Monthly subscription programs can be greatly beneficial for a company’s bottom line – the programs provide a baseline monthly income and a reliable starting point for your budget.
Unfortunately, membership programs also have high attrition rates, and things can vary more from month to month than most businesses would prefer, as members drop out or change to other programs. This undermines precisely what makes subscription programs so valuable.
Luckily, there are a number of ways you can keep subscribers loyal without breaking the bank or endlessly campaigning to retain them. Here are a four tips to strengthen loyalty within your subscription program.
1. Get Personal
One thing that loyal customers say about the companies they stick with is that those companies make an effort to get to know them. This may sound like a time consuming effort, but in fact, all you need is the illusion of a personal relationship, and all that takes is a simple gesture. In food service, for example, waiters and waitresses who bring tables a second set of mints are able to greatly increase their tips. Even if they do this for every table, each table feels like they are someone special.
Of course, you can’t send your subscription members a mint in the mail and expect magic to happen, but there are other ways to make your business more personal. For example, subscription services that offer a few different levels of service or three different subcategories of products often have greater customer loyalty than companies that only offer one subscription package. Even if a package isn’t exactly what they want, customers are more likely to feel like they are getting a service that fit their needs with this format.
2. Make Billing Transparent
When customers leave a membership program, one of the most common reasons they cite is dissatisfaction with renewal practices or recurring bills. Of course, recurring charges are a necessary part of subscription programs, but some programs handle these charges more effectively than others. Customers tend to respond better to those companies that send monthly invoices for their subscriptions than those who just send the charge straight to the member’s credit card. This keeps the subscription charge from falling into the category of “out of sight, out of mind.”
3. Be Social
Since monthly subscription services don’t have brick and mortar storefronts, customers need a different way to relate to the business providing them a service. Without that relationship, loyalty falters and customers drop their subscriptions. One way to keep your customers in conversation with your business is by using social media. Twitter is a great platform that allows you to engage while keeping those communications brief. Your company doesn’t need to be a social butterfly, but it does need to drop in on the party.
4. Offer Rewards
Everyone likes rewards – it’s just part of how we’re wired – and obviously your customers fall into this category of “everyone.” This is why you should always link your subscription services to a reward program. It doesn’t need to be elaborate; a simple point system will do. Accumulate enough points and receive a small gift or a one month upgrade.
In fact, when it comes to reward programs, you don’t even need to automatically offer these points. Instead, you can make them contingent on reciprocation – to get points your subscribers need to tweet a picture with your company mentioned or tag your business in a Facebook photo. These points can require a little more effort to track, but they’re also part of a structure that contributes to your relationship with the customer. Rewards then become another aspect of your communication strategy.
It only takes a few simple gestures to establish a long-term relationship with your subscription program members, but you have to stay consistent. Maintain a branded image, keep your communication on topic, and forge connections with other relevant businesses. If you stay loyal to your customer relationships, they are more likely to stay loyal to you.