To build long-lasting relationships with your customers, it’s essential to put yourself in their shoes and provide them with an intuitive experience that anticipates their needs. By making it easier for your customers to manage their own subscriptions, you add value to their lives not only in terms of your products, services, and any discounts, but also in terms of time you give back to their day. These positive experiences increase trust and brand loyalty, and can lead to higher customer lifetime value (LTV) and retention.

In this post, we’ll cover four key strategies that high-performing subscription businesses use to improve self-service subscription management, along with ways you can accomplish these actions in Recharge.

Key takeaways

  • Allowing your subscribers to easily manage their subscriptions with you is one of the best ways to improve the customer experience.
  • To reduce churn and increase LTV, focus on adding flexibility to your subscriptions in the form of product swaps, order skips, and delivery delays.
  • Flexibility with payments is also key to customer retention—ensure your subscribers can use multiple payment methods if they so choose.

Subscription management strategies for your ecommerce business

1. Transactional SMS

In today’s fast-paced world, customers want to be able to update their orders as quickly and easily as possible. One of the most convenient ways for your customers to manage their subscriptions is through transactional SMS. With this marketing strategy, you can communicate with your customers via text about their purchase, and allow them to text right back to manage that transaction without having to log on to the customer portal.

The beauty of transactional SMS is that it has a lower opt-out rate than email messaging. What’s more, according to The Ultimate Guide to Transactional SMS, text messages have a 209% higher response rate than by phone, email, or Facebook. In other words, by meeting your subscribers where they are—right in their messaging app—you can allow them to get the exact products or services they want in one of the most convenient ways possible.

Best practices for transactional SMS

In order to offer the best possible transactional messaging experience for your subscribers, it’s important to implement the following strategies:

  • Enable order skips, product swaps, and delivery delays via SMS. By giving your subscribers total control over how they manage their orders, you can keep them subscribed for longer, increasing LTV and retention. At Recharge, we’ve found that these flexible options can dramatically increase LTV, with skips leading to a 26% increase over 12 months, and swaps and delays each leading to 100% increases in the same period. 
  • Personalize your messaging to suit your brand’s voice and tone. Your transactional texts are a powerful touchpoint between your brand and your customers—so make them count. Keep messages concise, but ensure they look and feel like your brand to further the relationship with your subscribers.
  • Integrate your customer support solution. Even if your transactional SMS tools are fully automated, your subscribers may still have questions for your Support team. By integrating your CX solution, you can ensure ultimate support for your customers however they choose to manage their orders with you.

How to offer transactional SMS with Recharge

Recharge merchants looking to implement this strategy can utilize RechargeSMS, a free transactional SMS tool. Once a month, merchants using RechargeSMS can automatically send their subscribers a charge reminder of their upcoming order. In this message, the subscriber has the ability to skip the shipment, swap flavors, or delay their order, as well as update important account settings like their shipping and billing address and account login information. 

With RechargeSMS, you can personalize your messaging to suit your brand’s voice and tone. RechargeSMS can also integrate with several Customer Support solutions: Zendesk, Gorgias, Freshdesk, Kustomer, Intercom, and Re:amaze.

2. Send customers easy links to manage their orders

Studies show that the average person with an active digital life has about 100 passwords. As the number of applications that we use grows, it has become increasingly difficult to remember login credentials. It’s important to think about how your business can reduce this login friction for your subscribers and make their lives easier. 

One strategy for accomplishing this is to allow customers to securely bypass the customer portal with quick subscription management links. These links can either be sent via email or SMS to allow your customers to take specific actions—like adding a one-time product to their subscription, or shipping their next order now—without ever having to log in to their account.

This tactic helps create a frictionless subscription management experience. What’s more, it can help pave the way for increased AOV by reducing the likelihood that customers change their minds about an order by the time they log on to their account. 

Best practices for sending easy order links

To provide the best possible experience with easy order links for your subscribers, utilize the following strategies:

  • Offer the ability to ship early, skip, or delay an upcoming order. Providing customers with these options gives them the flexibility to fully manage their upcoming subscription, helping reduce order cancellations and customer churn for your business. 
  • Encourage swaps. Offer customers the ability to swap products that are going out of stock or upsell them a higher value product. This will not only increase retention, allowing them to choose a different product, but it can also increase average order value if they choose to swap a product at a higher price point. 

How to send easy customer links with Recharge

Recharge Quick Actions, which work with Recharge’s Klaviyo V2 integration, are URLs that can be embedded in SMS or emails that enable subscribers to make quick and easy updates to their orders without ever logging in to their customer portal. 

You can create URLs that let your customers take specific actions like skipping their next order, applying a discount, or adding a one-time product—all of which can result in an improved customer experience, increased average order value, and reduced cancellations. To get even more value out of Recharge Quick Actions, leverage Recharge metrics to learn more about your customers and reach out to them with easy links at exactly the right time.

3. Enable subscription management through the customer portal

For more advanced actions, the customer portal is a crucial area to focus on for optimized subscription management. It’s also a key place to lay the groundwork for long-lasting subscriber relationships. Think of it as your “home base” for your subscribers where they can return again and again to engage with your brand—a safe place that they can intuitively navigate throughout their customer journey and create as much flexibility as they require.

By creating a centralized place where your subscribers can log in to manage all aspects of their orders, you help nurture those relationships, increasing customer satisfaction, retention, and trust in your brand.

Best practices for customer portal subscription management

In order to offer the best possible subscription experience for your customers via the portal, it’s implement the following strategies:

  • Create an intuitive design. Make your portal easy to navigate to reduce the need to engage your Support team. Anticipate customer needs and points of confusion by including elements like FAQs, links to support documentation, product care information, and even animations to help guide customers through certain actions. 
  • Build flexibility into the portal. When your subscribers want to make changes to their orders, the customer portal is one of the first places they’ll go. Make it easy for them to make those changes by adding options to swap products, skip a delivery, order now, or change the date of an order date. While it might sound counterintuitive, you’ll also want to provide your customers with an easy option to cancel their subscriptions—this helps them leave on a positive note and increases the likelihood that they’ll return to your business later, or recommend you to others in the future. 
  • Create a cohesive brand experience. Through the customer portal, you can—and should—directly showcase your unique brand identity. Be sure to customize the copy, style, domain name, and other elements to ensure the portal looks and feels like your store. This creates a unified brand experience for your customers as they move through their subscription journey.

How to enable subscription management via the customer portal with Recharge

Recharge provides two out-of-the-box customer portal themes, Novum and Prima. Merchants on the Pro and Enterprise plans looking for more advanced customization opportunities can customize the look and feel of the portal via the Recharge Theme Engine. This allows merchants to tailor the look and feel of the portal to fit their store’s style and branding, integrate a custom domain, and create intuitive and flexible subscription management experiences for their customers within the portal. 

4. Offer flexibility with payments

At some point in a customer’s journey, their financial needs may change. This can involve how frequently they can afford to purchase a product, their primary payment method, or the number of different payment methods they actively use. It can even be a matter of needing to update their credit card details after an expiration. If you aren’t considering and anticipating these needs, you could be putting your business with unnecessary friction and potentially higher customer churn.

By proactively taking the time to assess your customers’ payment needs and potentially areas for increased flexibility, you help prevent your subscribers from leaving your business in order to meet their payment needs. 

Best practices for creating flexibility with payments

To create a highly flexible payment experience for your subscribers, consider implementing the following tactics:

  • Allow customers to make multiple updates simultaneously. For customers that subscribe to multiple products or manage subscriptions going to multiple addresses, it’s important to make it as seamless as possible to make payment updates. The fewer clicks you require of them to update their orders as needed, the more time you give these highly valuable customers back.
  • Don’t force customers to re-enter the same card details over and over. The average American consumer holds between three and four credit cards. Therefore, it’s important to make it easy for customers to store their credit information within their portal—and make it easy for them to transition between different cards—so they don’t change their minds in the moment before purchase. 
  • Create flexibility in your delivery and charge schedules. Your customers won’t always know how often they should subscribe to your products, making it valuable for you to offer them an initial recommendation about delivery frequency. For example, if you sell deodorant, you can advise how long a single order typically lasts, along with a corresponding delivery frequency. However, your customers still need the ability to adjust the frequency of their charges and deliveries to suit their schedule. Enable them to make these changes themselves so they aren’t forced to reach out to your Support team.

How to offer payment flexibility with Recharge

With Recharge’s multiple payment methods feature, you can enable your customers to store more than one payment type in their customer portal. This empowers them to easily switch between payment methods or shipping addresses whenever they need to, and without having to re-enter the same credit card details again and again. 

By enabling your subscribers to manage their orders as quickly and easily as possible, you can create better customer experiences that increase brand loyalty while reducing support debt for your team. 

Flexibility creates great customer experiences

To create the best possible subscription management experience for your customers, take a step back and assess your existing customer journey. Dig into your most common requests your Support team is receiving, the changes your customers most frequently need to make to their orders, and the actions they wish they could take, but can’t currently.

Once you’ve taken these steps, you can hone in on areas of improvement that will show your customers you’re listening to and prioritizing their needs—allowing you to get the most out of the subscription business model.

Looking for more tips and tricks on how to improve your customer subscription experience and other key areas of your subscriptions? Download our free ebook, Succeed with Subscriptions.