There are few businesses who can maintain success in the long-term without ensuring that their customer base is satisfied, feels listened to, and has genuine engagement in the brand. However, if your business is part of the subscription economy, that becomes more vital than ever. You rely on recurring payments from loyal customers, so you need to ensure that they remain loyal. This is done through great services and products, yes, but how you handle your customers’ complaints, concerns, and questions is just as crucial.
Here, we’re going to look at some tips for subscription businesses and how they should handle customer feedback. The specifics of your approach may depend largely on what your business provides, but the following tips can help you find the direction you should be taking.
Be proactive about it
Your customers are members of an on-going service. As such, it’s those recurring customers that are the core of your business. Don’t focus all your outward facing attention on trying to win new customers when your existing ones could be the key to growth you need.
The feeling that they are being heard and their voice matters can play a key role in how your subscribers shape or leave their feedback. If they have channels that are promoted or led by your team to leave their initial feedback, the issue causing it will only lead to more frustration over time. By not helping them address their concerns and issues earlier, you risk letting small complaints fester into more biting criticism.
Collect continuous feedback
One way to make your subscribers feel better heard is to give them the opportunity to leave their thoughts on each month’s delivery or service. This could be a simple survey email, with an invitation for them to have a one-to-one conversation with a member of the customer service team if they have any thoughts or concerns not covered in the survey.
Leave the door open
If a customer has a complaint or a problem that should be addressed, their first inclination will be to directly get in touch. Some questions might be solved with a FAQ or strong support page, but you should always ensure that you have a clear method and standards for how customers should get in touch when they want to leave feedback or leave support. Otherwise, they may move their feedback to channels that you are less able to control.
Dealing with reviews, good and bad
When it comes to responding to feedback, your concern isn’t just going to be how you resolve criticism or offer support. You’re likely to be just as worried about the reputation management side of things. How do you deal with a good review? How do you deal with a bad one?
In most cases, the answer is the same: respond and treat them like a valued customer, regardless of what they say. If a negative review is based on pure fabrication or is clearly malicious, challenging it can sometimes set the record straight.
However, getting into a mud-slinging match over some legitimate criticism, even if it’s not entirely reasonable, is an easy way to spread negative word of mouth. No-one is going to come out looking on top.
Instead, the best way to mitigate any potential damage done by the brand is to publicly respond, apologizing for any difficulty or disappointment that the subscriber felt. Then you offer to lend them more direct support in a private channel, such as in a chat with a member of your customer support team.
Stay professional and cool, listen to what the complaint is and acknowledge it directly, but privately getting the facts you need to offer a solution.
Dealing with a positive review is more gratifying, and much easier. However, there are still plenty of business owners who neglect to do it. Simply respond, thanking your subscriber for their support, as well as their kind comments. Responding to their specific comment will generate a much more positive engagement amongst the community, but even taking the time to be a little more generic in your thanks can still make your subscriber feel seen. Don’t take it for granted that they’re leaving positive feedback.
Pay attention to trends
You’re going to get people who aren’t happy for your service for any reason you can imagine. Everyone has their own standards, and they’re not always reasonable or logical. However, whatever their reason for leaving feedback, you should take a note of it.
Modern subscription billing software and managing tools allow you to keep detailed records on every customer. You can log every interaction, every call, and note down any feedback they’ve left. This makes it a lot easier to compile feedback over the past quarter to see what the common issues affecting your customer base is.
While you should do what you can to address every subscriber’s feedback individually, knowing which will require further, systematic action across the company means gathering the data on which issues are truly most prevalent. As such, using customer relationship management tools and feedback gathering tools can help you isolate those issues affecting major parts of your customer base.
Show your work
Feedback offers an opportunity not only to address customer concerns and to implement changes that improve your business. It also offers the chance to improve your reputation by publicly showing how you’re implementing those changes and why.
Using customer complaints or concerns as a case study allows you to publicly bring the attention of your subscribers to the fact that they are clearly being listened to and that their complaints are being taken seriously, to the point that you are willing to make major changes following them. Not only is it using feedback the way it’s supposed to, but it’s being seen for the responsive and engaged subscription business you are.
Don’t fear the feedback
The important fact here is that feedback, good or bad, can all be used to the benefit of your business. The important thing is that you start collecting it, start analysing it, and start using it.