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7 best customer retention software tools and platforms to drive repeat purchases

There’s no single piece of customer retention software that will magically create legions of happy, loyal, repeat customers. Retention is affected by many things—like the customer’s experience with your website or how helpful they found customer service—so it's no surprise you’d need a range of tools to improve it.

Last updated

9 Nov 2022

Customer insights to improve retention

Hotjar’s tools show you why customers leave, and what makes them loyal.

What is customer retention software?

Customer retention software is any tool used to measure, track, and improve customer retention, i.e., your ability to keep customers using your store, product, or service over time. 

Types of customer retention tools

Since improving customer retention requires multiple steps, customer retention tools come in many shapes and sizes. Each type will help you solve a different element of retention. These include:

  • Analytics and data tools: to accurately measure customer retention metrics and track them over time

  • Automation platforms: to connect customer data from different sources and see the bigger picture in one place

  • Customer experience (CX) insights: to measure and improve website experience and monitor customer satisfaction with voice of customer (VoC) feedback 

  • Customer support tools: to deliver better customer service and measure its impact

  • Messaging platforms: to send customers emails, SMS, and push notifications, encouraging them to come back

  • CRM (customer relationship management) tools: to manage multiple customer touch points in one tool

  • Loyalty programs: to incentivize repeat purchases

  • Personalization tools: to tailor content to each customer

You won’t need every type of tool to make an impact. Start by choosing two or three that align with your company’s goals and customer retention strategy

7 effective tools and software to measure and improve customer retention

1. Hotjar: improve customer experience with feedback and behavior insights

#Hotjar’s four tools in action: Heatmaps, Recordings, Feedback, and Surveys
Hotjar’s four tools in action: Heatmaps, Recordings, Feedback, and Surveys

What it is: Hotjar (👋 hello!) is a product experience (PX) insights platform with four main tools (Heatmaps, Recordings, Feedback, and Surveys) that show how customers behave on your website and collect direct feedback from them. 

Why you need it: just because someone bought from you once, doesn’t mean they had a fantastic experience getting there—or a desire to repeat it. Optimizing your website to improve usability and hearing what customers love (and hate) will go a long way toward improving retention. And since the stumbling blocks faced by one-time customers may be the same ones preventing others from purchasing, you’ll also improve conversion rates in the process.

How to use Hotjar to improve customer retention: 

  • Map the full customer journey from entry to exit, and see customer drivers and pain points

  • Filter insights by cohort to view data by only churning customers or repeat customers

  • Filter Heatmaps and Recordings by rage click (where users clicked multiple times on the same element) to quickly find website issues

  • Apply the clicked element filter to view Recordings from users who did (or didn’t) click an important element, like an ‘invite your team’ link, or the ‘checkout’ button

  • Send customers a post-delivery email (or post-use for SaaS) to measure CSAT (customer satisfaction) and Net Promoter Score® (NPS); ask follow-up questions to understand what you’re doing well and what needs improvement

  • For SaaS and subscription businesses, send a churn survey when customers unsubscribe to learn why they left

Customer retention tools for businesses like yours

A simple Hotjar Survey drastically reduced churn and increased customer retention for gym subscription service Hussle.

2. Baremetrics: track customer retention metrics over time

ConvertKit’s customer retention table in Baremetrics

What it is: Baremetrics is a subscription analytics dashboard that tracks and displays customer and revenue metrics. 

Why you need it: you need to see an accurate measure of your customer retention rate over time to identify how many customers return, spot issues and growth opportunities, and accurately measure if your customer retention efforts (using other tools in this list!) are paying off. 

How to use Baremetrics to measure and improve customer retention: 

  • Categorize churning customers by delinquency, cancellation, or move to trialing to see what’s making you lose customers

  • Segment customers by attributes like country or plan type to find retention trends; use cohorts to see when customers are most likely to churn

  • Retain more customers by addressing delinquent churn (due to failed payment) with dunning emails, in-app reminders, and additional analytics

Alternative tools: 

  • Woopra: customer journey analytics

  • Putler: multichannel ecommerce analytics tool

  • Segment: customer data platform that integrates with Hotjar

  • Kissmetrics: advanced product and ecommerce analytics suite

  • Shopify analytics: for Shopify users; reports include First-time vs. returning customer sales, Loyal customers, and Retention rate chart

3. Zendesk: deliver better customer service

#A customer conversation in Zendesk’s admin dashboard
A customer conversation in Zendesk’s admin dashboard

What it is: Zendesk is customer service software and sales CRM to deliver and optimize live customer chat and help documentation. 

Why you need it: customer service is a big part of customer experience; optimize it to ensure your customers can find helpful information on their own, get timely answers from support staff, and are satisfied with the help they receive.

How to use Zendesk to improve customer retention: 

  • Deliver customer service via a pop-up chat window

  • Set up a Zendesk Answers Bot to help customers self-service common issues (like how to initiate a refund or what shipping options are available)

  • Enable satisfaction ratings and monitor if customers are happy with the support they received

Alternative customer service tools: 

4. ActiveCampaign: send personalized messages to entice customers back

#Creating an automated email sequence in ActiveCampaign
Creating an automated email sequence in ActiveCampaign

What it is: ActiveCampaign is a customer experience automation platform with email and SMS messaging, a landing page builder, engagement tracking, and CRM.

Why you need it: messaging customers by email, SMS, or push notification is an effective (and cheap) way to increase customer retention by encouraging people back with coupons, offers, or recommendations for future purchases. 

How to use ActiveCampaign to improve customer retention: 

  • Trigger personalized emails for different stages of the customer journey 

  • Use pre-built automations to send discounts and win back disengaged customers

  • Segment messages based on when customers last purchased from you

  • Track message engagement to measure customer retention efforts

  • Integrate with other apps, like Aimtell for sending push notifications

Alternative tools: 

5. HubSpot: manage email, support, and customer data in one place

#Managing customer service emails in HubSpot
Managing customer service emails in HubSpot

What it is: HubSpot is an all-in-one CRM platform for customer support, sales, and marketing teams. 

Why you need it: CRM software is designed to help you track, optimize, and personalize the customer experience, so you can create more satisfied customers and achieve more repeat purchases. 

How to use HubSpot to improve customer retention: 

  • Target existing customers with personalized marketing campaigns

  • Offer and monitor self-service, live chats, and email support to improve customer service

  • Send customer feedback surveys to track satisfaction and customer loyalty

If you’re using Hotar: use the Hotjar and HubSpot integration to automatically send Hotjar survey responses to your HubSpot contact timeline to see feedback in one place and understand what drives customers to come back (or not).

Alternative CRM platforms: 

6. Yotpo (formerly Swell): incentivize customer loyalty with rewards

#Yotpo’s loyalty performance dashboard
Yotpo’s loyalty performance dashboard

What it is: Yotpo is an ecommerce marketing platform that collects customer reviews, sends SMS messages, and builds customized rewards and loyalty programs. It’s compatible with Shopify and BigCommerce.

Why you need it: customer loyalty programs can incentivize shoppers to stay with your brand, even if your competitors offer similar products. 

How to use Yotpo to improve customer retention: 

  • Build and launch a customer loyalty program using drag-and-drop design tools

  • Segment and target customers with tailored SMS, MMS, and email messages

  • Track loyalty program success with performance dashboards

  • Use machine learning to predict the likelihood of repeat purchases

Alternative customer loyalty platforms: 

7. Zapier: connect and automate your retention stack

#Connect Hotjar insights with 5000+ apps using Zapier
Connect Hotjar insights with 5000+ apps using Zapier

What it is: Zapier is a workflow automation and app connection platform for linking tools together without coding.

Why you need it: since improving customer retention involves several different tools, connecting and automatically sending data between them will save you time, keep you organized, and avoid user error.

How to use Zapier to improve customer retention: 

  • Connect any of your customer retention stack to automate actions, receive alerts, and compile data in your preferred tools, for example:

Send new Hotjar Survey responses to Google Sheets to analyze them.

Add customers to ActiveCampaign automations when they are charged on Stripe.

Send Giftbit rewards for new contact property changes in HubSpot.

Alternative automation tools: 

Too many choices?

We’ve linked to 30+ customer retention tools in this guide, and there are hundreds more you could choose from. Instead of succumbing to decision fatigue, we recommend starting with a platform we know works (because we use it ourselves): Hotjar. 

Seeing how customers use your website and collecting real customer feedback will give you ideas to improve customer retention, from removing bugs to optimizing for customer delight, with the added side-benefit of accidentally improving conversion rates while you’re at it. 😉

Customer insights to improve retention

Hotjar’s tools show you why customers leave, and what makes them loyal.

FAQs about customer retention software