Managing a subscription business? Here are 7 strategies on how to get more subscribers with a call center.
Fact: There are no shortages of new customers to be won but, more often than not, opportunities are missed because call centers lack the proper strategies to win them over.
The underpinning philosophy is to maximize opportunities to get more subscribers, keep the ones you have, and quickly recover your potential losses. There is more to it than improving on acquisition.
The secret to getting more subscribers is as simple as knowing where to look. They are on your website, and they are on social media. They may even be responding to your call-to-action, if they’re not already using your service for free.
Here are a few strategies to help them move forward to the next step:
Chances are, as we speak, there’s a flood of potential customers being exposed to your promotional materials, skimming your website for information or trying to get through a sign-up form. Are you confident that these interactions will translate into actual subscriptions?
Having live chat service on your website will pay for itself multiple times over in improved conversion rates. Customers want answers, and they want it fast. You need connected agents who can answer inquiries, help overcome objections and close sales before the customer clicks away from your website. This is especially true for B2C businesses targeting younger markets. Facebook and Twitter are also hot channels for customer service.
Of course, phone support—backed up by other channels—is still profitable, especially if your services are either B2B, complicated or expensive, or if your customers are older.
If you’re generating leads through e-books, webinar signups and other online CTAs, you need to master the art of following through. You’ve already hooked the customer – it’s time to reel them in with a follow-up phone call, live chat or e-mail, a day or two after the lead was generated.
There will always be stubborn, free-tier subscribers who refuse to move on to paid subscriptions. Out of the hundreds of thousands (if you’re a new business) to millions of free-level customers, only 0.5% to 2% is most likely to turn into sales. Most of them are either totally inactive (or almost) and are least likely to convert. Focus on the population who are potentially valuable customers, and stop wasting time on the 80% to 90% who will never buy your service.
For new free trial customers, the best time to connect with them is when they’re online or when they’re actively using your product or service. In dealing with long-term, free-trial customers, invest in the ones who show interest in upgrading and those who frequently use the service.
Constantly engage free-tier users with proactive live chat and phone calls, and watch your conversion rates improve. If not, at least you will gain insight on upgrading issues, and from there, make valuable adjustments to your subscription model.
Customers quit early during paid trials for either of these reasons: they weren’t able to use the product or they didn’t like it, or it was too expensive or too complicated. Then there are payment issues. Customers normally forget to cancel during the trial and they tend to cancel soon after the conversion. Even paid trials that successfully convert can become problematic if customers don’t get the best value and end up cancelling 90 days later.
All of these can be managed through a well-planned adoption process. Focus on identifying the pain points that drive customer dissatisfaction, providing solutions, and making necessary improvements even before the paid trial is over.
…and keep them subscribed.
Keeping a customer is just as much hard work as winning them over. How do you make sure they turn into long-term patrons?
Healthy new customers need maintenance. As the servicing party, you need to be on top of your support game. Make your customers feel valued. This will build their immune system to dissatisfaction and up their likelihood for renewal. Even when problems occur, a loyal customer will react very differently.
As for the sick, you have to identify them before you can cure them. To do this, map the customer journey and touch points, and use data analytics to examine customer segments. Once the sick are identified, deploy proactive call center agents to nurse them back to health and satisfaction with effective support and solutions, and to help rebuild the relationship.
Here are common issues that newly acquired customers have:
Their happiness is directly proportional to the expectations that were set during the sales process – be sure to do it correctly from the start. Deliver on these expectations quickly, make your service easy to use and enjoy, and then continue to improve and innovate your product to stay ahead of the game. This is the job of your call center.
The truth is: unless your marketing, sales, and service are as intuitive and reliable as Netflix or Uber, you almost certainly require a quality call center, or you will churn out huge volumes of customers that could (and should) have been satisfied, long-term subscribers, if only they’d gotten the support they needed.
Furthermore, in 2016, over 60% of subscribers younger than 30 prefer to get sales, service, and support, through Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and Live chat. This trend is true for some Gen Xer’s, almost all Millennials (1980-2000), and almost certainly continues with Generation (late 1990’s onwards) as they reach adulthood.
We are living in an increasingly subscription-first, mobile-first world. To keep your subscribers happy, you need competent call center services to manage customer expectations, are available on mobile devices, and in the communication channels that your customers frequent.
Renewal problems plague paying customers of all subscription businesses.
Whether you’re selling for $15 per month or $300 per month, B2B or B2C, small or large, mobile or desktop, credit card or European direct debit – churn from renewals hits essentially all subscription businesses, and it bites hard.
It has a lot to do with the quality of sales, service, and technical support. The foundation of retention is customer satisfaction. Period. Happy subscribers will go out of their way to renew; unhappy customers will do the opposite.
Work with your payments processor and recurring billing platform to pinpoint the risks of a renewal failure. Train your agents to find and fix the billing risks, such as expired cards and other concerns that may lead to renewal problems further down the road.
These are just a few of the many ways your call center can contribute to your bottom line.
Get the full game plan when you schedule a free consultation with LOOP’s Founder and Chief Strategist, Jesse Rosenthal. Whether you are managing a B2B or B2C model, LOOP is equipped to grow your recurring revenues and profits through quality, low-cost call center solutions, delivered from our headquarters in the Philippines.