The only way a business can stay ahead of their competition is by constantly changing and adapting the way they think and plan strategies. For example, the on-demand economy has forced companies to review their accessibility to consumers. Now, we are entering yet another economic sphere – the subscription economy.

Adrian Zanetti, managing director of NEXT Solutions, says that “it’s moving away from placing the product at the centre of the business plan, and rather focussing on the transaction; it’s about perfecting customer relations”.

More and more people are re-evaluating their consumerist behaviour, moving away from owning products and focussing more on the relationship they have with a company. “Consumers are craving flexibility with regard to the products they receive, such as My Chocolate Box (a box filled with new chocolate products every month), and when to use it, such as GetMore (Cell C’s customer benefits programme),” Zanetti continues.

In addition, users are demanding an array of payment methods for these subscription programmes, for instance, pay as you go, a monthly subscription fee or a long-term contract. “Offering subscribers a choice and flexibility in how they pay, gives them more control over the products to which they subscribe,” says Zanetti.

Focus should also be placed on customer relationships and ensuring they are consistent, engaging and personal across multiple channels. By conducting extensive research into the specific target market, agents fully understand how to interact with clients, ensuring the ultimate subscriber experience and establishing long-term relationships. “It’s important to note that not only should attention be paid to the preferred subscriber communication channel, but also to the tonality of the conversation. The days of a one-size-fits-all approach are over,” Zanetti adds.

Moreover, companies need to adjust their structures, culture and processes to put the consumer first. To create a successful business plan, they have to understand the limits of both their own and their clients’ capabilities. They should have an accurate indication of how they’ll address, acquire, retain the revenue per person. According to Zanetti businesses should work through all available data to understand the needs of their subscribers as best they can. If too much focus is placed on the product, businesses tend to upsell subscription without considering their customer’s needs or wants, which can lead to them, ultimately, losing subscribers.

“This is an exciting time. Just as the on-demand economy has forced companies to review their availability and user experience, just so the subscription economy is demanding ease, flexibility and improved customer relationships.” Adrian Zanetti

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