Last editedMar 20233 min read
It really is easier to hold on to existing customers than to acquire new ones. That said, however, if you really want to hold on to as many existing customers as possible, it’s best to work, actively, on customer retention. With that in mind, here is a simple guide on how to retain subscribers in 2023.
Listen to your customers
This is arguably the foundation of all customer retention strategies. It’s essential for minimising customer churn. Fundamentally, the only way to retain subscribers (in 2023 or any other year) is to deliver what they want. You can only deliver what your subscribers want if you know what it is.
There are lots of ways to listen to your customers. For example, you can:
run social-media polls
send out surveys
organise focus groups
have a feedback form
Personalise your customer experience
Personalising your customer experience means a lot more than just remembering to use their name. It means looking for ways to make your service a perfect fit for their needs and wants.
What this means in practice depends on what type of subscription business you run. For example, if you send products on subscription, then aim to send exactly what the customer wants, exactly when they want it.
If you create content, then aim to create the sort of content your customer would most appreciate. Try to deliver it at the most appropriate time.
Be flexible with your billing
This could be viewed as an extension of personalising the customer experience. It is, however, important enough to be worth highlighting on its own. If you currently only support monthly billing then 2023 may be the year to look at implementing other options.
For example, if your market is consumers, it could be worth looking at offering weekly and/or fortnightly billing. There are still a lot of people in the UK who are not paid monthly. This could be very helpful to them. By contrast, if your market is businesses, then you could look at offering quarterly and annual options. These could be discounted compared to the monthly price.
Likewise, you might want to review how you go about charging your customers. Essentially, you want to put your customers on a payment method that minimises friction for them. This is crucial to minimising late and failed payments. These are not just inconvenient for merchants. They can also prompt customer churn.
Direct debit is generally the best option. Firstly, it requires minimal effort on the customer’s part. They just have to authorise a mandate. The merchant will take care of setting up the payments. Secondly, customers very rarely change their bank accounts. This means that there is much less likelihood of payments failing due to you having outdated payment details.
Surprise and delight
Reward customers from time to time with surprise treats. There are lots of ways to do this at an acceptable cost. For example, if you have a subscription for physical products, you could send free samples from time to time. This could be a way to introduce customers to new products.
If you sell digital products or services, then give customers special access and/or exclusive content. Alternatively, give them early access to content that will later be made available to everyone.
Consider sending paper cards during the holiday season and on a customer’s birthday (assuming you know it). The risk of loss in delivery is probably no higher than the risk of emails getting blocked by spam filters.
Paper cards offer two main benefits over ecards. Firstly, the recipient is more likely to pay attention to them. Realistically, most ecards sent by businesses are likely to end up deleted. Secondly, they can spark a much stronger connection. In fact, if the picture is especially attractive, the recipient may keep it as decor.
Provide a customer support phone number
Your customer support team is your main point of contact with your customers. As such, it should be one of your main defences against customer churn.
The very best defence against customer churn is to allow customers to talk to real humans whenever they feel the need. That means continuing to offer a phone number. If you really can’t do this, then try to offer a combination of live chat (with a human) and callbacks.
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