Identifying the Barriers in the Provision of a Great Subscriber Experience

Subscriptions have been around for a long time and in no way can they be called a recent breakthrough. Milk and newspaper deliveries are some very common examples of subscriptions. However, subscriptions have become challenging as increasing numbers of SaaS businesses shift to subscription models for selling their services.

The biggest obstacle in managing SaaS subscriptions these days is that the subscriber of today is incredibly informed. They have an abundance of information at their disposal which is only a click away. As a result, subscribers are empowered enough to learn more about the nature of service offered by your business and their alternatives.

Under such circumstances, SaaS subscription businesses should remain alert at all moments and try to ensure that there are no hidden culprits that can prevent the provision of an elevated subscriber experience.

What Do We Mean By Subscriber Experience?

Subscriber Experience is an all-encompassing term which refers to the overall interactions a subscriber has with a business. It includes all the processes and phases involved to facilitate a subscriber from their initial onboarding till they choose to end their subscription. Some features of subscriber experience include:

  • User Interface: This refers to everything included in the layout of the digital platform used by a business. It serves as a point of contact between the subscriber and the computer system.
  • Customer Support: It refers to the range of services offered by a business to customers when they need any assistance in regard to their subscription.
  • Feedback Collection: This refers to the act of taking active input of subscribers regarding the product in order to improve upon it.

Does Subscriber Experience Really Matter?

The question arises, why should SaaS businesses care about giving a good subscriber experience? The simplest answer to this question is that it assists in retaining customers. Many studies substantiate that SaaS businesses are more likely to increase their revenues by up-selling and cross-selling to their retained customers, than they can by attracting new customers.

Customer retention can prove to be of great help in improving the overall financial standing of a SaaS business. With long term customer loyalty, scalability can be a very easy goal to achieve. However, the condition is that the subscriber’s quality of experience should be immaculate.

Does a Subscriber Differ From a Customer?

Before we can explore the barriers in the provision of a good subscriber experience, we need to look at how a subscriber differs from a customer. The biggest difference arises from the nature of the purchase. A customer is only going to buy a product once whereas a subscriber is bound to make regular purchases depending on the length of their subscription lifecycle.

The precedence of the subscriber is based on their long term relationship with a business. As a result, they have a more regular contact with a business and can also impact a business more. This highlights the need to empower the subscriber and give them an elevated experience. There is very little room for error if a subscription based SaaS business wants to be successful.

What Can Cause Bad Customer Experience?

CEOs and management of many SaaS businesses are convinced that they are delivering a top notch service. However, the year-end data shows a completely different picture. We have already established that subscribers require more attention than customers due to the personalized nature of subscriptions. Thus, there can be many discrete problems in a way a SaaS subscription business is operating that require attention.

Keep reading to learn about a few of them.

  • Lack of Self Service: Your SaaS business might be providing the best customer support to its subscribers but it can get tiring to jump through multiple bureaucratic hoops in order to fix the smallest of the things. Subscribers are going to run into problems no matter what, but they will appreciate it if they are empowered enough to sort the everyday issues they run into by themselves.

Customer portals are a brilliant way of allowing customers to solve basic issues on their own. Moreover, they can also be beneficial to businesses by freeing up the resources that would otherwise be tied up in tending to tedious customer support tasks.

  • No Easy Exit Routes: Businesses want to maximize CLV and a simple way of achieving this goal is by ensuring that more and more customers stay with them. But, sometimes businesses try to artificially elongate the stay of their customers through some unsavory tactics that can be majorly disadvantageous in the long term.

One example of that is setting up difficult exit routes. Users have to put in a lot of effort and time into canceling their subscription. This is not only illegal in some countries but it can take the element of trust out of the relationship. It also burns any bridges that would allow the subscribers to return or refer your business to their peers.

  • Unrewarded Loyalty: SaaS subscriber experience greatly depends on whether they feel like they are being valued by the business. Many businesses make the mistake of taking their long term subscribers for granted and then end up paying heavy costs in the form of mass churning.

This issue can be avoided by setting up good customer loyalty programs that make the long term subscribers feel that their presence is valued. This can be achieved by giving loyalty discounts or even something as simple as personalized messages on their subscription anniversary.

  • Lazy Communication: Subscribers are not only subscribed to your business and if you think from their point of view, you realize that keeping track of all their subscriptions is not easy. It is possible that they only realize that they are subscribed to your business when they receive a notification for an automatic subscription charge on their card.

Thus, it is imperative to keep them in the loop and tell them about any new or upcoming updates that might suit their interest. This will allow them to take an active interest in your business and keep engaging.

  • Inability to Utilize Data: Subscribers have a high expectation of receiving a personalized service. Many SaaS businesses might fail in seeing the incoming changes in customer demands. However, they can stay ahead of the curve by utilizing the vast amount of customer data.

Customer data can give many insights into customer behaviors because businesses can see what features are being accessed more and what volume of service is being utilized. Efficient data mining can help SaaS businesses to optimize accordingly and deliver upon the growing needs of customers.

Tying It Together

Hopefully, this was an informative read and gave you some sense of direction as to learning more about what kind of problems your business might be dealing with. SaaS businesses should be taking matters in their own hand and proactively scan for problems in the business. Only then can they find innovative solutions to their problems which will ensure great subscriber experience.