Subscription Insight Series: thought leadership and practical help for modernising your subscription business
As the subscription model for many companies become a standard way of doing business, customer experience is a key aspect to keep in mind. In many ways, customer experience is about control for your customer to define the way how they consume your products and services. As a customer, you want to be able to extract the value of a subscription you pay for, on your terms. When you order your whiskey or wine as part of your box subscription, or when you are a patient needing recurring medication or therapy, customers want to be in control.
Since the late 90’s, eCommerce has risen steadily to fulfil customer needs. I can login to my provider of services and indicate what I want to buy and when I want to buy it. In today’s subscription economy, eCommerce or B2B customer portals add to that customer experience. If you want to pause your subscription for a while due to an upcoming vacation, this is our expectation as a customer.
As customer experience and control is key, how can subscription providers use technology to drive it for their own operational management? The solution lies in implementing a layer of business logic that has a single purpose: providing a great customer experience and ensuring loyalty and appreciation of your products and services provided through a subscription model.
In this subscription insight Bluefort will illustrate what subscription providers can achieve by building a real-world roadmap to get the customer onboard and reduce churn.
Customer obsession and the world of business application and technology.
As a subscription provider, the journey start with mapping out how you want to engage with your customers and then build an operation and data analytics model around it. A roadmap starts with a strong definition of your subscriptions. Subscription providers need to clearly state what their offering will provide to customers. It is all about the customer value. Place yourself in your customer’s shoes:
- Define your subscription products, licenses sand services that are easy to understand;
- Build your understanding of their expectations and offer it to them.
It might seem like two simple steps, but do you really understand your customers, and can you align their needs to a back-end operational business process to serve them?
Connecting your subscription model to your customers’ needs
It doesn’t matter if you are a B2B or B2C subscription outfit, or if you sell software, products, or services. Your business is about delivering a recurring offer for the long term, ensuring your customer loves your offering:
Managing your subscription master data
Being able to define your subscription offering into clear and understandable master data is crucial. As a subscription provider you must be able to define the following data elements:
- Definition of a subscription product – to define a product means to setup a clear identification of the subscription product. It requires a name, description, variants, and a definition how the subscription is consumed or bundled. See an example below:
- Clear pricing model reflecting the value of the subscription product – customers need to understand your subscription pricing and the value they will receive in return. Being transparent is key. Customers must be able to calculate and understand pricing easily, unless your model is more intricate. Try tiered models, like Gold, Silver and Bronze plans with attached pricing and entitlements. Provide choice to your customers. When your sales team offers a price or when customer review pricing online, simplicity is key.
- Terms and conditions of the subscription product – subscription are about defining the value the customer will receive, often called entitlements and when they can consume these entitlements. Definition terms and conditions is important. Can your customer with an annual subscription cancel on month 6? What if they upgrade to a new plan or offering? What happens to the payment and the changes to the subscription model?
All possible real-life situation should be captured as terms and conditions and made crystal-clear during the signup process.
- Financial and compliance aspects – once the above are all defined, the financial ramifications and compliance aspects must be assessed. Can we deal with the right financial postings? Are we compliant with IFRS 15 or ASC 606? Once subscriptions are rolling with financials postings, VAT and Sales Tax, revenue recognition must also be defined and automated.
- Operational and supply terms and conditions – once finance and sales are set, we need to deliver our performance obligations. This operational aspect is critical for the customer experience. Your ability as a subscription provider to slam-dunk services delivery, ship your product or provide licenses must connect to the customer experience at the moment of signup. Failure to do so leads to increased churn and decreases customer satisfaction.
Creating a great customer experience
How can you as a subscription provider create a great customer experience? The roadmap to delight your customer is not as difficult as it seems.
Start with a fully automated subscription-based business application. As Bluefort we ship a fully fledged Microsoft Dynamics 365 based solution called LISA (License and Subscription Application). It brings together your financial processes and your subscription automation.
The LISA business application combines all the business administration aspects for a subscription provider together. It is a modern system of records application for subscription management.
Capture your subscription agreement with ease. We connect to modern sales application, like Salesforce CPQ or Dynamics 365 Sales for B2B subscription sales. If you have partners selling your subscriptions, build great portals for them using Microsoft Power Portals. When you give full control to your customer, use eCommerce applications such as Magento or Sana Commerce.
You can also utilise the full potential of Dynamics 365 and deploy its Commerce platform and use Site Builder to provide next generation customer engagement.
Connect your B2C eCommerce site, your partner portal, app, or CRM application with LISA and let subscriptions flow into your back-end automatically.
Using the power of customer experiences with these applications and technologies, will set you apart from your competitors.
At Bluefort, we can integrate your subscription automation with your front-end experience with pre-built integration protocols and using Microsoft Power Automate to inform your customer about any new or changed updates to their subscriptions. Capture any updates and notify your customer automatically via email or other communication manners:
Reduce manual actions and reimagine the customer interaction!
Ready to scale up your subscription business?
Contact us and take the next step here to gain the competitive edge with a modern subscription management solution.