Alipio Umiten IV

Customer Lifetime Value: How to Calculate and Increase (CLV)

Are you looking for ways to measure the success of your business? If so, one metric you should pay close attention to is the customer lifetime value (CLV). CLV is a powerful tool that can tell you how much revenue each customer will generate over their lifetime with your business. By understanding this metric, you can better understand which customers are most valuable and what strategies work best to retain them. 

In this blog post, we’ll discuss what is customer lifetime value, how to calculate it using the CLV formula, why it’s important to measure, and what makes a good CLV number. Let’s dive in!

What Is Customer Lifetime Value?

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is a metric used to gauge the financial value of a customer over their lifetime with your business. It is calculated by estimating the total revenue generated from a single customer and subtracting any costs associated with acquiring or serving that customer. CLV helps businesses decide which customers to target, how much to spend on marketing and customer service, and other key business decisions. By understanding CLV, businesses can make more informed decisions that maximize their return on investment (ROI). 

Additionally, this metric provides insights into the long-term performance of a company’s products and services. With a better understanding of what drives customer lifetime value, organizations can design effective strategies to increase its value. This includes maximizing customer engagement, increasing retention rate, and increasing customer satisfaction. By utilizing the insights from CLV, businesses can better understand their customers, develop stronger relationships with them, and ultimately maximize their profits.

How to Calculate Customer Lifetime Value

Customer lifetime value is a metric that estimates the total revenue a customer will generate for a business during their entire relationship. The formula varies, but a common one is:

Customer Lifetime Value Formula

CLV = (Average Sale Value) x (Number of Repeat Transactions) x (Average Retention Time)


  1. Average Sale Value: The average amount of money a customer spends in a single transaction.
  2. Number of Repeat Transactions: The number of times a customer buys from the business during their relationship.
  3. Average Retention Time: The average length of time a customer stays with the business.

To calculate CLV, follow these steps:

1. Determine the period you want to calculate CLV (e.g., one year, five years, or the entire customer relationship).

2. Calculate the average sale value by dividing the total revenue generated by the number of transactions in the time period.

Average Sale Value = Total Revenue / Number of Transactions

3. Calculate the number of repeat transactions by dividing the total number of transactions by the number of unique customers in the time period.

Number of Repeat Transactions = Total Transactions / Number of Unique Customers

4. Calculate the average retention time by dividing the total time that all customers have been with the business by the number of unique customers.

Average Retention Time = Total Time Customers Have Been with Business / Number of Unique Customers

Once you have these values, you can calculate CLV using the formula:

CLV = Average Sale Value x Number of Repeat Transactions x Average Retention Time

For example, let's say you want to calculate the CLV for a five-year period. During that time, your restaurant business generated $1 million in revenue from 10,000 transactions by 2,000 unique customers. The total time those customers have been with the business is ten years.

Average Sale Value = $1,000,000 / 10,000 = $100
Number of Repeat Transactions = 10,000 / 2,000 = 5
Average Retention Time = 10 years / 2,000 = 5 years
CLV = $100 x 5 x 5 = $2,500

This means that the average customer is expected to generate $2,500 in revenue during their entire relationship with the business.

How to Increase Customer Lifetime Value

Increasing customer lifetime value (CLV) in restaurants can be challenging. With competition high and customers always looking for new experiences, restaurant owners must find ways to stand out from the crowd, build relationships with their customers, and keep them coming back for more. Here are some tips on how to increase CLV in your restaurant: 

1. Offer Loyalty Rewards Programs

Implementing a restaurant loyalty program is a powerful way to incentivize repeat business and increase CLV. By offering discounts, free meals, or other incentives to loyal customers, you can encourage them to return to your restaurant more often.

2. Create Personalized Experiences

Tailoring the customer experience to each individual can help build a deep connection between the customer and the restaurant. You can achieve personalization through custom menu options, personalized service, and other thoughtful touches. By tailoring your offerings to each customer’s preferences and needs, you can increase the likelihood that they will return and spend more money.

3. Leverage Digital Channels

In today's technology-driven world, having a strong online presence is crucial for any business. By establishing an engaging social media presence, a user-friendly eCommerce website, and offering online ordering options, you can reach more potential customers and keep your existing customers engaged.

4. Focus On Exceptional Customer Service

Exceptional restaurant customer service is key to building a loyal customer base. By ensuring that your staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and responsive to customer needs, you can create a welcoming and enjoyable dining experience.

5. Measure and Analyze Customer Data

You can gain valuable insights into what drives repeat business by tracking customer behavior and preferences. This includes analyzing purchase history, feedback, and other metrics to identify areas for improvement.

6. Offer Easy Returns 

If a customer has a negative experience, providing a fast and effective resolution is essential to maintain customer satisfaction. Offering hassle-free returns or compensating customers for poor service can restore faith in the business and show that customer service is a top priority.

A great example of a company that excels in customer satisfaction is Starbucks. With reported customer satisfaction as high as 89%, Starbucks has calculated its CLV at an impressive $14,099. This shows the significant impact that high levels of customer satisfaction can have on a business’s long-term financial performance.

7. Upsell and Cross Sell 

Encouraging customers to spend more by offering additional items or services can increase their overall spending and CLV. This can be achieved through up-selling higher-priced menu items, suggesting wine or cocktail pairings, and promoting desserts or other add-ons.

8. Start a Subscription Service

A subscription service is a great way to keep customers engaged and foster a sense of loyalty. Creating a monthly meal delivery service, a wine or beer club, or offering other subscription-based offerings can provide a steady stream of revenue and create a strong bond between the restaurant and its customers.

By implementing these strategies in your restaurant, you can see a big impact on customer lifetime value. Building relationships with customers is key for any business – and by following these tips, your restaurant can stand out from the competition and keep guests coming back again and again! 

Why Is Customer Lifetime Value Important?

Customer lifetime value (CLV) is an important metric for businesses to measure and understand because it provides insights into the total expected revenue from a customer. By understanding CLV, businesses can determine their most profitable customer segments and target their marketing strategies to acquire more customers with similar lifetime value. Additionally, understanding CLV can help a business optimize its customer retention strategies, as they will be able to identify the customers that are most likely to stay loyal and those that are at risk of churning. 

What Is a Good Customer Lifetime Value?

A good CLV should be at least three times greater than your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). This indicates that the amount of money you are investing in acquiring new customers is offset by the revenue generated over time, creating a positive return on investment for your business. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Customer Lifetime Value

Here are some frequently asked questions about CLV, including its formula, the difference between CLV and LTV, and the three components that makeup CLV.

What Is Customer Lifetime Value Formula?

The customer lifetime value (CLV) formula measures the revenue a business can expect to generate from a single customer over the entire duration of its relationship with the business. This calculation is incredibly valuable for businesses as it allows them to determine how much they should invest in customer acquisition, support, and retention to ensure a positive return on their marketing investments. 

The CLV formula takes into account the cost of acquiring each customer, the amount of revenue they generate each year, and how long they typically stay customers of that particular business. 

What Is the Difference Between CLV and LTV?

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) measures the total value a customer brings to a business over their entire lifetime. It considers not only the revenue generated by a customer but also other factors such as cost of acquisition, retention, and product/service costs. 

On the other hand, Lifetime Value (LTV) measures each customer's profitability. It is a forward-looking metric that estimates the net revenue a customer will bring to a business over their lifetime.

What Are the Three Components of CLV?

The three components of Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) are customer acquisition costs, customer retention costs, and customer profitability.