There's an essential step in the journey between customer acquisition and retention when a person decides whether or not they want to continue using a product or service. Maybe they purchased a full month on a subscription billing model, or they possibly used a free trial. Regardless of the situation, the customer has to decide whether his or her money is worth the product at hand.
Think about meeting someone for the first time. Just as a bad first impression ruins a relationship between people, it convinces customers to stop working with a business. This makes the first impression a very crucial moment in the sales cycle and shows how experience transforms a new customer into a recurring one. If users are unsatisfied with a product or service after the first billing cycle, they'll most likely cancel their subscription. Thus, it's important for companies to make sure all aspects of their business support the customer experience and increase their satisfaction. Below are a few ways to use experience to support acquisition and retention:
Make sure everything is ready to go
In this instance, the word everything means more than the product itself. You need a top-notch sales team in place, a solid marketing strategy ready to go and a guaranteed billing system up and running. A subscription billing service helps in the latter aspect by taking care of the process while offering a variety of payment models and minimizing customer barriers.
Business2Community noted that the technology sector often launches a product before it's ready to go. Things look solid, but the launch date arrives and customers are inundated with bugs and errors. It's not unexpected for a new service to have a few issues, but the problem arises when there's no customer support or help desk in place. Thus, people with the technology are stuck without a way to solve their problem. By having customer support ready to go, businesses can nip bad customer experiences in the bud and convert them to positive ones.
Having all aspects of the customer's journey – marketing, sales, billing and support – perfected from the outset establishes a solid customer experience before your product even launches.
"Most customers won't know how to use a new product without some sort of guide."
Guide new customers through the process
Technology isn't straightforward, and most customers won't know how to use a new product without some sort of guide. Customers need direction through the initial purchase, set-up and billing processes to understand how things work. As Smashing Magazine noted, leaving customers stranded to figure things out on their own decreases satisfaction and increases the likelihood that they won't give the product another try. At the same time, this process shouldn't take so long that the customer gets bored and leaves in frustration, unable to access the service as soon as they want to.
A great way to understand how this works is to consider tutorials in mobile applications. The best ones seamlessly blend the user's expectations with new information, instructing people on how to use the app without taking too long and presuming what they do and don't know.
Customers don't like friction. That's why automatic recurring billing models are so effective. Customers get to enjoy a service without having to do anything to pay for it – the charges occur automatically.
The same is true for any aspect of the customer experience. When new users easily sign up for a product, they want that ease of use to continue throughout the duration of their subscription. They should be able to easily contact your business, update their payment information, upgrade to a better service and more. If they try these things for the first time and encounter difficulty, their satisfaction lowers and they become more inclined to use a competitor's product.
A new customer doesn't always mean a returning one. After the initial sale is made, your business must immediately convert that person to a subscriber by providing an excellent experience. Once users see how positively your business structures the customer experience from the start, they're more likely to stick around and continue using your product.