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Time to join the subscription economy?

The only way for businesses to stay competitive is for them to constantly revise their business strategies. In the past it was the on-demand economy, forcing businesses to re-address their customer service. Now it is the subscription economy, writes ADRIAN ZANETTI, MD of NEXT Solutions.

The only way your business can stay ahead of the competition is by constantly changing and adapting the way you think and plan strategies. For example, the on-demand economy has forced us to review our accessibility to consumers. Now, we are entering yet another economic sphere – the subscription economy.

When you restructure your company’s business plan to place transactions at its centre instead of products; when your focus moves to perfecting customer relations – that’s participating in the subscription economy.

Today, more and more people are re-evaluating their consumerist behaviour, moving away from owning products and focussing more on the relationship they have with companies. Consumers are craving flexibility. They are searching products that always bring them something new such as My Chocolate Box, a box filled with new chocolate products every month. In addition, they are searching for services that are available when they need it, for example, GetMore, Cell C’s 24/7 customer benefits programme.

But that’s not where their cravings end; users are demanding an array of payment methods for these subscription programmes, for instance, pay as you go, a monthly subscription fee or a long-term contract. You’re simply giving your subscriber more control over the products to which they subscribe when you offer them a choice of payment options.

Always remember the importance of your customer relationships and to ensure that they receive consistent, engaging and personal communications across multiple channels. By conducting extensive research into your specific target market and educating your agents on how to interact with clients, you can ensure the ultimate subscriber experience and establish long-term relationships. You need to offer your customers flexibility in both the communication channel and the conversation tonality. The days of a one-size-fits-all approach are long gone.

The best way you can accomplish this is by adjusting your structure, culture and processes to put the consumer first. Create a business plan by working through all the available data about your target market and production ability. In this way, you’ll be able to understand your consumers’ needs and how you should address and acquire subscribers as well as retain revenue per person. If you place too much focus on your product, by trying to upsell subscriptions without considering the customer’s needs or wants, it can lead to you losing subscribers.

We’re living in an exciting time. Just as the on-demand economy has forced us to review our availability to consumers and our user experience, so too is the subscription economy demanding ease, flexibility and improved customer relationships.

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