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5 Innovative Customer Retention Examples and Case Studies


You know that customer retention matters. You know that existing customers are easier and more cost-effective to manage. And you know that, over time, they’re likely to spend more with you than brand-new customers.

But what does successful customer retention look like in practice? Here, we’re sharing customer retention examples and case studies that can help you to think of new ways of getting your customers to stay.

CustomerGauge research has shown that only 49% of B2B companies are measuring their retention rate. This means that the majority of businesses have no idea who they’re retaining, how close these customers are to churning, in other words, or what the financial impact of retaining or losing them is.

If you prioritize this information, however, you can not only boost your customer retention, but your revenue, too. And that winning combination is the unmistakable key to a successful and sustainable business.

For this article, we did a ton of research into our archive of retention stories and strategies (you can find 25 more examples in this report at the end, and several more here on page 11 onwards).

We also asked our VP of Education, Cary Self, to tell us his favourite examples of B2B companies with excellent retention strategies. Here’s what he said:

“The first B2B company that came to mind was Wajax. Here is a company that specializes in industrial parts and engineered repair services. You would think they have very little competition, so why bother worrying about churn? Because the same action you take to prevent churn, will also generate growth. They took their first year of their program just to measure and understand what was important to their customers. The second year, they applied all their learnings to help reduce churn and encourage growth. So much so, that their promoters spend 2 times as much… not bad for a 150 year old company.”

You can read the full Wajax case study here.

“Another great example is Heineken, yes, the beer company! Their leadership speak about their program not as a way to put out fires, but a way to begin relationships. This tells you all you need to know. It is not about a quick sale for them, it is about establishing a healthy relationship that can be measured in comments, metrics, and revenue. Even if you think that their customers have no other choice but to buy from Heineken, it is so important to constantly ask what can we do better to hold on to our customers.”

You can read the full Heineken case study here.

5 Real-Life Examples of Customer Retention Strategies That Work

Sometimes, seeing how others have done it can help to spark ideas you might not have had before.

Let’s take a look at 5 real-life customer retention examples.

1. Sweet Fish Media

Industry: Industry services

CustomerGauge customer:

Success story: Reducing monthly churn from 15% to 3% in less than a year

Customer Retention Example: SweetFish

Sweet Fish Media is a B2B podcasting agency. It focuses its efforts on fostering relationships between companies and their prospects.

A couple of years ago, the Sweet Fish leadership team noticed they were losing a significant amount of business to churn. Then Director of Sales Logan Lyles likened it to having a big hole at the bottom of their bucket. There was new business coming in, but a lot was simply walking out.

At the time, Sweet Fish didn’t have a system in place to measure churn. But when they did the manual calculation, they found they were losing 15% of their recurring revenue every month to customer attrition. That was a tough figure to look at and, in no time at all, the team decided to rally.

They set about creating a churn prevention strategy that had a clear goal, a defined timeline, and visibly monitored performance. The goal was to reduce churn from 15% to less than 5% by the end of the year.

During this time, they also implemented quarterly podcast reviews, which enabled Sweet Fish account managers—for the very first time—to consult customers on best practices and review client success. One customer loved it so much they offered to pay for it.

This dual-pronged approach saw enormous results. Within 6 months, the Sweet Fish team had dropped churn by more than 10% and, in less than 12 months, had reduced it to just 3%.

2. SugarCRM

Industry: Software

CustomerGauge customer:

Success story: Using a holistic program to build customers for life

Customer Retention Example: SugarCRM

SugarCRM is a customer relationship management system and the only one that offers customers a clear, complete, unfragmented picture of the customer journey using AI.

SugarCRM has always taken retention very seriously. In fact, it sits at the heart of almost every strategic decision at the company. In everything the company does, the team constantly asks: will this help create a customer for life?

There are several ways that SugarCRM tries to ensure this. They gather regular feedback through voice of customer (VoC) surveys and relationship and transactional surveys, and they always close the loop with customers who give feedback. In the interests of transparency, they also created SugarClub, a space where they can talk openly with their users and let them know what steps are being taken to address their feedback.

This level of transparency builds customer trust, and helps the team to gain important insights into what their customers want and need. It also gives the whole company access to their customer base so that relationships become easier to form and nurture.

Lastly, SugarCRM has created a feedback ambassador team. This team has representatives across the organization who are responsible for jumping in and closing the loop on issues that apply to them. This has the added advantage of making the entire company more customer centric.

3. ICON

Industry: Industry services

CustomerGauge customer:

Success story: Achieving a 98.8% retention rate

Customer Retention Example: ICON

ICON creates tailor-made outsourcing solutions. It uses a combination of cutting-edge technology and A-player human resources to deliver leading inside sales and account management solutions for B2B brands.

The ICON team knows that the lifeblood of its growth strategy is customer experience: over 80% of its business comes from either referrals, cross-sells, or upsells, after all. This is the result of a systematic process that ICON has in place to act on feedback, drive new referrals, provide a great experience, and make the customer part of the process.

The company’s twice-yearly relationship surveys are short and quick, and have an incredible closed loop procedure that has helped to secure an incredible 100% response rate. 100%!? Yes, you read that right. The trick, ICON, says is in their customer-centric action plans.

Related article: How ICON gets a 100% response rate with Account Experience

When ICON receives feedback that requires an action to be taken, they invite the customer to join their 90-day action plan to correct the problem. So, they not only close the loop, but also include the customer in the plan to correct it. With the customer involved in this way, ICON sees deeper loyalty, a higher willingness to recommend, and an astonishing 98.8% customer retention rate.

ICON also has a Net Promoter Score of 70—well above its industry average of 44.

4. HeidelbergCement

Industry: Manufacturing

CustomerGauge customer:

Success story: Increasing retention with a 70% response rate

Customer Retention Example: Heidelberg

HeidelbergCement is one of the largest building materials manufacturers in the world, supplying their aggregates, ready-mix concrete, and cement from their headquarters in Germany to over 50 countries.

The complexity and geographic breadth of this business necessitated an experience program that could adapt to each location’s unique challenges. While the program was initially developed to address customer frustrations and save accounts before they churn, it’s instead becoming a strategic program that’s delivering real business results.

First, HeidelbergCement launched a pilot project, which they then rolled out to 25 countries. With these insights, they started to evolve their program and enhance its strategic impact.

They established designated experience champions at each local business unit to report back to the global program lead. The local champions have the power to run the program based on the feedback local customers provide, and to shift the business’s approach and strategy accordingly.

One of the program’s core components is customer follow-up, particularly among detractors and passives who receive a personalized phone call to discuss their problems, and to find out how to recover their satisfaction.

Through this hands-on approach, HeidelbergCement receives over 70% response rates on its surveys and continues to strengthen its relationships with its customers.

5. ZoomInfo

Industry: Software

CustomerGauge customer:

Success story: Using education to improve retention

Customer Retention Example: ZoomInfo

ZoomInfo is a publicly traded SaaS company that sells access to its database of millions of contacts to recruiting, sales, and marketing teams.

ZoomInfo has a retention rate of 98.5%—an incredible achievement that’s the result of building relationships with its user base through education and training.

ZoomInfo is unique in its education strategy: the team has mapped it out so that it aligns with the touchpoints in their experience program. Wherever customers are at, ZoomInfo offers training throughout the customer life cycle.

After talking with customers, VP of Customer Onboarding and Implementation Tom Studdert realized that, at the 90-day point, customers weren’t particularly excited about ZoomInfo anymore. It was no longer the “shiny new piece of tech” in the stack. Tom and his team saw an opportunity, and realized that this was a perfect chance to introduce a second round of training. When they did, they saw an immediate increase in usage among their clients.

The team went on to produce a series of education interventions, including live webinars, on-demand training, private training, and the ZoomInfo certification program.

The final step involved moving live, in-person training from the onboarding process to three months prior to renewal. The team saw that it was much more advantageous for both the customer and Zoominfo if they came out three months prior to renewal because their customers were able to ask informed questions and streamline their existing processes.

All of these steps combined continue to be responsible for ZoomInfo’s incredible retention rate.

Find out more: Listen to our podcast on Training to Retaining with Tom Studdert of ZooInfo.

How CustomerGauge Can Help with Customer Retention

Every business is unique, and B2B customer retention is very different to B2C retention—where there has been years of investment in building customer loyalty strategies. This makes it hard to find tailor-made and effective solutions specifically for B2B businesses.

Fortunately, at CustomerGauge, we live, eat, and sleep B2B. (Gartner recently ranked us as the best experience platform for B2B brands on the planet.) We’re here to help.

If you’re looking for a customer retention strategy that works for your business and your unique needs, book a meeting with our experts today.

Hey there! Did you know we have a library of customer retention articles? Check these topics out:

Next Up: Low Customer Retention? Here are 5 Ways to Change That

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