June 15, 2017 Last Updated 12:56 pm

Flexible subscriptions the biggest challenge to building meaningful customer relationships

This guest column first appeared as a blog post on the MPP Global website, it has been expanded with additional material, including two slides from the original webinar

With the age of the customer now a reality, as Forrester’s research has shown, empowered buyers are demanding a new level of customer obsession. In order to harness this, businesses globally are focusing on the Recurring Revolution and recognise that flexible subscription management lies at the heart of this approach.

The Power of Subscriptions

In its recent webinar, MPP Global and Forrester discussed how subscriptions were driving the evolution of customer relationships.

During the session, research was conducted and found that 48 percent of businesses believe the flexibility of their subscription packages was their biggest challenge when trying to build meaningful subscriber relationships.

The opportunity such a challenge presents is to take the focus away from ‘all you can eat’ packages to more unbundled packages, which are both streamline and personalised. For example, a hybrid OTT model can offer different price packages, from paying on a pay-per-view basis to subscription video on demand. MPP Global have worked with NOW TV on just such an initiative, to offer a “skinny” TV package to suit consumer desires.

Lily Varon, Analyst at Forrester, commented on the opportunity presented: “the leaders of today are those who are customer obsessed.”

Empower Buyers in the Age of the Customer

Businesses across sectors are placing the customer at the heart of what they do. The need for this is increasing, as Ben Catterall, Consultant at MPP Global, commented: “Generation Z and Millennials are the most fickle of customers.”

Statistics reveal that 38% of this demographic would be interested in voice-activated ordering, 71% in automatic replenishment services and 73% in curated subscription offers. This reinforces why businesses must ensure their technology can deliver such an advanced level of personalisation.

“It was clear from the webinar and our work with Forrester that the market is shifting,” Catterall said. “There is a real movement from pure revenue generation objectives, to building long-lasting relationships that are ultimately more fruitful over a the customer’s lifecycle. The results of our poll, which revealed that flexibility and loyalty were the two largest challenges when building meaningful subscriber relationships, coupled with the Forrester insight point towards exciting and shifting trends in the subscription landscape.

Going Beyond Subscriptions

As Ben and Lily explored in the webinar, subscriptions are not quite the be-all and end-all – one-time sales or fixed rate subscriptions are giving way to hybrid models that blend one-time, subscriptions and usage based billing. Customer information can then be leveraged to upsell, cross-sell and offer discounts. As Lily said: “subscription business models aren’t for every company, but recurring relationships are.”

Ben Catterall is Pre-Sales Consultant at MPP Global. Catterall, along with Heath Podvesker, General Manager, North America at MPP Global, and Lily Varon, Analyst at Forrester, were webinar presenters.

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