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When customers make up their minds to cancel their paid subscription, they are already out the door. The key to retaining these customers on the verge of leaving is by getting in front of them before they make up their mind.

Like all relationships worth keeping, you want to make sure you’ve made every effort to sustain it or separate with mutual understanding, rather than feeling jilted.

Or from a more business-oriented motivation, the effort to attract new customers far exceeds that of retaining existing ones, especially for any subscription-based business.

A subscription-based model for eCommerce businesses can take a number of forms:

  • Traditional subscription: WetShaveClub, Birchbox, Barkbox
  • Membership for premium service: Amazon Prime
  • Shop-or-Skip membership: ShoeDazzle, JustFab, AdoreMe

The following are a few strategies to retain customers that might be thinking of unsubscribing.

Look At Past Data

Using data to predict what your customers are going to do is a lot like reading tarot cards; when you develop the skill, it will almost seem magical.

Different metrics offer different insights into your customers’ behavior. Some can help in anticipating unsubscriptions. The Last Charge, for example, shows when the customer last made a purchase. If you have a shop-or-skip model of paid subscription, you can see that. Although a customer might have a membership, they have repeatedly chosen to opt-out of their monthly credit. This can be a sign that the customer is no longer interested. You might want to put some effort into re-engaging these members.

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Control uses customers’ payment data to help you anticipate behaviors and trends. For more information on why you should be collecting customer data, read our recent post: Why You Should Be Collecting Customer Information with Stripe

Data also offers a quick snapshot of customer engagement with your company. This doesn’t just mean purchases, but also messages sent to customer support. The key is to understand which data works best for your brand in identifying those potential unsubscribers.

By segmenting users into organized persona groups, you can predict customer churn through actions or lack-of-actions.

Build Relationships using Customer Service, Content, and Upgrades

When a customer is not using your product, sooner or later, they’ll stop paying for it or cancel their membership to make room on their plate. Don’t approach it as a crisis; it’s an opportunity.

If you haven’t yet, now is the time to build a relationship with them, presenting resources and educating them about the value of your product or service.

Sometimes, it’s as simple as re-inspiring them, after all, at one point they wanted to subscribe. Bring them back to that moment with engagements, perks, and value. Help them perform a task, teach them about a new function, and maybe even give them an upgrade to serve their greater need.

Make things quick and easy for your customers. Having a real-time web chat or accessible customer service will be essential in keeping those customers that contemplate canceling. But when all the efforts are lost and the customers do choose to cancel, have them connect with you through a call or email. This way you can request feedback. It’s all about learning.

Put More Efforts In Creating Loyalty

Sometimes businesses focus too much on acquiring new customers with great service and promotions that they forget about their current paid subscribers. Customer acquisition is great. However, if you have a subscription-based business, retention is equal, if not greater. 

Consider this: You have a 50% discount for new subscribers—but what about those who pay full price every month? Don’t they deserve some perks for their loyalty?

The online market is a competitive one and if you are not treating your paid subscribers well, they won’t hesitate in switching to another company. Put attention into customer appreciation, treating them not just during big sales time—such as the holidays—but surprising them when other businesses are merely worrying about acquiring them.

Be Valuable

When it comes down to it, your business should be about creating value. If customers no longer find any use for what you offer, it’s only a matter of time before they’ll flee. Then, no amount of persuasion will keep them.

Stitch Fix offers a service called Ask A Stylist, which allows customers to ask the pros questions about fashion. By establishing a network—a community—where customers can interact openly with the eCommerce company, the brand establishes loyalty that keeps the customers returning for more. Your ability to personalize your service will help sustain your relationship with your existing customers.

The key is to avoid waiting until the customer’s account gets stale. While you don’t want to be a pest, you do want to keep in touch and stay relevant.

To ensure that what your brand is offering is meaningful for the customers, you need to be continuously listening to them, learning from them, and working on your business, innovating. If your product or service becomes outdated, obsolete, or redundant then you need to regroup and look in the mirror, not merely your customers.

Further reading: 5 Churn-Reduction Qualities

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