5 Customer Experience Tips for Subscription Businesses (and Everyone Else)

Subscription businesses are posed with a unique challenge. Because their customers don’t actively interact with the brand on a regular basis unless there’s an issue, they need to work extra hard to stay connected and grow their loyalty and Lifetime Value. Customers should become more invested and engaged as the length of their subscription grows. This requires agents to be well-versed on the product and offerings so they can take on a more active, consultative approach to build deeper connections. They need to be proactive, instead of reactive, anticipating need and reaching out before a problem arises—as customers are more likely to cancel than put up with a bad subscription experience. While the same is true for any business, it’s the most pressing for subscription companies. Let’s look at some ways agents can go the extra mile to improve the subscription, or any, experience:

1) Collect Information

The more you know about your customers, the better you can make your experience. If a customer’s profile isn’t completely filled out, agents should be prompted to get those answers during a routine interaction. Or, they could reach out with an example of how they could better customize the customer’s experience if their profile was completed. All of this data is the first step to helping agents become more active and engaged consultants.

2) Use Foresight

If the weather in the forecast is set to cause a delay for customers in a particular area, you should be able to proactively reach out to those affected and give them the option for an earlier delivery. Customers will appreciate your foresight, and giving them say over when their items arrive is far preferable to waiting for an angry call asking when their order is going to be delivered.

3) Ask Questions

If a customer’s behavior changes, such as pausing their delivery, then that’s a great chance for agents to engage with them and learn more about their habits. Maybe they’re going on vacation? If that’s the case, you can offer to ship it to this different location for no extra cost. This both teaches the customer about a feature they might not have known about while showing that you care about their individual experience and keeping their subscription top-of-mind.

4) Respond Faster

In the event of your customer downgrading their subscription tier or asking to cancel, it’s important that your agents are able to get all the information they need ASAP. If you can automate your chat to send a conversational form asking what’s the reason and how can you help, then customers who might still be on the fence can provide more information and help your agents convince them to stay subscribed.

5) Reward Loyalty

Brands like Bespoke Post and Boxycharm reward loyal customers by occasionally giving them more valuable items in their boxes. The longer they stay subscribed, the more frequent these surprises are. This incentives customers to keep subscribing, and adds real value to their experience.

But even if you’re not a subscription brand, increasing customer Lifetime Value is a crucial part of the experience strategy. This is why more and more brands are adding a subscription model every day. For example, the clothing marketplace Material World has streamlined their business model, going from a place where customers can find second-hand luxury items, to adding a subscription box stream to connect with customers who want a continual, unique, and low effort experience. Customers can exchange their old clothing and other items for a new outfit made up of pre-owned items from luxury brands each month using this new service. It’s not just new brands experimenting with adding subscription—even strongly established brands like Sephora and Glossier are cutting into Birchbox’s market share by offering recurring subscriptions of their products. Now, even Starbucks has a subscription vertical.

Understanding your customers and increasing their loyalty with a great customer experience is a worthwhile endeavor for every kind of brand, whether that’s with a subscription model or with next-level CX. As old and new brands catch on to the benefits of a subscription model, the ranks of delivery boxes will only grow, but the ones that will truly last will be those that understand their customers and use great service and customer experience to ensure their loyalty.

How Beauty Brands Can Use Customer Experience as a Differentiator

How New Beauty Brands Disrupt the Industry

The growing number of beauty brands fighting for market share are all looking for an edge. Whether it’s standout branding, a breakthrough product, or a unique story—to succeed, you have to get your customers’ attention. However, there is one surefire way of separating yourself from the pack: Service.

Download whitepaper: How New Beauty Brands Disrupt the Industry

Glossier’s gTeam is a CX Dream Team

New beauty brands have found that service can solidify relationships with their customers. Glossier’s gTeam is a best-in-class example. The dedicated staff of editors (Glossier’s special designation for service employees, rather than “agent” or “associate”) work to deliver personal, one-to-one service to their devoted fanbase.

The team works directly with the marketing and product development departments, providing advice on how to improve R&D and drive brand loyalty and repeat business thanks to their insight from working in direct contact with customers.

“Instead of limiting interactions with customer service, which is the norm in the industry, we strive to create conversations with our customers,” says Jessica White, Executive Director of Customer Experience, in a recent exclusive with Digiday.

Learn more about how Kustomer helps Glossier’s gTeam win a devoted following in this whitepaper.

Sephora’s Experience Transcends Digital and Physical

Beauty retailer Sephora has made real investments in uniting their physical and digital store operations into a single unit to deliver a 360-degree experience in-store and online. “If a customer browsed online then bought in store, we can see that. We just weren’t looking at it before, but it’s a win for both channels,” says Mary Beth Laughton, Sephora’s SVP of Digital, “We’re more aligned, and we can move faster across in-store, online and mobile strategies. Mobile is the glue that holds it all together.”

Now Sephora’s popular in-store makeovers have an added digital element. Makeup artists log each product they use in the Sephora app, so that customers can use it as a shopping list later online or at the counter. Similarly, customers can now use Sephora’s Virtual Artist augmented reality tool for to purchase the products they’ve “tried on” virtually in the app online, or find out where they’re located in-store.

Combining these teams helps drive customer loyalty, combining the perks of both channels and pooling data to deliver more-personalized recommendations and offers. “My new team brings loyalty to the forefront since we’re better positioned to understand customers across channels,” said Laughton, “Loyalty is a data-driven ecosystem, so that’s hugely powerful.”

A Truly Beautiful Experience

A smarter experience across digital and brick-and-mortar touchpoints goes a long way towards cementing your relationships with customers. In a space with as much competition and personal attachment as beauty, standing out with a next-level experience is crucial for retaining an edge over the competition. And no matter the channel, agents need to be equipped and empowered to take the experience further and truly delight your customers.

Download whitepaper: How New Beauty Brands Disrupt the Industry

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