ecommerce stores—understand and empathize with their customers so they can make the best product decisions.

Our goal is not only to get our users up and running with Hotjar quickly (no credit card required and installation only takes a few clicks), but also to help them get value from Hotjar’s tools as quickly as possible.

One of the ways we do that is through a learning center, embedded in the exact places where customers might feel unsure about what to do next.

#Hotjar’s prompt for a relevant free course
Hotjar’s prompt for a relevant free course

On top of that, customers also receive onboarding emails with relevant tips, plus a weekly email update with the most important insights Hotjar collects on your website or product.

How Hotjar retains customers

Depending on the traffic your website or product gets, Hotjar can collect hundreds or even thousands of customer data points and insights in as little as one week.

This is fantastic—and can also be overwhelming. Let’s take the example of our Recordings tool, which gives you playbacks of each user moving through your website, including scrolling, clicking, mouse movement, and navigation.

A few days after you install Hotjar on your website and collect a couple of hundred recordings, what do you do? Watch each of themwhich might take you hours? Randomly pick a few? Only watch the longest recordings?

Another option, of course, is to do none of that and call it quits. You never see value from Hotjar, your free trial runs out, and you move on. That’s why Hotjar has a prompt to teach you about filters, so you can find hidden gems in your recordings. These prompts take you directly to a short course focused on extracting value from Recordings.

#Course interface in the Hotjar learning center
Course interface in the Hotjar learning center

In just 20 minutes, you can jump back into your Hotjar account and start finding useful insights—and get your teammates and other teams on board—which is how Hotjar fosters and boosts customer loyalty.

Want to replicate Hotjar’s approach to customer retention? Try this:

Support users every step of the way

Use tooltips, prompts, and supporting copy on your product’s key customer touchpoints. Consider where your customers may be confused or stuck, meaning there’s a risk they’ll leave.

Run a churn survey

You’ll always see some level of customer churn—there’s no way around it. Use it as a learning opportunity and ask your churning customers about their reasons for leaving, so you can optimize other users’ experience.

Make your tips and tutorials easy to find

Whether you have a standard knowledge base, a learning center, a library of video demos, or any other self-service option for customers, make it easy to find from anywhere in the product. Think menu bars, a footer, or a floating button.

🔥Pro tip: are your users seeing the information you want them to see? If you’ve added tooltips, buttons, and text that point them in the right direction, but they’re still struggling to complete key actions, analyze scroll heatmaps to check if the product or web page elements you want them to see are out of view.

A scroll map shows you the percentage of users that viewed each section of your page. You might discover that most users never scroll far down enough to see key elements—like a CTA button—on your page, so you might want to place it higher up.

Example of a scroll map in Hotjar

4. Ooni: product-specific guides and brand ambassadors

Ooni is a brand of pizza ovens made to be used at home.

Since most people don’t already know how to use a pizza oven, Ooni’s retention focus is on education and user onboarding. This includes dough preparation, shaping the pizza base, making the sauce, handling the oven, and more—and it’s all based on the exact model of the pizza oven you own.

#Start of Ooni’s guides, prompting customers to choose the product they own
Start of Ooni’s guides, prompting customers to choose the product they own

And as it turns out, Ooni’s customers really love their pizza oven—they share their experience, tricks, tools, and recipes—and Ooni chooses to ride that wave and provide customers with a referral link and a discount code. They’ll likely keep sharing their Ooni photos and tips, so rewarding them (and new customers they send Ooni’s way) is a brilliant way to boost customer retention rates.

Ooni’s customer-turned-brand ambassador (source)

How Ooni retains customers

Folks at Ooni teach their customers how to make delicious oven-baked pizza at home—something that, before owning an Ooni, seemed like a stretch. Those people then quite organically become Ooni’s product advocates and brand ambassadors—just by virtue of loving the customer experience.

Ooni’s pizza ovens aren’t the cheapest of kitchen gadgets, so it might be easy to think that if someone makes a purchase, they’ll use the product regularly. Many things could prevent that—including that they just don’t like it and end up returning it.

Thanks to Ooni’s educational content, recipes, and a team of people that keeps track of how customers talk about Ooni, the company builds long-lasting relationships with its customers—and turns them into ambassadors.

Want to replicate Ooni’s approach to customer retention? Try this:

Shorten the learning curve

If there’s a chance your product will be tricky to use at first, use every interaction with your customer to point them to easy, digestible guides and walkthroughs. This includes emails that include order confirmation and shipping updates.

Level up the unboxing experience

Product unboxing is another key touchpoint that customers rely on to get started—make it delightful, educational, and seamless.

Collect customer feedback

Run post-purchase surveys to check in with your new customers and explore any moments with the product that made them feel stuck, or those that helped them more than anything else.

5. Miro: templates and user research sessions

Miro is a visual collaboration platformthat works like a digital whiteboard—teams use to brainstorm, plan, design, and teach.

Miro stands out with two customer retention strategies: the first is focused on product adoption with ready-to-use templates, which they emphasize in-app during signup and in onboarding emails:

Miro’s onboarding email guiding users toward templates (source)

The team’s other customer retention strategy focuses on getting to know Miro’s users, collecting direct feedback about the processes they use in their job, and understanding how Miro fits into their workflow through interviews. As part of its strategy to get more people to participate in these interviews, Miro offers its customers incentives in the form of a $50 gift card.

Miro’s email inviting users to a research session (source)

How Miro retains customers

Products like Miro become sticky—meaning they create repeat customers and usage—when an entire team gets on board. By default, starting a new board inside Miro opens a prompt with templates across different categories, which makes it easier to start working on an idea. If Miro’s users had to figure out everything from scratch each time they met, it would be a lot tougher for them to stick around.

#Miro’s prompt for templates when starting a new board
Miro’s prompt for templates when starting a new board

And, by making the most of insights from user research sessions, Miro develops and tweaks these templates based on what customers need the tool to do for them (aka jobs to be done, or JTBD).

Want to replicate Miro’s approach to customer retention? Try this:

Build a customer journey map

Identify all the touchpoints a user has when interacting with your product, both for the first time and as they keep using your product. Where do they get stuck? What makes it easy to progress?

Consistently collect user feedback

Pain points can range from a frustrating user experience (UX) issue to a confusing feature. Let users share these pain points with a handy on-page feedback widget (instead of creating further frustration by making them jump through hoops).

Brainstorm helpful assets

Consider any guides, templates, walkthroughs, demos, tooltips, or checklists you can build into your product experience to make the journey smooth.

Pro tip: Hotjar gives you advanced filters to find session recordings that reveal points of frustration as your users progress through your product.

For example, rage clicks (quick repeated clicks) and u-turns (hitting the back button instead of completing an action) can indicate why you’re struggling to activate new users and get them to stick around.

Hotjar lets you filter Recordings of users who reached the checkout page and started rage-clicking.

6. Uber: re-engagement emails and reminders

Uber doesn’t need an introduction, because even though it’s grown its platform in many ways, ridesharing remains its core product.

Uber’s customer retention strategy focuses on engaging existing users, and email plays a big role in it. Customers who haven’t taken a trip with Uber in a while get an email with a gentle reminder, along with a list of recent updates on the app, safety measures, and the booking process.

And for those who recently took a ride with Uber, there's a receipt email that suggests leaving the driver a tip or a rating, plus a ‘Thanks for tipping’ follow-up email.

#Uber’s follow-up email after rating and tipping a driver
Uber’s follow-up email after rating and tipping a driver

How Uber retains customers

Uber’s emails aren’t their only customer engagement and retention tactic—similar messages come through the mobile app’s push notifications. However, those notifications rarely arrive exactly when someone needs a ride, so users dismiss and forget about them soon after.

Emails are different. They’re more sticky and linger in our inboxes and minds for much longer than weirdly timed notifications on our phones. They’re also more thorough and complete, and they make it easy to focus on the overarching message.

The style, tone, and focus of Uber’s emails morphed as the world changed with the coronavirus pandemic, emphasizing health, safety, and the commitment to protecting drivers and passengers alike. They often link to pages focused on safety, nurturing the trust and relationship that was there before the pandemic.

Want to replicate Uber’s approach to customer retention? Try this:

Brainstorm reminder messages

“We’ve missed you” isn’t a bad message, but it can be very bland and is unlikely to stand out. What can you say to your existing customers to remind them of you and their past experiences?

Find a ‘sticky’ channel

Not all channels work equally well for all industries and product types. Explore text messages, push notifications, email, or a combination of them to find out what customers rely on the most.

Analyze what happens post-click

Once you nudge your customers to remind them of you, watch recordings to track what they do on your website or in-app. What draws their attention? What are they ignoring or getting stuck on?

7. Allbirds: exceptional customer support

Allbirds is a brand of sustainable clothing and footwear. Their go-to retention strategy is providing exceptional customer service, which this case perfectly embodies:

One customer’s experience with Allbirds customer support (source)

It’s the ultimate dedication to retention: the customer received a product and practically destroyed it within a day, meaning they no longer had the product and may never order it again. Allbirds made sure that wasn’t the case and exceeded customer expectations.

How Allbirds retains customers

Customer support as a retention strategy means that something has to be wrong so that you can make it right and retain your customer. That seems…counterintuitive?

But things will and do go wrong. All customers won’t always be 100% happy—and that’s okay. It’s what you do when you face customer complaints that counts and makes a difference.

This TrustPilot review (slightly shortened for clarity) of Allbirds shows how the company’s support team operates:

I was sent the wrong pair of shoes so contacted the support email address to flag this and ask how to resolve. Alina responded quickly with simply laid out steps on what would happen next. Replacement ones were sent out promptly and she arranged for pick-up of the other ones stress-free and apologized. She was prompt and polite. Mistakes happen, but it's the way people respond to them that is the real indicator of good service. This is what good customer service looks like.

Would this customer have been happier if they received the correct pair of shoes the first time around? Possibly. But the way Allbirds handled the issue showed this person that Allbirds always has its customer’s back, making it an easier choice to buy from the company again—and recommend it to others.

Want to replicate Allbirds’ approach to customer retention? Try this:

Track your CSAT and NPS®

Your Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score® (NPS) measure your short-term and long-term customer satisfaction and loyalty. Any dips reveal issues in the customer journey that need your instant attention.

Don’t wait for things to go wrong

If things sometimes do go wrong, there’s a chance that potential customers are thinking about it (“What if I receive a wrong product?”). Build the answers to those questions into your buying experience—for example, into your knowledge base or FAQs.

Layer customer support with qualitative insights

When customers tell you about a pain point, make it easy to recreate their issue on your end so you can see exactly what they see. For example, look at the session recording of when they experienced an issue so it’s easier to identify and solve.

Learn about your customers to retain them for longer

Dive into insights like session recordings, heatmaps, survey responses, and customer feedback to delight your customers at every touchpoint.

FAQs about customer retention examples