Q&A: How to Improve Customer Engagement and Boost Subscriptions

September 3, 2019

How Do You Improve Customer Engagement to Boost Subscription Revenue?

With so much competition out there, you don’t just need to deliver superior subscription products and services—you need to enhance the entire customer experience. That means transforming the way you interact with clients and staying laser-focused on making them feel engaged. We’ve talked about how to boost customer engagement before, but we thought it was time to take a look from your perspective. That’s why we’ve created a set of interesting questions and practical answers, all designed to help you drive up engagement and increase subscription sales.

Let’s get into it.

How Do I Know If I’m Improving Customer Engagement in the Right Areas?

You can’t know if you’re improving your subscription business until you start measuring results. We recommend focusing on two areas:

For KPIs, the big ones will be:

  • Customer Conversions: The percentage of customers who actually sign up for your subscription service.
  • Customer Retention: The percentage of customers you keep over time.
  • Customer Churn: The percentage of customers who leave.
  • Customer Revenue: The amount of subscription revenue you’re bringing in.

These metrics provide useful, at-a-glance insight into the success of your customer engagement, but they won’t show you the full picture. For that, you’ll have to dig a little deeper and look into operational metrics like:

  • Your sales pipeline and engagement at each level.
  • How trial and paying customers actually use your product, where they spend time, and the parts that drive value.
  • Demographics for customers so you can tie metrics back to individual/business needs.
  • Areas like frequency of use, returning customers, popular features, etc.

Your subscription business is unique, so you’ll want to choose metrics that make the most difference to your top-level KPIs. Carry out a deep analysis of all your metrics to identify behaviors that most directly impact revenue, retention rates, conversion, and churn.

Can I Use Machine Learning to Understand User Behavior?

You can combine your measurements and analysis with artificial intelligence and machine learning to understand how behavior changes and improves over time. Sophisticated machine learning algorithms can forecast product usage as client needs change, and you can direct development resources to enhance and build services for customers

Machine learning will also help you rate and score leads, which helps your sales team boost conversion rates. AI will focus on your customer habits as they use the tool, and can provide early insight into product use and the likelihood of churn, so you can take preemptive action. 

How Do I Know What My Subscription Customers Need? 

One of the best ways to improve customer engagement and subscription sales is to ask your customers what they want from your products and services. Get your sales teams to build up relationships with key clients and ask questions to get qualitative and quantitative feedback. Questions could include:

  • Out of features A, B, and C, which would you prioritize for improvement?
  • If we could enhance that feature, what are the top two or three things you’d like it to do?
  • Does any part of our product or service cause you issues or pain?
  • What would it take for you to use our product more than you do now?
  • What is the main priority from you out of customer service, customer success, product stability, or new features?

You can probably think of a lot more questions based on your specific subscription offerings and customer needs. When you’re gathering data from clients, it’s useful to do it over a phone call as your sales team can dig into questions more, explain context, and capture information accurately.

Should I Invest in a Customer Success Team to Boost Engagement?

A customer success team helps your customers get the most out of your subscription products and services. You can build this team as part of the responsibilities of your existing sales team, or as an independent unit. Whatever approach you decide to take, a customer success team will significantly enhance the customer’s experience with your subscription offerings. They will:

  • Talk to your customers to get a deep understanding of their business needs and pain points.
  • Provide advice and support on how customers can get more out of your products and services.
  • Help create customized solutions that add real value for the client.
  • Proactively communicate with customers when you launch new features and functionality.
  • Contribute to knowledge bases, support guides, and other media to enhance product understanding and usage.
  • Help personalize your communications and offerings and can provide useful incentives for customers to stay with your subscription business. 

How Else Can I Increase Subscription Sales?

Optimizing your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) processes and training your sales team in best practices are both excellent initiatives for increasing sales. You can test multiple CRM techniques and track how each one maps onto the conversion rate. This can help you identify the best CRM process in every stage of the sales pipeline, so you can continue to optimize how you approach potential clients.  

Spend time with your sales team to learn how they interact and to identify the types of communication that add maximum value. Use those examples as best practice training so you can spread good habits around all your sales representatives.

Does Good Customer Service Help to Increase Revenue?

Customer service can be a make or break moment for a client. Get customer service right—with fast fixes, proactive communications, and by keeping the customer informed—and you can turn a frustrating experience into a pleasant one. Get it wrong, and you’ll drive them into the arms of your competitors. 

Invest in good technology for your customer service agents and train them on the importance of positive, proactive communications. Build up a knowledge base of known errors and workarounds, and ensure a strong link between fixing issues and resolving underlying root causes to prevent problems from recurring. This all helps you create a more stable, reliable product, and a better experience for your customers.

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