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5 ways to avoid subscription fatigue

Article by Gill Lambert

22nd May 2018

Customer experience, Subscription management

5 ways to avoid subscription fatigue

Subscription fatigue is a common cause of churn, particularly if your product is a bit of a luxury or takes a significant amount of time each month to consume. So, if any of your customers do get the urge to spring clean their subscription commitments, you want to make sure that you stay firmly in the ‘keep’ category.

Customer Experience (CX) is at the top of most marketing agendas these days. We know that a positive CX drives loyalty, lifetime value and growth.

A well-executed CX strategy smoothly orchestrates a whole series of distinct, logical, process-driven events and interactions between your brand and your customers, but from time to time it serves to step out of your data-focused marketing bubble and step into the shoes of your customers.

If you make the time to do this you are guaranteed to spot at least one opportunity to create a memorable moment for a few of those customers who are at risk of churn.

Here are 5 examples of actions that you can take that are likely to resonate with your customers and stave off churn.

1.  Reinforce the value exchange

It is always good to remind your customers why they subscribed in the first place. Tell them how you have kept the promise that you made to them and entice them with the benefits that are yet to come.

If there is something that you think your customers may want, but that you can’t deliver, then remind them that this trade-off is a part of the package. For example, if cost saving is a key selling point for your product or service and your customer support services are limited, then you should promote your best-price promise on your help pages before you direct customers smoothly through the self-serve options.

2.  Listen to your passive customers

Most businesses make the most of their brand promotors and respond effectively to what is hopefully a small number of detractors, but how well do you listen to the passive majority who have rated your service as average, or who have logged (but not escalated) a service problem?

If you can surprise them occasionally with a random gift or a personal response then you will stand out against your competitors. You don’t need to break the bank to achieve this. A small act that exceeds expectation will be memorable.

3.  Issue-based feedback

Most service providers these days ask their customers to provide feedback, or to rate their experience.  These numerous requests can get tedious and in most instances, there is no tangible benefit to the customer for taking the trouble to respond.

If you can demonstrate to your customers that their feedback matters, then you will increase response and create a dialogue with them.

You can achieve this by focusing your feedback request around a specific feature or service. You can then complete the feedback process by telling your customers about the improvements that you have made, based on the data that they gave you.

If you need to collect data on multiple issues then you can either rotate the topics or run multiple feedback forms in parallel.

4.  Get the most out of your frontline team

Prioritising time to spend with your frontline team will always pay off. Listen to their experiences and make their working life better and they will repay you with customer insights that you can’t extract from data alone.

When asked, most marketing teams will say that they do this, but few do it effectively. A campaign briefing a couple of times a year won’t hack it. You will not uncover those small service improvements that can transform the customer experience if don’t take the time to get into the detail and earn the trust of your frontline team.

If you outsource your front-line services this can be harder to do, but it’s not impossible. They will likely work across multiple customers and brands, so if you build a strong relationship with them then rewards are likely to be high.

If your outsourced resource is shared then make sure that your policies are simple and well documented becasue you can’t expect the team to remember the detail. You should also make sure that your service agreement, payment structure and KPIs are structured in a way that reflect your internal measures of success.

5.  Take a break

Content overload is a common cause of subscription fatigue, so if your customers do cancel, make sure that their last experience is a positive one. Or better still, offer customers the option to take a break rather than ending their relationship with you. Once paused, send occasional updates to remind them what they are missing.

What these examples have in common is perspective. You must walk in the shoes of your customers if you want to prevent subscription fatigue. If you can surprise and delight them on a regular basis then you will earn their loyalty.