John Sheehy

How Advantage Assists with Customer Retention and Churn

Ack! Not another industry post about customer retention and churn. (Nope, this isn’t that!) 

In the publishing industry, most “experts” will recommend your company start implementing ideas A, B, and C to reduce churn and improve retention. I’ve seen these experts say things like “Start your retention program!” So, you’re telling me that a retention strategy is to… start doing retention? And, are there 7 strategies? 22? Just 5? 

Let’s move on. 

Businesses have been trying to retain customers and prevent churn since Kongō Gumi was trying to prevent Buddhists from contracting a competitor to build the next temple. (Kongō Gumi has the distinction of being the world’s oldest business that is still around. Very cool.) So, why is this still a hot topic in 2023, over 1,400 years later? In discussions with clients and leaders in markets that AdvantageCS serves, revenue margins are thinning, revenue sources are being reduced, and competition is increasing. The focus used to be more aligned with how to keep acquiring customers, but that shifted in recent years to a more balanced approach of retaining existing customers while trying to attain new ones. Some clients have actually created entire departments focused on retention and reducing churn. 

The question of whether you should be making retention a core part of your business has already been answered (hint: the answer is yes!). The “things” you should be doing are well laid out but be careful--there is a surprisingly large variety of retention and churn reduction techniques out there that may not translate well to the publishing and/or subscription world. To get you started, we like Digiday’s take on subscriber retention, Recurly’s strategies and subscriber insights, and Zendesk’s optimism in their trends analysis. 

So, how can Advantage assist our clients and our market with retention and churn? Well, let’s look at the top “4” ways:

  1.  Information. Ultimately, when you interact with a customer you need to know who they are. You need to know their address, past purchases, current subscriptions, payment information, login information, notes on file, etc. To engage in a true conversation, your staff needs to have a full picture of who that person is within the context of your business. Advantage provides all this information, in a configurable way and all in one system. You can view high-level information at a glance or get more detailed information in a few clicks. Starting that conversation with all the information in hand is critical in making your customers feel understood. 

  2.  Flexibility. Customers might be calling to complain, just maybe. As a business, what do you need to do to retain them? What do you offer? Maybe a limited or permanent price change, content downgrade, gift, or written-off invoice. Perhaps the customer is calling for an address change and you could also offer them an upgrade since they’re a reliable customer. Or you might want to send them a gift as a thank you, effectively preempting churn. Advantage provides all these features, in a scriptable way, to give your staff all the tools they need during customer interactions. 

  3.  Room to Grow. This is like flexibility, but potentially more powerful. As clients embark on their retention strategies, they may start out by turning on three features. Then three months later, they may choose to turn on two more. Advantage supports dozens of features that can be configured at different times, allowing clients to adjust their retention strategies as they fine-tune them. And we’re always building more features that clients can adopt and deploy when the time is right. Advantage is not designed to be an all-or-nothing system but to be configurable and adaptable with an ever-increasing feature set. 

  4. Integrated Platforms. Advantage is integrated with industry-leading platforms that can play an important part in retention and churn reduction. For example, Stripe has extensive support to minimize involuntary churn. Apple Pay helps you build trust with your customers when you support industry-leading payment services.

We’re confident that Advantage can assist you in adopting many of these retention and churn ideas your company implements. And… soon, I’d like to introduce you to a 5th way that combines all these techniques! If you’ve been paying attention at all to any form of media, then you know that AI-powered applications are getting incredible hype right now...some of it warranted, some not. We are pleased to announce that AdvantageCS has been exploring this area for several years, waiting for the right opportunity that will provide the most value to our software and to our clients. We think we’ve found it and look forward to sharing that with our community this year. 

Questions about how Advantage can support your retention and churn reduction efforts? Let’s talk

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