The impact of COVID-19 on subscriber behavior has been drastic. Lockdowns and restrictions expedited the shift from purchases in brick-and-mortar stores to ecommerce–changing every aspect of the customer experience, especially in the subscription business. While some have seen a positive impact, others have faced more challenges than opportunities, forcing them to revamp their loyalty-building strategies.

What subscribers want

Shoppers experience your product or service through every interaction with your brand’s touchpoints. As we enter the endemic phase of COVID-19, it’s clear that the pandemic has brought new expectations for successful customer experiences.

Online platforms play a significant role in customer success, along with the need to empathize and be human-centric. The ability to provide relevant, timely information with intuitive guidance is key to conquering the next normal. 

How to design a customer experience in a new world

COVID-19 forced companies of all industries and sizes to reinvent themselves in response to the rapidly changing landscape. These innovations transformed customer perceptions and how experiences are managed and delivered.

Focus on the following five tactics to build a winning post-pandemic customer experience strategy that includes plan and payment flexibility, subscription customization, shopping convenience, personalized communication, and fraud-protected purchases. 

1. Stay flexible

These past two years have demonstrated that adaptability is essential for survival. Subscribers not only expect but prefer the flexibility that digital businesses promise. Every customer is different, and you must accommodate your offering to all possible scenarios:

  • Architect a pricing strategy that lets subscribers pick the right plan based on quantity, usage, or hybrid billing models. 

  • Configure trials for unsure customers who want to try your product before subscribing–this has proven to boost your conversion rate up to 60%.

  • Enable a pause or postpone subscription option for customers who need to suspend your service temporarily.

2. Allow customizations

Following flexibility, plan personalization and length is crucial for a successful customer experience. Offering monthly, quarterly, and annual subscriptions help your team secure recurring revenue, while seat expansion and add-ons let subscribers build a customized plan according to their needs.

3. Prioritize convenience

This pandemic pushed some customers to technology for the first time, and for many others, digital channels are now everyday essentials.

From retail to SaaS services, online shopping experiences are evolving and becoming more streamlined than ever. Customers appreciate the convenience of frictionless payments, and offering alternative payment methods like PayPal or Apple Pay can increase your lifetime revenue. 

Don’t let payment difficulties cause subscriber churn. Recurly seamlessly integrates with more than 20 payment gateways to build a smooth checkout and scale your business globally.

4. Show that you care

Looking very different from the pre-pandemic strategy, customer experiences focus less on sales and more on delivering value.

Attracting, acquiring, and retaining subscribers is easier when you engage through personalized communications–and it’s all at your fingertips with Recurly. Create tailored promotions by configuring coupons and discounts for special deals, or let your customers gift subscriptions to their friends and family.

Subscribers now seek support, rewarding experiences, and confidence. Brands that fulfill these demands are establishing stronger long-term relationships. 

5. Offer a secure experience

As the world migrated to digital channels, both businesses and customers faced cybersecurity challenges. Deloitte reported a 35% increase in cyberattacks, and those caught off-guard have suffered the consequences. 

Now that subscribers rely more on technology, your business needs to ensure the safety of its data. Continuously analyzing the security landscape of your site will help you identify and manage current security cyber threats effectively.

On the other hand, it’s crucial to invest in fraud management tools that automate and protect revenue. Recurly teams up with Kount to minimize chargebacks, avoid ecommerce fraud, and prevent unauthorized account creation.

Be a step ahead on subscription experience

The increase in digital means that subscription brands have access to more rich, dynamic insights. Data analysis should aim to anticipate and predict your customer value and sentiment to design a successful customer experience strategy. 

The pandemic has broadened the opportunities to build better connections and strengthen your subscribers’ loyalty–regardless of location, language, and digital expertise. In fact, focusing on customer experience during stressful economic conditions, like the pandemic is, shows that companies that invested in redefining their customer experience received 3x higher returns

Succeeding in the new normal goes beyond the “set it and forget it” idea. Your business must connect through experiences that promise more than transactional benefits.