How to use subscriber intelligence to deliver seamless customer experiences
Retaining subscribers is more important than ever in today’s economy. Not only have customer acquisition costs jumped 222% from an average of $9 in 2013 to $29 in 2022, but over the same time period, the average return generated by repeat sales rose 36%—from $28 to $39.
It’s well established that retaining customers is less expensive than attracting new customers, and subscription business models in particular depend heavily on existing subscribers for product revenue, with 70% of the average B2C company’s revenue coming from existing customers. But these customers are sensitive to economic conditions, and half say they would cancel streaming subscriptions or other memberships if they were unable to pay other bills.
A leading strategy to retain subscribers is by providing smooth product experiences tailored to their needs. The most resilient B2C companies today win new customers and keep existing ones happy by investing in digital services that help them deliver seamless, scalable experiences across multiple channels.
When customers have more flexible options and better service, they’re less likely to churn. To do this, your business needs to engage with subscribers where they are, regardless of channel, and make sure you have the insights necessary to support them throughout the customer lifecycle.
Giving customers what they want starts with learning what they want
Meeting your subscribers where they are across channels means offering your product in multiple places, including eCommerce storefronts, in-app purchases, and a variety of third-party marketplaces like the Apple App Store or Google Play.
It also means anticipating how each customer is likely to behave and what they want in each environment. For example, if your product contains written or visual content, a seamless customer experience will present users with tailored content anytime they interact with you across mobile, tablet, and desktop. If it’s a service, they need it to work whenever they try to access it. The better you know your customers, the better you can personalize your product, give customers tips for getting the most value out of their subscriptions, and effectively target customers with complementary offerings.
A great customer experience also includes flexible options for managing subscriptions. These options go beyond simply starting or stopping a subscription, and include the ability to easily:
- Sign up
- Change plans or tiers
- Add a new plan or new offering
- Add a member to a group plan or family plan
- Give a gift subscription
- Pause or resume a subscription
Not only do these options improve customer satisfaction by allowing subscribers to tailor their own experiences—they also provide alternatives to canceling, especially in an unpredictable economic climate. The ability to make a mid-cycle change to a plan, for example, could make it financially feasible for a customer to stay longer.
But there’s also an art to knowing when to prompt customers to take advantage of different options. That’s where customer intelligence comes in.
Enabling powerful customer experiences with real-time subscriber intelligence
Accurate, actionable insights are essential to providing a seamless customer experience. Several different data streams can surface these insights:
- Transactions. Every action a customer takes, whether it’s changing their plan or showing interest in a particular offer, gives you information about them.
- Product interactions. The way customers use their subscriptions can help you tailor their experiences to their needs—or intervene with those at risk for churning.
- Contract information. The type of contract, duration, renewal date, and other details can inform the types of experiences you offer your existing customers.
It’s not enough to simply collect this information. The next step is turning data into actionable subscriber intelligence that informs customer experiences. For example, usage data can determine when you send refills or maintenance products, or streaming content preferences can help you suggest other relevant content. Layering this information on top of a customer’s renewal date enables you to offer a promotion or upgrade at the right time.
The challenge for many B2C companies, however, is that when customers engage through multiple channels, including third-party marketplaces, their activity may be tracked separately in each place, making it difficult to get a complete picture of their overall interactions. To combat this, many companies invest in a team of engineers and data analysts who combine data sets, match users, and try to create a cohesive picture. This process is often messy, error-prone, and time-consuming. This approach may also limit your ability to take action on customer insights, resulting in disconnected experiences and lost revenue opportunities.
Many businesses also don’t have the technical capability to execute tailored experiences based on subscriber intelligence, such as deploying pricing into multiple channels, managing offerings across different geographies, and supporting the variety of actions a customer might want to take. To offer the kinds of experiences that retain customers and enable growth, B2C companies need internal systems that allow them to both gather subscriber intelligence and effectively act on it.
Meeting customer needs in a shifting economy
Delivering seamless, scalable experiences across channels allows businesses to respond to economic uncertainty by flexibly meeting customers’ changing needs. Tools that help your business gather, analyze, and act on subscriber intelligence can make all the difference when it comes to providing stellar customer experiences.
Learn how Zuora Billing can help you retain customers by meeting them where they are—whether they’re interacting with you through a sales rep, app store, web storefront, self-service portal, or partner network.
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