Creating a buzz around a service that drives subscription numbers is one thing; keeping subscription customers happy beyond the short term is an entirely different challenge. Moreover, the subscription service or product may differ from one company to another. Still, a trend of jump on board followed by an abandon ship mentality demonstrates that many providers need to reevaluate putting all their efforts into acquisition only and focus on customer happiness and retention.
In an increasingly competitive marketplace, and with disruption becoming an effective business model, it is time to weigh up how you can ensure the return on investment that takes place when acquiring subscribers. Ensuring ongoing revenues requires an approach that encompasses acquisition, engagement, and support. Focusing on retention (engagement and support) might mean conveying to customers that they may miss out if they jump ship.
As the world switches from consumerism to a subscription age, we reveal the retention models that leverage engagement and support to secure those all-important ongoing revenues.
Build An Online Community
With the explosion of digital services and products, subscribers are attracted online and subscribing through e-commerce systems. However, e-commerce and online means the opportunities to engage with customers physically and face to face are diminishing. So it helps if subscription-based companies focus on building an online community, which offers the same advantages as real-life communities.
Engaging an online community means creating ways for subscribers to engage with you and others. This might mean coming together for an event or sharing tips and opinions. Email, webchat, and social media are where communities are built.
Is there something you can offer that is immersive or interactive and will help you embrace social technologies?
Don’t Always Sell
All transactions between you and your customers mustn’t focus solely on the motive to cross-sell or upscale their subscription. Engaging customers with content relevant to them and valuable in its own right breaks up the monotony of every conversation being sales driven. Likewise, you encourage natural referrals and positive (online and offline) discussions about your brand when you don’t always sell.
Is your support team focused purely on cross-selling or up-selling, or are they excited to help customers solve problems and listen for opportunities to improve your service or product?
Protect Their Data
Cybersecurity is a hot topic, and any data breach can be disastrous for brand reputation. Privacy and data security are of paramount importance to subscribers, so it is vital to protect sensitive data and secure environments when used outside your own systems. In addition, conveying strong data security is essential to attracting customers and building trust and loyalty from those you already have.
Build Partnerships With Other Brands
Building outstanding experiences for subscribers is an excellent approach to keeping subscription customers happy and onboard for longer. Creating partnerships with other brands to offer complementary services that have value will keep subscribers content and engaged. There is also a strong possibility of having your voice and brand noticed by the partners’ customers, pulling in new business through referrals and subscribers who have become advocates for your brand.
Brand partnerships can take on many forms, from providing a discount to each other’s customers, building bundles, or creating dual-branded products and services. It is not a case of competing with each other but creating a situation where both brands, and their customers, win.
Increasingly, social media influencers are becoming part of brand partnerships. Young subscribers, in particular, are choosing subscription over ownership, and the influence of voices prominent on social media sway where subscribers go and remain.
Run Cancellation Surveys
Understanding your customers is key to keeping them happy. It would help to survey those that cancel subscriptions to find out why. Through discovery, you can tackle issues and turn negative situations around before it becomes too late to secure others.
Survey feedback will help you drive your business in the right direction, make meaningful changes that remove pain points, keep customers happy, and secure their ongoing business. There is also an opening to collect data that will shape future products and services, to meet customer values and desires.
Re-Engage With Lost Subscribers
It is inevitable that some customers will cancel their subscription, but this doesn’t have to mean the end of the road for your relationship. Collecting their feedback and offering reactivation offers can bring a cancelled subscriber back onboard. In addition, periodic email marketing campaigns can re-engage past subscribers, who may now have found that the grass isn’t greener elsewhere.
A practical approach to re-engaging with cancelled subscribers is to target email campaigns specifically to the data and termination reasons you collect through cancellation surveys. For example, we’ve listened to emails, promotional offers, and new benefits, such as a unique loyalty program, which can bring subscribers back by demonstrating that they are a valued part of your community.
Build A Loyalty Program
A loyalty program is an excellent tool for rewarding customers and creating an environment they don’t want to leave. A loyalty program shows subscribers that you value them while nurturing an environment where the customer would miss out if they went elsewhere. Building a loyalty program into your subscriber management systems will help you increase engagement and lift retention numbers.
As a classic example, loyalty programs can take on many forms and aren’t purely restricted to building loyalty points or air miles. Loyalty opportunities exist to offer discounts on other products and life experiences, options to trial new services, or point building through interactive actions, such as gaming or advocating for your brand.
Keeping subscription customers happy means delivering better experiences, increasing engagement, and providing the value that converts short term customers into long term subscribers. It’s a cold hard fact that retaining customers requires a far smaller investment (up to five times less) compared to acquiring new customers. Yet, many businesses fail to recognise this and invest in such a strategy.
Keeping customers happy and reducing churn rates means securing ongoing revenue, predictable cash flow, and protecting your company from marketplace disruption.