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ARR + Customer Service: The call center’s guide to subscriptions and renewals

Jan 19, 2023 | High-Tech

When companies serve subscribers, customer service is paramount. A subscriber who is satisfied with the service they receive is likely to keep renewing year after year, generating a reliable stream of annual recurring revenue (ARR). The Temkin Group recently found that when companies making $1 billion annually invest in improving the customer experience, they can expect to boost annual revenue by as much as 70% within three years, according to industry research. For subscription-based businesses, these trends reveal the importance of providing seamless, high-quality customer service experiences for every customer. 

One of the most strategic investments that subscription businesses can make to optimize the customer service is to invest in subscription management technology. A subscription management platform is designed to help businesses take advantage of automation, AI analytics, and intelligence to provide the cutting-edge experiences that modern customers expect.

Let’s explore four key things that every customer service leader should be doing with a subscription management platform to keep subscribers satisfied and renewing year after year: 

1. Give subscribers more self-service options.

A business’s customer service team exists to serve customers, but not every customer wants to be served directly by a customer service rep. Although it can feel antithetical, more than three in four customers now prefer digital self-service options over human interactions, according to McKinsey research. Especially for more straightforward subscription services like renewing, upgrading, downgrading, and making payments, customers want the control and flexibility of being able to manage their own subscription.

A subscription management platform makes it easy for businesses to integrate these self-service options. And once customer service teams’ time is freed up, they can focus on higher-value cases—the types of cases where the customer wants and expects direct, one-on-one interaction with the company to resolve.

2. Consolidate and centralize subscription data.

When customers make contact with a customer service team, the last thing they want is for the resolution to take longer than expected to resolve. Customer service teams shouldn’t have to do extended research to provide basic subscription information to customers, nor should they have to transfer customers to specialists and other teams. A subscription management platform enables customer service teams to instantly and easily retrieve all relevant subscriber information, from past quotes that were provided to customers, to what mix of products is in a customer’s subscription bundle, to when the customer’s most recent payment was received.

The reason that subscription management technology can serve up all of this data is because the platform is integrated with both customer relationship management (CRM) and backend systems. Quotes, sales data, invoices, and order information all flow continuously and automatically among systems, ensuring customer service teams have access to all the data they need at their fingertips to resolve customers’ issues.

3. Use data-driven insights to serve subscribers more effectively.

The power of subscription management technology lies in its ability to generate actionable, data-driven intelligence and insights. These insights can help customer service teams to understand subscribers at a deeper level—why they subscribe, what they’re looking for from their subscription, and what additional products and services they might be interested in adding to their subscription bundle.

When customer service teams are offering ideas, recommendations, and solutions that customers perceive as helpful, customers are much more likely to walk away with a positive impression. And not coincidentally, these customers may even be more receptive to adding and upgrading their subscription bundle on the spot—without ever going through a sales team.

At a macro level, customer service teams also can use subscription management technology to analyze data that sheds light on customer behaviors and trends—everything from what types of customers are buying certain types of product bundles, to what are the reasons certain types of customers are dropping their subscriptions. When customer service teams have access to these insights, they can tailor their approach to service—in other words, be more responsive to and cognizant of customers’ thought processes, preferences, and sensitivities.

4. Offer customized discounts, offers, and billing terms. 

Every customer service team wants to be able to meet customers’ needs and wants—and that often includes granting special discounts, offers, and billing terms. Unfortunately, most organizations don’t want the headache of managing and processing all of these special requests—everything from a waived setup charge, to a special introductory discount price, to a nonstandard billing cycle. Not only is the risk of mistakes high, but these errors can add up to significant revenue leakage.

Subscription management technology solves this perpetual impasse by enabling sales and customer service teams to readily apply a range of customizations to a subscriber’s account. The platform not only takes care of adding discounts, offers, and billing terms at the time that quotes and orders are generated, but the system also imposes rules and guardrails that prevent customer service teams from making a risky or non-permitted customization. Then, on the backend, all of the details about these customizations get automatically transferred to order management and accounting systems.

Customer service leaders are at the center of driving improvements to the service experience—and that includes utilizing subscription management technology effectively. With a subscription management platform, customer service teams are able to give subscribers more of the self-service options they want, consolidate and centralize subscription data, use data-driven insights to better understand subscribers, and offer a range of customer-friendly customizations.

Simplus is an expert at working with Salesforce’s industry-leading Subscription Management platform to optimize the customer experience for every subscriber. To learn more about our approach to building a modern customer service operation, please reach out to Simplus today. We look forward to helping you create a loyal base of subscribers that looks forward to renewing every year.

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Authors

Kyle Hanagarne
Kyle Hanagarne
VP Sales — Eastern North America at | + posts

Kyle Hanagarne is VP Sales — Eastern North America at Simplus.