To stand apart from the competition in today’s market, it’s become increasingly important for subscription-based companies to prioritize their customer experience. An intuitive and flexible subscriber experience can not only encourage prospective customers to choose your brand, but also incentivize current customers to stay subscribed.
In this post, we’ll cover six key tactics that subscription businesses can use to strategically prioritize their customers’ needs in ways that increase loyalty and retention. For more tips and tricks on how to grow and scale your subscription business, download our free ebook, Succeed with Subscriptions.
- Subscription models provide built-in touchpoints between brands and subscribers that can be leveraged to improve the customer experience and gain recurring revenue.
- To get the most value out of the subscription-based model, focus on creating positive customer experiences that encourage subscribers to stick around longer and spend more.
- Approach the subscriber experience from multiple angles, including your communication, customization options, rewards programs, and more.
6 ways to improve the customer experience for your subscribers
The quality of your customer’s experience with your brand can make or break your retention efforts. PWC’s customer experience report asserts that 59% of US customers will walk away after several bad experiences, and 17% will walk away after only one bad experience.
To prevent unnecessary churn and create positive experiences that keep customers happy and increase brand trust and loyalty, it’s important to approach the subscriber experience from a variety of perspectives. Now, let’s dive into specific tactics you can apply to your own business.
1. Clearly communicate relevant updates
Quality communication is a key strategy for all subscription companies. By choosing the right moments to share information with your subscribers and being strategic about your wording, you can properly set expectations and make your customers aware of all the value that they can get out of your offerings.
Due to its recurring nature, the subscription business model offers many built-in touchpoints to communicate with your subscribers throughout their customer journey. Research the channels that matter most to your customer base—for example, email, SMS, social media, blog posts—then tailor your copy to suit the tone of that platform.
Consider notifying your customers when:
- Updates or changes are made to their subscription, like a new delivery date
- There are any issues with payment processing, such as an expired credit card
- It’s time to select the items in their upcoming order (if applicable to your product vertical)
- Their order is about to process, along with opportunities to swap a product before the order ships
- There are widespread changes to your subscription service that impact the customer, like a price increase
2. Personalize your customer portal
One of the main sources of customer interaction with your brand, the customer portal is a key touchpoint between your brand and your subscribers. After logging on to this secure hub, customers can manage various aspects of their orders, including:
- Updating a shipping or billing address
- Updating their payment details
- Skipping, rescheduling, or canceling a delivery
- Swapping products or services in an order
- Viewing their purchase history
- Viewing any rewards and loyalty program details
When these customer interactions go smoothly, brand loyalty is strengthened. However, when the customer portal is difficult to navigate or there are limited options to manage a subscription, customer satisfaction is decreased. To make the most of this valuable touchpoint, ensure your customer portal is easy to navigate, fast to load, personalized with branded touches, and contains the functionality your subscribers care about most.
3. Reward your most loyal subscribers
Your subscribers are an invaluable segment of your overall customer base, driving higher customer lifetime value (LTV) than one-time purchasers. To thank them for their purchasing behavior and incentivize them to stick with your brand, consider a rewards program that offers them special benefits.
Rewards program perks can include:
- Exclusive discounts for your subscription customers
- Free gifts or special discounts for certain customer milestones or occasions, such as a birthday
- Exclusive access for your subscribers to new items
4. Offer paid membership program options
Membership programs are another valuable way to strengthen the customer experience. Here, in exchange for a recurring fee, your subscribers can gain access to exclusive benefits that allow them to get even more value out of your products or services. This can in turn help you increase LTV for your business.
Be sure to tailor the specific membership benefits of your program to suit your individual customer base and their unique needs. These membership perks can include:
- Free or discounted shipping
- Exclusive discounts for specific products
- Early or exclusive access to new products or content
- Access to special channels, like a community forum
- Access to special events (either in person or virtual)
- Charitable donations, given in the customer’s name, in exchange for their purchases
5. Make it easy to customize your subscriptions
Giving your subscribers the ability to customize their orders is crucial for a variety of different business goals, from increasing your sales to reducing your churn. It’s also a key element of a strong customer experience and can be achieved in a variety of ways.
Opportunities for subscription customization
- Enabling flexible product swaps can empower subscribers to get exactly what they want in each and every order.
- Offering multiple delivery schedules lets them get the exact quantity that they need on their desired timeline.
- Making it easy to skip or delay orders means subscribers can edit their shipment at any time to suit their schedule.
- Providing opportunities for customizable product bundling enables customers to get the exact product assortment they want while also taking advantage of any bundling discounts.
- Allowing for flexible subscription management lets customers easily and quickly update their orders wherever they are, whether via transactional SMS or the customer portal.
6. Improve the returns & exchanges process
Successful subscription model businesses know that no matter how high quality their products are, some amount of returns and exchanges is inevitable. While customers may be familiar with in-person returns at traditional retailers, they may find them confusing or unclear with online subscription-based services when the process is not clearly communicated.
To avoid confusion and make returns and exchanges as clear as possible for your customers, succinctly communicate your policy. Make it easy for your customers to find, and be sure to note it before your customers commit to a purchase. By doing this, you can help reduce the chances that they miss a deadline to get the products they want.
The health of your subscription business depends on your customer experience
When subscription services accurately identify their customers’ priorities, then solve for them with strategic communication and features, they create positive customer experiences that enhance all the benefits of the subscription business model.
Of course, there are other important steps to take to get the most out of the subscription model for your business—regardless of your ecommerce platform. For more in-depth information on improving the customer experience in the subscription economy today, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to gain more subscribers, increase your subscription sales, and tackle subscription churn, download our free ebook, Succeed with Subscriptions.