Subscribers quit. It's a fact of doing business. Sooner or later, despite your best efforts, subscribers say, "Farewell, adieu, au revoir!"
The FTC and state attorneys general now require news publishers to make it easier to cancel. They require "simple mechanisms" to quit online or cancel recurring billing charges. Transparency, according to the FTC, is the key to growing consumer confidence by compelling brands and businesses to listen to their customers.
This week, I caught up with Pat Leader of the Spokane (Washington) Spokesman-Review. Pat is an expert in working with subscribers who intend to cancel. She shared with me how she and her team deployed and leverage the NSS Online Cancellation Intervention app to listen AND respond to subscribers who are about to cancel.
A Vision. When I first entered audience marketing, we avoided at all costs providing subscribers simple ways to cancel. That was me, 25 years ago. Today, audience executives must provide easy options. Now it is a requirement.
Pat Leader is the director of audience, consumer marketing at the Spokesman-Review. She told me that her motivation for implementing the NSS Online Cancellation Intervention app was to get ahead of any further legislation. Leader said, "We really wanted to provide our subscribers with a 'service' when they decided to cancel. We worked with NSS to build and provide our customers with a great experience."
Transparency is key. When subscribers intend to cancel, they visit the Spokesman-Review's website Spokesman.com. "We don't hide it," Leader said. "When customers intend to cancel, we prefer they have the options to begin the process without delay." The advantage that her customers enjoy is a choice of how and where to cancel; not just through the call center. Thus, a simple mechanism. "The cancellation intervention app lives on our online account management portal, next to all the other account management selections."
How well does it work? Leader told me that the NSS program is a huge win: "Our numbers show that the cancellation intervention app performs as well as my customer service department." She uses the same criteria to track both channels — pricing, save codes, stop codes and revenue saved. Doing so allows her to measure an apples-to-apples comparison. Speaking of revenue, Leader told me that NSS is saving the same proportion of revenue as her customer service team. "What makes the NSS results remarkable is that it is measured against my reps who are highly incentivized to save their stops."
Why NSS? Clearly, audience executives have options for their tech stack. Leader and her team originally considered a major software publisher for their program. However, the alternate solution had gaps. "We decided to go with NSS," Leader said. She went on to say, "The biggest thing we like is the 'little touches' provided by NSS that others seem to ignore."
The Spokesman-Review is focused on churn. Leader and her team rely on the cancellation intervention app. Spokane saves 36% of all save opportunities via the NSS app. Results differ by market; however, Leader is happy with her results.
The biggest benefit. Leader is executing her vision. She said, "Most subscribers that historically canceled wouldn't contact us. They just dropped their subscriptions. However, today they communicate with us via the NSS app. We provide a great experience and as a result, we are far more likely to save the stop."
We know that meeting subscribers where they're at makes for happy customers. Providing a strong user experience ensures full alignment. "We provide an excellent user experience," Leader said, "and the result is subscribers who do stop are more likely to come back."
Clear and conspicious. Drive sustainable subscription revenue. Power up your retention and stop-save strategies. At NSS, we implement eCommerce solutions that drive amazing results. It's not about just doing eCommerce, it's about working with a partner the does eCommerce better.
NSS is passionate about continually delivering on promises to simplify subscription marketing with a broad selection of industry-leading customer experiences at every step of the subscription lifecycle journey.
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And remember, the perfect subscription begins with the perfect retention plan.
Lon Haenel, Chief Client Officer, NSS
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