While customer relationship management (CRM) has a reputation as an enterprise sales tool, the idea of building a large, multichannel database of prospect and customer information that can be accessed for multiple functions has a place in nearly every business, and subscription management is no exception.

Subscription management has never been more relevant. We’re seeing a major shift from a pay-per-product model to a subscription-based economy. Younger consumers prefer more product ownership flexibility, whether it’s renting designer clothing for an evening out or paying month-to-month for an “all you can watch” movie pass. While the model represents potential new revenue sources, it also requires a shift in customer support. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) membership management platforms help companies manage subscription-based customers without the IT headaches.

“The subscription economy has increased the intimacy between SaaS companies (or software vendors) and their customers,” wrote Kimberly A. Whitler for Forbes. “In the subscription economy, every company must better manage a direct, complex, responsive, multichannel relationship with its customers.”

Through the Customer Lifecycle and Across Channels

Companies attempting to “DIY” subscription management are likely missing the mark on multichannel service (meaning customers can interact with companies via phone, email, or any other channel). Customers have low tolerance for 20th century customer support problems, including having to repeat their issues to multiple support personnel.

Membership management solutions allow companies to manage and support member-customers through their entire lifecycle with an easy-to-manage flexible Web services API that can be enhanced with tools and connected with other relevant functions. Changes to a customer’s account made by an employee on a chat will immediately be visible to phone-based employees, for example.

Flexibility Means Usability

Users can build a secure framework for interacting with subscribers easily and from multiple perspectives (for billing, marketing, selling and e-commerce solutions). The database can be stratified in different ways, allowing users to drill down to a custom-filtered group result set or individual records (by product, for example, or geographic region). They can also generate filtered reporting results and export result data sets to common formats that help them understand how they’re performing.

Build Process Management into Your Subscriptions

Like with CRM, companies employing Subscription DNA can keep notes and set reminders for groups or specific users, then use these notes to stay organized. “Future action identifiers” can be set to automatically prompt action on the part of company employees or groups, with prompts broadcast to internal users or outside customers in the subscription database.

They’re Customers, Not Debit Cards

The goal of a subscription model is to retain customers and create brand loyalty, not just ensure that a card is billed once a month. This is where many organizations fail on customer service. Don’t think of the subscription approach as a revenue model alone. For the convenience of a subscription, customers expect more: faster service, friendlier live support and proactive account servicing.

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