How Customer Service Needs to Evolve in the Subscription Economy


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Customer service is a true differentiator in today’s ever-growing subscription economy. What started with newspaper and magazines has now evolved to real-time, contextual and personalized product ownership experiences. Think of companies like Stitch Fix, Blue Apron, and Zipcar, for example. Customers are buying differently these days. That means evolving service to reflect the changing drivers and outcomes, as related to customer journey touchpoints of awareness, purchase, service, payment, warranty/returns and retention. Subscription service customers are looking for a seamless, frictionless experience.

Understand and exceed expectations

Customers often take their experience from one subscription company and port over their expectations to the next. For example, they expect free two-day shipping and for the brand to tell them when they need to reorder a product or re-up their subscription. While brands can set up automated emails to share refill reminders with consumers, the customer service agents need to be in the loop on the brand’s actions in order to ensure they can readily answer any consumer questions that come their way.
A customer service team uninformed about promotions being run by the marketing team can damage a brand’s reputation if they can’t answer consumer questions about the promotion. It is key for marketing and customer service to work hand-in-hand for subscription services to be successful.

Outsource customer service for increased customer satisfaction

Brands that contract out their customer service can have a leg up on non-outsourcing brands. Business process outsourcers (BPOs) typically invest in and incubate the latest technology and can more easily scale support in alignment with seasonal needs.

With recent research suggesting that the subscription economy could exceed $100 billion by next year, businesses need a sharp focus in this area. The key is: while acquiring new customers (subscribers, in this case) is essential, the subscription economy provides significant opportunity from existing subscribers. A robust renewal system, with upsell focus, not only helps reduce churn but also paves the way for stronger growth, in terms of expansion of existing accounts and upsells.

Master the consumer journey to generate growth

Engage, Buy, Bill, Care, Repair, Retain—those are the phases of the consumer journey. BPOs are highly skilled at supporting ‘Buy.’ Across-industries, today’s businesses have needs for direct-to-consumer shopping cart, order tracking and a range of customer care and account support. BPOs have the solutions—people, process and technology—from the traditional brilliant-at-the-basics expertise to the classic care of traditional voice, chat and email, to the e-care social. When utilized as a strategic partner, BPOs can create ways for companies to extend their ownership of brand relationships as well as receive enhanced insights into the customer journey, creating an optimized customer experience for consumers.

BPOs can provide the full engagement strategy from campaign journey mapping to lead generation and sales to grow wallet share—beyond the table stakes inquiry management and inbound/outbound sales support. With the help of a BPO that provides the ability to scale operations for the seasonal needs of subscription-based customers, companies can stand out in the evolving subscription economy.

Wendy Shlensky
Hailing from New York City, Wendy Shlensky is VP, Global Head of PR and Analyst Relations at Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS), where she has been since 2014. Her core role is to bring market insights to HGS colleagues, as well as ensure the analyst and adviser community learn about HGS capabilities. 


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