Why customer experience is king in the subscription economy
The subscription economy is booming. From movies to music, groceries to razors, and even cars, consumers are increasingly turning their back on traditional ‘one-time’ purchases in favour of forming long-term relationships with brands they trust.
The demand for ‘as-a-service’ offerings across all sectors is clear. However, any business that wants to succeed in this new subscription economy needs a comprehensive understanding of how to nurture happy, long-term customer relationships. Customer experience is now the key differentiator in business. Not only do they expect an attentive and efficient long-term relationship, but one that can take place seamlessly across every channel. Mastering this is absolutely critical.
In this article, Martin Taylor, Deputy CEO and Co-Founder at Content Guru, argues that this means organisations must now be able to implement a consistent, successful and tailored journey across their entire customer base. He looks at how organisations at the forefront of today’s subscription economy are using sophisticated customer engagement technology, such as AI-driven Natural Language Processing, to ensure they can meet changing customer demands as quickly, smoothly and effectively as possible.
Whichever way you look at it, the subscription economy is absolutely thriving at the moment. Not long ago, traditional ‘one time’ purchases were the only option available to consumers in most areas of their lives. However, these days it’s possible to subscribe to services offering virtually anything, from clothes and music to razors and office snacks. It’s a trend that’s not going away either. According to recent research, the subscription economy has grown by over 350 per cent in the last seven years, with subscription businesses growing their revenue roughly five times faster than traditional S&P (Standard & Poor’s) 500 companies.
It’s not hard to see why. Subscriptions give consumers a much easier and more convenient way to manage their purchasing needs. If they know they’re going to need a new box of washing powder every four weeks, simply subscribing to a monthly delivery service will mean they’ll never run out. Furthermore, in areas such as food and fashion, many subscription services now offer highly curated experiences, opening consumers up to new ideas that create an exciting sense of discovery.
Subscription models provide a more stable and predictable revenue stream
One of the key benefits of a subscription-based business model is the recurring revenue it brings with it, making future planning and investment much easier. However, as consumer demand for everything ‘as-a-service’ continues to grow, any organisation wishing to succeed in this new economy must have a deep understanding of how to deliver against the sky-high consumer expectations that come with it.
Modern online consumers are notoriously fickle at the best of times, but subscription customers are extremely quick to cancel services they don’t feel meet their expectations, and once they’re gone, they rarely come back. This means organisations must invest heavily in delivering the consistently high level of service that customers expect, while simultaneously trying to build and strengthen their brand loyalty at every opportunity.
This renewed emphasis on long-term relationships requires a brand new way of thinking that goes beyond simply focusing on the product alone. To thrive in the subscription economy, organisations need to be able to meet changing consumer demands as seamlessly and effectively as possible.
Optimising customer experience across every channel is key
Those at the forefront of today’s subscription economy have successfully harnessed the power of advanced technologies such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) and AI-powered chatbots to deliver end-to-end customer experiences that are fast, efficient, and above all, enjoyable.
Central to this is the establishment of a truly omnichannel perspective, which allows them to generate the insights needed to deliver the high-quality service that today’s customers expect. They’ve also seamlessly integrated all their communication channels, meaning customers can move across them without ever getting frustrated or encountering knowledge barriers. In other words, by prioritising investments in new technologies that enhance their ability to improve the customer experience, they’ve turned their contact centres into value centres.
Satisfied customers are loyal customers
Happy customers are less likely to jump ship, have fewer issues that require calls to resolve, and are more likely to sign up to additional services. As such, it’s no surprise an omnichannel contact centre that deploys AI alongside its normal agents is becoming increasingly important for delivering the fast, efficient assistance that modern consumers demand.
Chatbots, in particular, have come a long way in recent years, largely thanks to advances in their user interfaces. These make it quicker and easier for customers to query orders, track purchase histories, or escalate issues to a human agent if necessary. If an escalation is required, the agent is instantly updated with the entire contact history, ensuring they have all the information they need to resolve it without having to ask customers the same questions again.
Natural Language Processing (NLP) also provides key insights into a customer’s level of satisfaction or frustration in real-time by extracting contextual understanding from the words they are using and even their tone of voice. This information can then be used to prioritise and escalate calls accordingly, helping to solve the most pressing customer issues as quickly as possible. NLP can also help organisations find important patterns within large volumes of call data, which can then be used to identify areas of excellence, as well as those where improvement is needed. In other words, the technology can pinpoint what works and what doesn’t work in regard to customer experience, allowing organisations to refine their services and turn them into assets rather than sources of frustration.
As the subscription economy continues to grow at an exponential rate, any organisation looking to capitalise on it needs to realise that solely offering a strong product no longer cuts it. Customer service now plays a huge role, and failure to deliver a consistent, seamless experience across all channels can quickly result in unhappy customers cancelling subscriptions. Fortunately, there’s a wide range of innovative technologies available that can help organisations of all sizes achieve the exceptionally high levels of service that modern consumers expect.
For more information on all business in Europe, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief Europe.
Like what you see! Signup for our weekly newsletter