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How to Create a Customer-Centric Strategy for Your Subscription-Based Business
Building a business from the ground up always has its challenges, but maintaining a subscription-based business can be particularly difficult due to its ongoing nature. One of the most effective ways to run a subscription-based business is through a customer-centric strategy. You might be wondering, what is customer centricity? Or what is customer-centric service? We’ll discuss these concepts and explain how you can use them to grow your subscription-based business.
What is Customer Centricity?
Customer centricity is a customer-focused mindset that places the user’s experience at the forefront of the business strategy. In practice, this means striving to improve your customers’ experience with every interaction — the customer is the focal point of all decision-making related to delivering products and services with the goal of boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty.
With customer centricity, the sale of the product or service is driven by the commitment to ensure that the customer is happy. Once the sale is made, the company maintains its ties with the customer to ensure their enduring satisfaction with the product. If customers experience problems with a product or service, a business with a customer-centric strategy will make sure to address those concerns as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Why Is Customer Centricity Important to Your Business?
As a subscription-based business, you can help increase retention and growth with a customer-centric strategy by delivering a valuable product in a convenient and intuitive way. Customers appreciate when the people behind the services they’re using make them feel heard and cared for, so putting them first will ensure they stay loyal to your business.
While most businesses should adopt the “customer first” mentality, it’s especially important for subscription-based businesses to prioritize a customer-centric service. Customer centricity is associated with high retention rates, which are the foundation of a successful subscription service.
If you specifically run a SaaS business, customer-centric service can also help you stand out from your peers. In the software industry, companies commonly compete on the features they offer. But if one company starts offering something, anybody else can follow. Putting your customers first is a cultural element of your business that’s harder for your competitors to replicate.
How to Create Your Customer-Centric Strategy
Ensure Your Company Understands Its Customers’ Needs
It would be impossible to practice customer-centric service without first understanding what your customers need from you. Your company must recognize both what your current customers and what your potential customers need to drive sales. This also requires not only understanding the problems your customers are looking to solve with your product or service, but also their motivations behind their purchases.
If a woman buys a new purse, for example, she might be doing so to improve her outward appearance. She might be hoping to feel more professional, or more trendy. If your company can understand those motivations, you can market and sell your products with those targets in mind.
Release New Benefits, Increase Value
One of the biggest benefits for your business of running a subscription-based service is recurring billing. It’s a steady and regular stream of revenue. However, it only continues to work if you think of ways to consistently provide benefits to your customers. These can range from reliability to immediate access to new features to higher affordability compared to competitors.
Subscription-based streaming services like Netflix and Hulu offer multi-tier opportunities for consumers, which can appeal to a wide range of customers on different budgets. HBO Max has started offering access to movies still in theaters as part of their more expensive subscription option. Ongoing benefits like these help keep customers subscribed and are examples of a customer-centric service, where the customers’ needs sit at the forefront of business strategy.
Offer More Convenience
A subscription-based business isn’t successful unless you deliver a solid product on a consistent basis. This requires that you ensure your company is always improving and evolving, all while keeping in mind that if your customers are going to use your product or service regularly, it has to be convenient.
To run a successful subscription-based business, you have to understand how to deliver maximum convenience to your customers. The cornerstone of this convenience is that once your customers sign up, they don’t have to worry any more. They create their account, they pay regularly, and your service is there for their use any time they need.
To ensure processes like this run smoothly and keep your customers satisfied, make sure payment amounts and schedules are clear from the start. Make sure your subscribers know when and how much they’ll be charged, and make it easy for them to send payments. If you can set up an automatic payment system, all the better.
Clearly Communicate Subscription Benefits
In addition to being clear about how much payments are and when they’re due, it’s just as important to be clear with customers about what they’ll receive for their recurring payments. This could include discounts on future purchases or subscription upgrades, access to exclusive content or product bundles, automatic updates, and more.
Communicating well with your customers will increase the likelihood that they continue to subscribe to your service. Amazon Prime, for example, lays out all of its included benefits to its customers in an easily accessible way. When you go to sign up, the first thing you see is that new subscribers get a 30-day free trial. After that, everything you get included with prime is explained through images, graphics, and short blocks of text. It’s easy to figure out exactly what you’re getting for your money.
You also want to make sure to communicate special offers, like free trials or sales. This not only could keep current customers engaged, but it’s also a great way to reach potential new customers and hopefully boost subscription numbers.
Keep Customers Front and Center From the Beginning of the Employee Journey
On top of all the important nuts and bolts of running a subscription-based business, your employees are really at the heart of your customer-centric strategy. The way that your employees think of your customers and interact with them can make or break your customers’ experience and satisfaction. To bolster your customer-centric service, make sure all new hires understand the importance of your customers and encourage direct interaction with customers throughout an employee’s tenure.
For new hires, employees should have a clear understanding that the customer is king, whether the role is client-facing or not. Without a customer base, there is no revenue, and if there’s no revenue, there’s no business. A good way to emphasize this idea is during the hiring process. Hiring managers can ask potential candidates questions related to customer service and Customer Success and see how they respond. Some possible questions could include:
- How would you handle an angry customer or internal team member?
- Describe a time when you worked with a dissatisfied customer or struggled with team dynamics.
- How would you respond to a customer or team member complaining about your services or performance?
When it comes to current employees, the role that the customer plays in the business should continue to be a focus. Encourage employees to sit in on customer service calls or industry conferences. This will help give them a better awareness of the company’s customer base and their needs. It can also help promote collaboration between internal teams, or new and exciting ideas.
How You Can Focus on Customer-Centric Service
The challenges of implementing a customer-centric strategy can require a lot of hard work to overcome, but a strategy that puts your customers’ needs first can revolutionize your subscription-based business. If you’re ready to start your business on the path of customer centricity, check out our webinar, How Your Organization Can Achieve a Customer-First Transformation.