Reworking Subscriptions

I subscribed for magazines in school. Our newspapers were on subscription ever since I recall. So was our cable connection. Today, every other website service and business has a subscription option.

Of course, the recurring sales is tempting. Remaining in the clients head for an elongated period introduces brand awareness and if handled correctly, even brand loyalty!

The subscription system can work on various patterns of offering the service:

  • Subscription for basic access: Your BSNL landline plans

  • Pay-as-you-go model: Recall metro-cards or bus-pass!

  • Subscription for fixed services: a magazine or a newspaper

  • Unlimited Subscription

And that is where, enters, complexity!

It goes without saying that the idea of subscriptions has successfully prevailed. And that majorly because the idea was powerful. Both the vendor and the user gets the benefit. My vendor receives timely payment and I am assured of the constant service. This is a kind of relationship any business wishes to have.

The schemes a company provides to its users if they chose to subscribe have been effective. However, the services providing subscriptions are becoming reticenting  in coming up with new offers. May be, due to the commonplace usage,  businesses are forgetting the reason behind starting with subscriptions. As a result they are losing the subscription edge!

As a quick check,  ask yourself these questions:

1. Am I able to rely on the subscription revenue as a given and concentrate on developing new business instead of getting complacent with the existing subscribers?

2. Am I able to retain my subscribers? For how long? Does the period suffice?

3. How many resources am I investing in running the subscription schemes? (think in terms of agents to collect subscription fees or deliver the service, irregularity in payments, informing existing subscribers about a new service or offer)

4. Can I make more money out of the same model? How? (think in terms of launching renewed offers on festivals, recognizing continued customer loyalty, making the subscription system lean)

While these are subjective questions, our study shows that a major gap between the subscribers and the service is the inability to communicate ‘promptly’. This manifests in the payment reminders, ensuring re-subscription, spreading a word on latest schemes and even in something as simple as acknowledging the subscribers for their loyalty.

To address this issue, companies are adopting Automated Subscription Services. These tools provide for auto intimation calls for issues like payment reminder, new offers and taking re-subscription requests. It reduce the follow-up efforts and handles subscription maintenance chores through a simple automated tool.

CODAC is one such service in India. It is enabling its partners to create a steady flow of clients by ensuring timely reminders to the subscribers. “It reduces the work burden and cost to the company.” claims Anand Bazaar Patrika, Kolkata.

The onus of taking the complete advantage of subscriptions lies in the hands of the company. CODAC supports the idea and promises to do its ‘bit’. Increasing subscriptions by 40% in an year, attributable to CODAC, is quite a ‘bit’ I would say! What do you think?

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