Did you wake up today and put on your favourite Spotify playlist? Did you take 10 minutes before work to read the news that was sent straight to your email inbox from your favourite newspaper? Did you order something from Amazon during your lunch break, using Amazon Prime for super fast delivery? And will you go home to a ready made (and healthy) dinner from your favourite meal-kit provider?
Maybe you didn’t do all of these in one day, but it’s undeniable that the subscription economy now makes up a large part of our lives.
In fact, according to a survey released by American consulting firm McKinsey in 2018, the subscription e-commerce market has grown by more than 100 percent each year over the past five years.
To put into scale just how much this industry has grown in recent years, the largest such retailers generated more than $2.6 billion in sales in 2016, up from a mere $57 million in 2011.
Not only that, but the study found that 15 percent of online shoppers have signed up for one or more subscriptions to receive products on a recurring basis, frequently through monthly boxes.
Despite its growth, subscription-based ecommerce companies still face challenges when it comes to customer acquisition, churn rate, the ease of cancellations and delivering a superior customer experience (CX).
That’s because the focus is on the customer and their experience, not the product that your company is selling. The subscription business model is about offering a superior customer experience across multiple channels, while focusing on retaining existing customers and delivering ongoing value to increase loyalty.
This is where the expertise and resources of an outsourced contact center can greatly benefit your company. In this ebook we will look at some of the challenges that subscription-based companies face, and the six key benefits that companies in this industry will receive from outsourcing their customer service.
“Advantage Communications delivers exceptional support to our customers. The partnership is a natural fit, we’re both Maritime companies that share the same philosophy when it comes to our customers, that is to deliver the best care and support possible.”
Just like any industry in the current marketplace, subscription-based companies operate in a highly competitive world. It’s not just the quality of your product that is a deciding factor amongst buyers, it’s the entire customer experience.
In fact, with the majority of businesses now offering incredibly similar products and services, it’s likely that your CX is the only differentiator between your company’s subscription box and your competitor.
Customer experience is simply the perception that a customer has of your organization.
Everything your business does contributes to the CX, from your customer service, the products/services you provide each month through your subscription, your brand messaging, your engagement with customers and much more.
CX has become increasingly important in recent years, with customers no longer perceiving price as the real differentiator. Customers now value the customer experience above everything else, from the first point of contact they have with your company to every single one that follows.
As a result, companies operating in the subscription-based industry face a number of challenges when it comes to their customer service. Failing to address these challenges, will result in:
In this ebook, Advantage Communications will look at the major benefits that your subscription-based company will realize from outsourcing your customer service strategy to a state-of-the-art, innovative and high-tech contact center.
One of the major challenges facing subscription-based companies is the acquisition of new customers. This, in large part, is down to consumers not recognizing the brand names of even the top subscription services, as well as poor conversion rates.
“On the acquisition side, only 53 percent of consumers know about even one of the top services,” claims the McKinsey study. “Moreover, conversion is weak: only 55 percent of those who consider a service ultimately subscribe, probably because people are reluctant to sign up for a long-term commitment.”
This means that when a potential customer calls in to enquire about your subscription services, it’s absolutely essential that you convert them into a customer - a modern contact center will help with this.
There are a variety of methods that an innovative contact center will use to acquire your company new customers, including:
While subscription-based companies do not have the conventional challenge of seasonal demand that many companies contend with, it’s likely that your company does have a type of seasonal demand when it comes to your cycle of billing - something we will call cyclical demand in this ebook.
Whether your cycle of billing is weekly, monthly, or annually, this period of time puts increased pressure on your already limited customer service resources. Customers will call in to cancel their membership, ask questions about their future membership, enquire about bills they have paid, as well as many more questions.
It’s unlikely that you are prepared for this temporary increase in demand, and most subscription-based companies simply make do and survive until it’s over. However, this leads to declining customer service standards, and damages your relationship with your customers - leading to cancelled subscriptions and lost revenue.
If you find your business is constantly struggling to ramp up your team for cyclical demand, outsourcing your customer service to a contact center can help dramatically.
By using an outsourced call center, your business will have access to experienced customer service representatives, specialized industry knowledge and the latest innovations in technology - all of which will be significantly cheaper than trying to implement these skills into your own in-house team (especially when considering you won’t need all of these resources for most of the year).
Do you have a plan in place to reduce call repetition for your company? If not, it’s bad news. Call repetition not only leads to frustrated and dissatisfied customers, it also wastes the time, money and resources of your company - taking you away from focusing on more important core competencies that will grow your business.
Whether customers are calling in to cancel their subscription, report an issue, ask a question or upgrade their subscription - the call needs to go seamlessly. That’s why an outsourced contact center will design a first-call resolution (FCR) plan for your business.
But what is first-call resolution? FCR is a call centers ability to address the customer’s needs in a single contact, eliminating the need for the customer to follow up on their issue.
Customers want subscription products because they are easy - whether it’s a food box they prepare in five minutes, a magazine that comes straight to their door or monthly grooming products that they would have had to search the shops for. If your customer service isn’t as seamless as your product, your customers will move on to your competitor.
By implementing a plan to reduce repetitive calls you’ll be improving the entire customer experience and saving your company significant amounts of time and money as well.
Want to know a shocking stat about the subscription-based industry? According to McKinsey, more than one-third of consumers who sign up for a subscription service cancel in less than three months, and over half cancel within six months.
With subscription-based companies relying on loyal customers and long-term relationships to ensure they can reliably predict revenue, customer churn is a significant challenge.
“More than one-third of consumers who sign up for a subscription service cancel in less than three months, and over half cancel within six months.”
“Overall, we found that nearly 40 percent of e-commerce subscribers have canceled their subscriptions,” reports the McKinsey study. “The higher the churn rate, the more difficult it becomes for subscription eCommerce companies to cover their acquisition costs and to scale their revenues.”
When also considering the fact that it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one (Invespcro), it’s clear that subscription-based companies can boost revenue by simply “saving the sale” - yet many are failing to do this.
Outsourced call centers have the expertise and resources to help your company in this regards.
By using live call guidance, artificial intelligence across multiple channels and expertly trained customer service agents, an outsourced call center will reduce subscription cancellation rates for your organization.
Most subscription-based companies allow customers to cancel their subscription through a few simple clicks on their ‘My Account’ page, and then fail to follow these cancellations up. By simply passing this information, or sending the customer straight to an experienced call center representative, cancellations can be reduced significantly.
In fact, here at Advantage Communications, our call center agents are trained and highly skilled in retention techniques - meaning they can save subscribers from cancelling their subscription, whether they call, email or request a cancellation through your website.
Just as much as the subscription industry relies on acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones, it also depends on the upgrade of current customers to increase revenue.
To be successful at upgrading existing customers, subscription-based companies must develop a strategy that sees their customer service program leverage innovative technology collect customer data, and then strategically apply that information to a customer-focused and personalized customer service program.
Brands that successfully do this have a unique opportunity to access the thoughts of any given customer - allowing them to make small changes to their offering depending on the client’s needs.
Real-time data is about making use of relevant data to understand your customer’s behaviour, and, in turn, using that to make meaningful decision to optimize their experience.
Through a live-call guidance solution, agents can review data and script changes in real-time to personalize the customer service to a specific customer.
What is live call guidance?
A live call guidance solution uses AI technology to analyze phone conversations between an agent and your customer, prompting customer service representatives with the best answers to say based on the context and reactions of the conversations.
The more information you have on your customers, the more opportunities your business has to offer a personalized approach to both your customer service and marketing strategies - and this will empower your brand to upgrade their subscription when desired.
Not only that, but personalization can help improve customer loyalty and customer lifetime value (CLV) metrics, as well as improve their overall customer experience with your company.
Netflix is one of the most popular subscription-based companies in the world, and do you know why they are so successful? Convenience. They allow you to watch movies at any time, on any device from any location you want.
Convenience is likely to be your company’s strongest asset as well, and your customer support channels should be no different either. 24/7 customer service agents and contact center AI will allow your company to offer round-the-clock customer care - if customers don’t receive this with your brand, they’ll move on to your competitor.
Not only that, but outsourcing your customer to a call center will give your company access to bilingual customer service agents - something you are unlikely to have access to in house.
These bilingual agents are essential for delivering a superior customer experience to your bilingual customer base. Nearshore contact centers have an advantage here. For example, Canada is naturally a bilingual country with more than 35 percent of the population currently able to speak more than one language - so call centers based here have a natural advantage when it comes to offering bilingual support.
No matter the quality of your subscription box, your pricing, your marketing efforts or how you deliver your product, without superior customer service your company simply won’t be able to develop a world-class customer experience.
Your customer service is the only real human connection that your customers will have with your company, and this will make or break your brand. Successful customer service will lead to loyal customers, increased revenue opportunities, the ability to save the sale and upgrade existing customers and many more benefits.
With good customer service, even complaints are an opportunity. Whether you haven’t delivered what you promised, a shipment was late or a product was damaged, expert customer service representatives will turn these negative experiences into a positive one.
An experienced and high-tech call center will have significant value to your brand by developing a customer service strategy that helps deliver a customer experience that keeps your customers coming back for more.
The end result? Happier customers and improved profits.
CONTACT ADVANTAGE COMMUNICATIONS INC.
Advantage Communications Inc. (ACI) is a leading North American Contact Center outsourced service provider of Tech Support, IT Helpdesk and Customer Service. ACI provides smarter, more efficient outsourced BPO solutions that are custom-designed to be an extension of your business model and your brand.
ACI’s contact centers are located in bilingual Eastern Canada and nearshore Jamaica, to provide scalable solutions, reliable business continuity, and the best-branded customer experience across the board.
Canada, Head Office
265 Brackley Point Road
C1E 2A3 Canada
A dedicated call center can help with: