Some might say that subscription is the ultimate show of love online. Beyond likes and shares, to subscribe means you’re invested—you’re in for the long haul and ready to build a lasting relationship with that person, product, brand, or service.
For brands, the subscription model delivers similar results; instead of ending the customer relationship at checkout, brands can establish, preserve, and enhance relationships with their customers through the subscription experience.
With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that experts are seeing a shift from the product economy to the “subscription economy.” Digitalist Magazine predicts by 2022, 53% of all software revenue will be generated from a subscription model. And in that same year, the car subscription market is set to grow by 71%.
Think about it: from Netflix to Adobe, your telco provider to IPSY, Salesforce to Uber Pass—the subscription model has penetrated a wide variety of industries.
As more brands adopt this model, enhancing the brand experience for customers becomes the ultimate differentiator amongst the competition. Getting customers to sign up is merely the first step. To keep customers satisfied and engaged, brands need to deliver efficient and consistent CX.
Here are five CX tips on how subscription brands strengthen relationships with customers to keep them happy and loyal.
1. Prioritize every interaction with your customers
Brands are only as good as their interactions with their customers. If your interactions aren’t living up to your brand promise—delivering inconsistent messaging, ineffective communication methods, and unavailability when your customers want to reach you—you will erode their trust, decrease the lifetime value of your product or service, and cause customer churn.
Providing always on and always consistent interactions with customers is what will set brands apart from their competitors. Subscription brands need to cover all their bases: an exceptional product, a painless subscription service, and CX that shows your customers you care.
The Global Banking and Finance Review says: “The success of a membership or subscription models ultimately begins and ends with the consumer, and in line with this, evolving the associated consumer proposition and experience. It’s important for businesses to recognise the potential subscription holds for capturing and retaining fresh revenue streams—but equally it’s got to be done right.”
The potential for the subscription model to retain revenue is dependent on a brand’s ability to align with customer needs and changing behavior. These days, that means more interactions, and ones your customers will remember for the right reasons.
2. Offer consistent CX across all channels that a customer may interact with you
To deliver great CX, you have to be available to customers on the channels they prefer. But more channels = more brand interactions, and if you’re not unifying the interactions from multiple channels within one system and automating marketing, sales, and support, it’ll lead to overworked staff and unhappy customers.
69% of US consumers say that being able to message a business helps them feel more confident about the brand, and 33% of buyers rated the option of live chat during the research stage of their journey as one of the top three requirements for a best-in-class supplier.
Knowing this, the end goal of subscription brands should be to deliver scalable omnichannel experiences by creating consistency across every touchpoint to strengthen personal connections and build brand loyalty.
Practically, this means allowing customers to sign up for service, access account details, upgrade their membership, and interact with subscription brands in a conversational way on any channel available to them.
3. Aggregate data from all your customer’s interactions to create holistic, 360 customer profiles
To your customers, every interaction with your brand is a reflection of the brand itself. So whether a customer interacts with you via conversational AI or with a live agent is irrelevant—the brand experience is the sum of all the parts. Every interaction is an opportunity to show your customers you care, and you need to make each one count.
Reality is, when an existing subscription customer comes to you with a question and you neglect to acknowledge their history with the brand, it signals to the customer that you don’t value their business. You should know the basics: how long they’ve been a customer, their membership tier, any issues they’ve had with your brand in the past, and previous purchases, upgrades, and downgrades they’ve made.
Your long-term customers may have even higher expectations, and to meet these, brands need to consider their history in each interaction by aggregating data from all your customer’s interactions to create holistic, 360 customer profiles. Drawing on this information, each customer can receive tailored CX that rewards their loyalty.
4. Perfect the live agent handoff experience
It’s a tale told all too often: a customer reaches out to a brand with a question or a problem they need help solving. They’ve initiated this interaction before, with no luck, and every time they go back to try again, they have to repeat the issue. Frustration builds.
When they’ve finally reached an agent, the agent has no context of any previous interactions. The customer, again, repeats themselves, only to be told they need to speak with someone else, in a different department. Once there, the whole rigmarole starts again.
What your customers need—and are demanding—is quick and instant access to their questions and concerns. And when it comes to recurring payments, there’s no time to waste. Every interaction that doesn’t meet or exceed customer needs is a missed opportunity—one that will send them straight into the hands of the more convenient option your competition is offering.
To give customers speedier resolutions, agents need to be empowered with context. Conversational AI can provide interaction summaries to allow agents to step in and carry on exactly where the chat left off. And with customer profiles at their fingertips, agents can easily access a customer’s past interactions, present subscription status, and can anticipate their needs.
No matter where your customer may meet you, automation-first CX strategy allows brands to serve their customers in the UI of their choice, from web chat, to social media, to in-app. And wherever your customer chooses to interact with you, they can be intelligently routed to the right agent for their issue (you wouldn’t send a customer with a troubleshooting issue to the same agent as a customer looking to upgrade their plan, right?).
5. Personalize interactions and use proactive messaging to drive revenue and customer lifetime value (CLTV)
Let us put this in no uncertain terms: customers want to engage with brands. So for those who are focused on deflecting interactions, you’re steering CX in the wrong direction.
But engagement isn’t enough. Customers crave a personalized touch. Modern CX has to be tailored to customer needs and past interactions by way of personalization. In fact, by 2023, smart personalization is expected to enable digital brands to increase their profit by 25%.
The ease of providing seamless recurring billing and membership renewals for customers is no longer enough. Your customers need, for example, instant access to their subscription, the ability to renew and update billing information, and proactive guidance to move them to the next tier of their relationship with your brand.
Automation is necessary to offer this kind of hyper personalization at scale. An automation-first approach to CX allows brands to offer personalized brand interactions that recognize customer intent and transform insights into revenue-building, proactive engagement.
For subscription brands, this looks like:
- Curated experiences based on account type or subscription tier
- Proactively sending content tailored to customer information
- Using customer insights to predict when they’ll be ready for an upgrade to their account
- Proactive offers or deals based on customer history or loyalty status