RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Accenture surveyed 500 respondents across multiple industries and company sizes online in the United States between May 2018 and July 2018.
  • We explored customers’ retention drivers, customer success activities that influence retention, and the value of the Customer Success Manager (CSM).
  • Top findings from the Keep Me Index uncovered five key attributes that influence customer retention.


To achieve sustainable growth amidst the fast-changing needs of today’s customers, responsive organizations are constantly adapting to offer customers a fast, personalized and relevant experience.

The traditional concept of customer loyalty has shifted, with the onus on the company to constantly adapt and cater products, services and experiences to the customer. Small digital pure-play organizations, and giant digital natives alike, are hardwired to thrive in this environment. Most large companies and industry mainstays face a tougher road.

In parallel, the rise of the subscription economy reinforces this customer-first ethos. There’s a heavy dependence on maintaining the customer relationship—capturing post-initial sales revenue and driving maximum customer lifetime value is now a must.

In this evolving world where businesses must constantly stay relevant and deliver superior customer experiences, customer success is becoming an increasingly important part of the equation to get right. Customer success is as much a strategy as it is an organizational function.

Customer attributes influencing retention

The basic interactions of a strong customer success program are known, but which factors are most influential? To identify what customers value and what companies need to do to meet their expectations, our study surveyed 500 software buyers to explore the key moments that make software and platform companies’ services and experiences stick—and persuade users to renew year-on-year.

This study assessed which customer attributes influence retention, using the Keep Me Index. The key attributes are: trust, instinct, dependence, perception and voice of the customer.



Using these variables, we studied the most impactful moments for a customer post-sale, and these are the top findings.

1. Trust is the #1 influencer

We found that a customer’s level of trust in a brand is the single most important indicator of renewal.

2. Playing for keeps

Creating dependency on products and services early on can account for up to 9 percent of the renewal decision.

3. Deliver continuous value

Once customers have used the product or services for at least three years, they tend to focus more on perceived product value.

4. First impressions count

The installation is one of the most important post-sale activities for determining whether a customer will renew.

5. The growing importance of self-service

As relationships mature, customers place a greater emphasis on self-service and ease of renewal.

View All

Companies must engage customers in relevant experiences from the moment they purchase the product through to their next renewal.

How companies stay relevant can take many different paths. It’s not only features and processes that influence a customer’s journey; the people supporting the customer do, too.

In summary, organizations must engage customers long after the initial interaction with relevant engaging experiences that instill trust from the very beginning. To do this successfully companies need the mindset, the right strategy and an organization to support it.

Lauren Steinitz

Senior Manager – Customer Insights & Growth


Monica Bendernagel

Manager – Customer Insights & Growth

MORE ON THIS TOPIC

Beyond digital: Living on the edge
Long-term customer relationship strategies
Moments that build trust

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