There are a lot of positives that come with implementing a subscription business model, including a higher income margin, better supply predictability, increased and more consistent website traffic, and a higher consumer loyalty index. However, a subscription-based business is not one without pitfalls; in fact, subscription-based businesses are hounded by customer churn more than any other kind of business model.
That being said, however, there is one process upon which subscription-based organizations can focus to ensure their success: customer service. To help you get started with creating your own strategies for customer service, here are some of the best industry practices to keep in mind.
Reward Loyal Subscribers
While continuously growing your subscriber base is a worthwhile goal, it’s also important to take care of your loyal customers. Indeed, making sure that these long-time subscribers are happy also makes sure that they stay with your brand for longer. Just think of a loyalty rewards program as a way to say “thank you” to your faithful patrons, with an underlying objective of convincing them to stay for longer. Loyalty programs also improve consumer satisfaction ratings, which in turn motivates current customers to become brand ambassadors.
In addition, retaining customers is actually more cost-effective than trying to get new ones or convincing old ones to return. In fact, according to a report by the Harvard Business Review, acquiring new customers is anywhere between 5 to 25 percent more expensive than retaining old ones.
Make Renewals Hassle-Free
Apart from rewards, another way to keep your loyal customers happy is to make the subscription process—from signing up and getting their first delivery to renewing their subscription plan—as easy possible. The renewal stage is especially important. Since your customers have already decided that they want to continue spending their hard-earned money on your products or services, you owe it to them to make the process convenient and efficient.
This can be easily achieved by using a smart subscription billing software. Not only does this help avoid failed payment transactions—a major source of customer churn—it also helps you gather customer insights, which you can use to fine-tune your operations and develop new products, among others.
Should your clients wish to cancel their subscription, you should also make the process hassle-free. This will help leave a better impression of your company among consumers, as they will not feel trapped by a complicated method. Including a quick one- or two-question “exit survey” to confirm the cancellation can also be a valuable source of business intelligence. Just make sure that the questions and choices are carefully crafted to avoid generic answers like “I don’t want to receive these emails anymore.”
Listen to Your Customers
Customers want to be heard, and you would do well to listen if you want to make them stay. What’s more, it’s often not enough that you just conduct a survey—you should also take action based on your customers’ answers.
Are your products getting a bit boring? Then maybe it’s time to innovate and develop new products or unique promotions. Are your customer service representatives unhelpful at times? Perhaps you should consider re-training them so that they’ll know how to better handle customer concerns. Do your customers want more payment options? Ask them what methods they prefer and work on integrating those alternatives within a specified period.
And while conducting surveys is the surest way to get the most specific information, it isn’t the only way to gather customer insights. You can also check what people are saying about your business on social media, or you can even track customer activity on your website to see which products get the most and the least amount of interest. This way, you can adjust your marketing programs accordingly.
Lastly, you should also make sure that there are channels where your customers can reach you. Social media and messaging apps are a great way to stay connected, but there are also people who prefer making calls or sending emails. Just make sure that if you open an avenue of communication, there is always somebody on the other end to receive feedback and provide a helpful response.
Give Your Customers a Choice
People have grown accustomed be given a choice in a lot of matters, and these days, that includes the way they shop and do business in general. But giving your customers a choice isn’t just limited to a wide selection of products; this can extend to several facets of their subscriptions.
For example, you can offer a range of subscription contracts, say 3-, 6-, and 12-month periods that they can either automatically or manually renew. Various payment options are also something to think about. Do you offer cash on delivery? Credit card payments? Online payments like Paypal? EFTPOS (electronic funds transfer at point of sale) with partner merchants? This communicates to your customers that not only do you value their patronage, you also want to give them freedom.
As the subscription economy continues to grow, it becomes even more important to maintain healthy consumer relationships. Hopefully, these tips can guide your organization in providing the best customer service experience and help you stand out among your competitors.
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