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Measuring customer loyalty: key metrics & analysis techniques

Measuring customer loyalty is an important cornerstone of sustainable business success. Retaining loyal customers not only translates to repeat purchases and higher order values but also reduces acquisition costs and creates organic growth. However, effectively measuring and analyzing customer loyalty can be a complex challenge.

According to a study by Harvard Business Review, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can boost profits by 25% to 95%. LoyaltyLion has created this article to serve as your comprehensive guide, highlighting key metrics that allow you to evaluate and improve customer loyalty within your organization.

Key customer loyalty metrics

We’ve broken down the essential aspects of measuring customer loyalty into four categories:

  • Financial metrics
  • Engagement metrics
  • Behavioral metrics
  • Additional metrics

Each category provides valuable insights into different facets of customer loyalty. This allows you to evaluate your customer relationships by understanding their participation within your program. With a thorough understanding of these metrics, you’ll be well-equipped to make informed, data-driven decisions that drive long-term success for your business.

Financial metrics

Financial metrics play a pivotal role in measuring customer loyalty by providing tangible indicators of customer commitment and value. These metrics offer insights into the direct impact of loyal customers on your company’s bottom line and overall financial health. By quantifying the monetary value of your loyal customers, you can gauge the effectiveness of your retention strategies and identify opportunities for improvement.

1. Customer lifetime value (CLV)

CLV helps you understand how much a customer will be worth across their lifetime shopping with you. Understanding this metric helps you to prioritize high-value customers and inform marketing and retention strategies. Focusing on customers with a high CLV can significantly boost profitability.


CLV = average customer revenue per year x average customer lifespan in Years

Calculation Example:

Imagine a customer spends $100 per year with you, on average, and remains your customer for 3 years. Their CLV would be $100/year * 3 years = $300.\

2. Repeat purchase rate (RPR)

RPR indicates customer loyalty and propensity to repurchase, allowing you to identify loyal customers for targeted campaigns and loyalty programs. 


RPR = (Repeat Customers / Total Customers) x 100

Calculation Example:

If you have 100 customers and 20 make a second purchase, your RPR would be (20 / 100) x 100 = 20%.

3. Average order value (AOV)

AOV reflects the average customer spend per order and helps identify whether or not your loyalty program members are increasing their basket sizes. Analyzing AOV trends helps to highlight opportunities for upselling, cross-selling, and personalized product recommendations.


AOV = Total Revenue / Total Orders

Calculation Example:

If your total revenue for the month is $10,000 and you had 100 orders, your AOV would be $10,000 / 100 orders = $100.

4. Customer acquisition cost (CAC)

CAC allows you to compare the cost of attracting new customers to the value of retaining existing ones. It highlights the importance of customer retention for sustainable growth.


CAC = Total Marketing & Sales Spend / Total Customers Acquired

Calculation Example:

If you spent $10,000 on marketing and sales in a month and acquired 50 new customers, your CAC would be $10,000 / 50 = $200.

5. Revenue churn rate

The revenue churn rate measures the lost revenue potential due to customer churn. Analyzing churn reasons helps identify areas for improvement, enabling you to implement effective retention strategies in response to increased churn.


Revenue Churn Rate = (Lost Revenue from Churned Customers / Total Revenue) x 100

Calculation Example:

If you lost $5,000 in revenue from churned customers and had a total revenue of $20,000, your churn rate would be ($5,000 / $20,000) x 100 = 25%.

Engagement metrics

Engagement metrics are fundamental tools for understanding how to measure customer loyalty, as they provide valuable insights into the depth and quality of your customer interactions. These metrics offer a window into the effectiveness of a brand’s communication and marketing efforts. 

By measuring various aspects of customer engagement across different channels and touchpoints, you’ll be able to gauge the level of emotional connection that customers show towards your brand.

1. Net promoter score (NPS)

NPS measures overall customer satisfaction and willingness to promote your brand. It’s a simple yet powerful metric for benchmarking against competitors and tracking improvement over time.


NPS = [(% of Promoters) – (% of Detractors)] / (Total Respondents) x 100

  • Promoters: Customers who score 9-10 on a scale of 1-10 are likely to recommend your brand.
  • Detractors: Customers who score 0-6 on the scale and are unlikely to recommend your brand.
  • Passives: Customers who score 7-8 and are neutral towards recommending your brand.


  • NPS ranges from -100 (all Detractors) to 100 (all Promoters), with 0 reflecting a neutral score.
  • A score above 70 is considered “good,” 50-70 is “average,” and below 50 is “poor.”

2. Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)

CSAT gauges customer satisfaction with specific touchpoints, helping identify areas for improvement and optimizing your customer journey.


CSAT is typically measured through short surveys after specific interactions (e.g., purchase, support ticket).


CSAT = (% of Satisfied Responses) / (Total Responses) x 100

3. Customer engagement score (CES)

CES measures the overall level of customer engagement with your brand, highlighting areas where customers are actively interacting and potential engagement gaps.


CES tracks customer interaction across various channels like website visits, app usage, social media engagement, etc. Each action earns points based on its significance.


CES varies depending on the chosen engagement factors and assigned point values. Typically, a weighted average is calculated based on the frequency and importance of customer actions.

4. Social media engagement

Measures brand awareness, sentiment, and community engagement on social media, highlighting opportunities for interaction and brand advocacy.


Analyzes metrics like likes, shares, comments, mentions, and click-through rates on your brand’s social media profiles. Track engagement rates (e.g., likes per post) for deeper insights.

5. Website traffic and engagement

Analyzes website user behavior and engagement, highlighting areas for improvement and content optimization. High engagement and high time on your website indicate that your users are interested.


Track website visits, page views, time on site, and bounce rate (percentage of visitors leaving after one page). Use analytics tools for detailed insights.

Behavioral metrics

Behavioral metrics play a crucial role in understanding brand loyalty by providing insights into the actions and interactions of customers with your brand’s products, services, and marketing efforts. These metrics focus on analyzing consumer behavior, preferences, and patterns to identify trends and opportunities for improving loyalty and driving repeat business. 

1. Purchase frequency

Purchase frequency reflects customer loyalty and their tendency to repurchase. It helps identify high-value customers and tailor marketing efforts accordingly.


Purchase Frequency = Total Orders (Timeframe) / Unique Customers (Timeframe)


If you had 100 orders in the past month from 50 unique customers, your purchase frequency would be 100 orders / 50 customers = 2 purchases per customer.

2. Customer retention rate (CRR)

CRR measures how effectively you retain existing customers, highlighting areas for improvement and the impact of retention efforts.


CRR = ((Ending Customers – New Customers) / Starting Customers) x 100


If you started the month with 100 customers, acquired 20 new ones, and ended with 115 customers, your CRR would be ((115 – 20) / 100) x 100 = 95%.

3. Product return rate

Product return rate reflects customer satisfaction with product quality and experience. High rates indicate potential quality issues or misleading product information.


Product Return Rate = (Returned Products / Total Products Sold) x 100


If you sold 100 products and received 10 returns, your product return rate would be (10 / 100) x 100 = 10%.

4. Active user rate

Active user rate measures ongoing engagement and interest in your platform or service. It helps identify areas for boosting engagement and retaining active users.


Varies depending on your platform or service. Typically, consider users who have logged in, made purchases, completed specific actions, etc., within a defined timeframe.

5. Referral rate

The referral rate reflects customer satisfaction and brand advocacy. A high rate indicates satisfied customers recommending your brand to others, leading to lower acquisition costs and higher ROI.


Referral Rate = (New Customers Acquired via Referrals / Total New Customers) x 100


If you acquired 20 new customers, and 5 came through referrals, your referral rate would be (5 / 20) x 100 = 25%.

Additional metrics

In addition to financial, engagement, and behavioral metrics, some supplementary indicators can provide valuable insights into how to measure customer loyalty. These additional metrics complement traditional measures by offering nuanced perspectives on various aspects of your customer’s experience.

1. Customer effort score (CES)

CES measures your customers’ experience and their perception of the effort required to engage with your brand. Low effort indicates efficient processes and satisfied customers.


CES uses a survey asking customers to rate the ease of completing a specific task or resolving an issue (e.g., 1 = “Very easy,” 7 = “Very difficult”). Average the responses for an overall CES score.

2. First contact resolution rate (FCR)

FCR measures your customer service team’s efficiency and ability to resolve issues quickly. High FCR reduces customer frustration and improves satisfaction.


FCR = (Issues Resolved on First Contact / Total Customer Inquiries) x 100


If you handled 100 customer inquiries and resolved 80 on the first contact, your FCR would be (80 / 100) x 100 = 80%.

3. Number of customer complaints

Monitoring complaints helps identify areas of improvement in your products, services, or customer service. Addressing complaints promptly improves customer satisfaction and loyalty.


Track the number of complaints received through various channels (e.g., email, phone calls, social media). Categorize complaints to identify recurring issues and trends.

How to leverage your data to improve your brand loyalty

Leveraging data effectively is pivotal in enhancing your brand’s loyalty program. By harnessing insights from financial, engagement, behavioral, and additional metrics, your business can refine its strategy and foster stronger connections with your customers. Here’s how you can harness your data to optimize brand loyalty:

  • Reward your loyal customers: Show appreciation to your loyal customers by offering exclusive rewards or benefits. Consider providing early access to sales, special discounts, or personalized offers.
  • Re-engage at-risk customers: Identify customers who are at risk of churning and re-engage with them through targeted emails or communications. Send reminders about available rewards or points expiry to encourage them to return to your site.
  • Surprise churned customers: Surprise churned customers to win them back and rekindle their loyalty. Offer them special promotions, birthday rewards, or exclusive campaigns to entice them to return. rebuilding trust in your brand.
  • Leverage emotional data: Go beyond traditional metrics and analyze sentiment analysis, reviews, and social media engagement to understand the emotional drivers of customer loyalty. Identify what truly resonates with your customers and tailor your approach accordingly.
  • Implement experiential rewards: Reward customers based on their positive sentiment and engagement. Offer exclusive perks, early access, or bonus points for positive reviews, social media mentions, or helpful forum contributions.
  • Encourage user-generated content: Incentivize your loyal customers to create and share user-generated content (UGC) such as testimonials, product reviews, or social media posts. UGC builds trust and authenticity, attracting new customers and strengthening loyalty among existing ones.
  • A/B test your loyalty strategies: Don’t guess, test! Use A/B testing to compare different reward structures,communication styles, and engagement tactics. Use data to determine the approaches that resonate most with your audience and maximize the impact of your efforts.

How to build customer loyalty in the pets sector

Owning a pet isn’t just about having a furry companion; it’s about building a unique bond. In the pet industry, understanding this emotional connection is key to fostering lasting loyalty. Dive into these strategies to create a community where pet owners feel valued and engaged.

  • Focus on the emotional connection: Pets are family, so understand their owners’ emotional needs. Offer personalized recommendations for food, treats, and accessories based on pet type, breed, and life stage.
  • Create a pet-centric community: Host pet-friendly events, offer loyalty points for vet visits or training classes, and build a social media community for pet owners to connect.
  • Reward responsible pet care: Partner with veterinarians, shelters, or animal rescue organizations to offer exclusive discounts or loyalty points for responsible pet care practices (vaccinations, spaying/neutering, adoption).
  • Leverage subscription models: Offer subscription boxes tailored to specific pet needs (e.g., monthly treats, dental chews, seasonal accessories) with loyalty rewards for longer subscription periods.
  • Celebrate milestones and anniversaries: Reward pet owners with bonus points or personalized gifts on their pet’s birthday, adoption anniversary, or other special occasions.
  • Offer exclusive content and early access: Give loyal customers early access to new product launches, exclusive discounts on pet care services, or educational ebooks and guides.
  • Support a cause they care about: Partner with animal shelters or rescue organizations and allow customers to donate their loyalty points to support these causes.

How to build customer loyalty in the retail sector

The retail industry is constantly evolving, and building customer loyalty requires more than just competitive prices. Discover how to personalize the shopping experience, leverage technology, and create a sense of community to turn your customers into loyal brand advocates.

  • Personalize the experience: Analyze customer purchase history and preferences to recommend relevant products, offer early access to personalized sales, and provide targeted email marketing campaigns.
  • Embrace omnichannel engagement: Create a seamless experience across all touchpoints (website, store, mobile app). Offer click-and-collect, buy online return in-store options, and consistent loyalty program benefits across channels.
  • Implement gamification: Introduce gamified elements like points, badges, and leaderboards within your loyalty program to encourage engagement and incentivize repeat purchases.
  • Offer early access to sales and exclusive product launches: Reward loyal customers with early access to upcoming sales, limited-edition products, or pre-order options for highly anticipated releases.
  • Personalize product recommendations based on current trends: Analyze customer data and current shopping trends to suggest complementary products or bundles, anticipating their needs and increasing their basket value.
  • Create a tiered loyalty program: Implement a loyalty program with multiple tiers that unlock increasingly valuable rewards and benefits as customers reach higher spending thresholds or engagement levels.

Key takeaways

To accurately measure your brand’s loyalty, it’s important to take a comprehensive approach that incorporates financial, engagement, behavioral, and supplementary metrics. Through this multidimensional analysis of customer interactions, your business can gain an in-depth understanding of factors influencing loyalty and opportunities for improvement. Whether you already have a loyalty program or you’re looking for cost-effective ways to drive revenue, you can visit the LoyaltyLion Academy to become the go-to expert in ecommerce loyalty.

About the author


Ipek is a Product Marketing Consultant at LoyaltyLion. Before doing her Marketing masters at the Queen Mary University of London, she worked in top global advertising and marketing agencies providing creative strategies for both B2B and B2C clients. At LoyaltyLion, Ipek makes sure our readers get the best content about LoyaltyLion's features and how it can help to power your ecommerce businesses.

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