Have you ever wondered how your customers form new expectations? Believe it or not, it’s highly unlikely that they were influenced by your direct competitor down the street. Very often new expectations come from other businesses or services they use every day. Any business that innovates and offers increased convenience and a positive experience, (think Amazon, Apple, Netflix or Spotify) has the ability to change peoples’ habits and expectations, and ultimately become the new standard by which your business is measured.
In recent years, we’ve witnessed a boom in subscriptions-based businesses. Paying for music, movies and even groceries is becoming more common on a monthly subscription. Why? Because it’s convenient for both consumers and businesses. But it also means that businesses must keep their customers engaged and loyal. To learn more on customer loyalty, check out this article we published on improving retention through good customer experience.
Amilia’s New Automated Subscription Feature Helps Solve a Major Problem
Businesses selling activities have unique realities and business rules, often making it more complex to sell a subscription-based activity, than a simple subscription service like unlimited monthly access to music or movies. Especially for seasonal activities, the activity start date may not always correspond to the time the participant registers. To further complicate things, some clubs and gyms must set up a single billing date for popular programs so customers in a waiting list can register if someone decides to drop out. All these requirements may impact how customers get charged for tuition, especially in the first and last month. In the spirit of fairness, the rate should be recalculated in proportion to the service received, also known as proration.
Subscription-based businesses typically hire hundreds of developers to work on sophisticated custom technology that provides a smooth experience for customers and admins alike. Unfortunately, many activity-based businesses have been scarred by registration software that requires admins to manually run batch billing every month. These manual recurring tasks lead to errors and inconsistencies, such as the admin forgetting to run the process on time, which may disappoint or confuse the customers being charged. For a customer-centric organization it should be a goal to automate these repetitive tasks. This reduces the likelihood of errors and frees up staff to invest time in improving programming and customer service.
Amilia’s newly released subscriptions feature was built with customer experience in mind. We partnered with numerous recreation organizations to understand their needs in selling activities as monthly subscriptions. The result is a fully automated system that mimics your unique business rules.
Flexible Features for a Friendly Customer Experience
Starting from a simple monthly subscription, similar to Netflix or Spotify, additional options can be incorporated, such as custom start and end dates, billing days and prorations at checkout. For the admin, it only requires a one-time setup. Then the system does everything on its own automatically. Another time-saving feature is requiring all customers to save their credit card on file to enable their future automated payments. If their cards are about to expire, users are notified to update their card information.
Tiered Subscription Packages
Based on feedback, we’ve also added ways to customize subscription offers. By limiting the amount of activities linked to a subscription you can easily create different packages. Some organizations opted to set up tiered packages: “Gold”- gives access to 3 activities, “Silver”- 2 activities and “Bronze” - 1 activity.
Finally, the freedom to cancel any time may be scary for any business. We’ve built two options to help businesses manage their cancellations:
- Customers to cancel in one click by themselves, or
- Customers can request a cancelation.
We’ve observed that many organizations opt for the second option because it buys extra time for office admins and coaches to call customers to try and retain their business or at least collect constructive feedback that they can learn from.
The Key to Loyalty is Offering Good Customer Experience
As customer expectations develop rapidly, it becomes vital to evolve your offering by building in flexibility and convenience with the goal of providing the best possible customer experience. A simple but useful rule of thumb to keep in mind is: “if I were my customer, how would I want this process to work?” The demand for subscriptions has been fueled by emerging trends in customer expectations through automatic payments, lack of long-term commitments and a preference for personalization. Monthly subscriptions in Amilia allows you to stay ahead of these demands. If you’re an existing Amilia customer, the new subscriptions feature is included in your existing package. Learn how to set up subscriptions in your store by consulting the knowledge base. Not an Amilia customer yet? Sign up for a free trial.