Give Your Subscribers a Truly Tailored Experience and Watch Retention Rates Rise

By Thomas DiNatale
December 17, 2021

A lot of effort goes into understanding your potential customers and creating a product that will entice new users. You need to know what makes your target audience tick to design a truly valuable product.

But what about researching existing users? The subscribers you worked hard to capture in the first place need an experience that entices them to stay and never even think about canceling. From their self-service account management experience to customer experience conversations, you want to be two steps ahead of their needs.

Growth isn’t possible without retention. Retention only happens when you understand your existing users’ needs — and meet them again and again.

Why Existing User Research is Essential for a Strong Subscription Product

Of course you care about providing an excellent experience, one that meets your users’ needs and motivates them to keep coming back. That’s why you track so many OKRs — so you can tell what you’re doing right or what you need to work on. 

While qualitative research is key in designing a great product from the ground up, it’s also useful to find out more about existing customers. And that’s because people’s needs change.

Your subscribers may have one specific need when they subscribe to your product. But over time, that need might change. Tailoring their experience to mirror their shifting needs can be the difference between them sharing a testimonial on their Instagram stories or hitting the ‘Cancel Subscription’ button. 

Of course, a subscriber’s needs may not be the only things that change. Their motivation for using your product may evolve, and so too may their behavior around it. 

For example, if your product is a food subscription service, perhaps they signed up as a pescatarian. After a few months of pescatarian dishes and recipes, they may want to explore vegetarianism. How are you going to offer your vegetarian products and recipes if you don’t know about this shift?

It’s easy to see that customer satisfaction can dip if their needs, motivations, and behaviors change and the product they’re using doesn’t continually meet them where they are. No one wants to see a new hamburger product offering when they’ve never liked ground beef to begin with. 

Not knowing your customer turns them off. Luckily, there are easy ways to learn more about them.

Pop Quiz! Who Doesn’t Like a Personalized Product Experience?

Ok, trick question. Everyone likes a personalized experience. But you’re no mind reader. So how do you know exactly what to offer your customer once they’ve signed up for your product or service? 

Easy. Quiz them.

Early in your subscriber’s journey, introduce quizzes to get to know them better. You’ll be able to get an inside look at their wants and needs and likes and dislikes. Not only does this make for a creative and engaging UI, it also gives you insight into who this unique customer is. Then, you can target them with the just-right messaging, products, or services they’re most likely to consider. 

Quizzes can:

  • Narrow down browsing options and help a customer find what they’re looking for faster. 
  • Show you how to segment that customer into certain email or SMS campaigns. 
  • Tell you if you need to change the frequency of delivery. 
  • Inform you about other behaviors, interests, or goals they have to influence broader or longer term product decisions. 

Gainful, a personalized supplement service, asks their customers if they’ve gained or lost weight in the last 6 months and about their eating habits and goals. From there, they recommend a product that will help their user meet their goals. As they added more products, they asked additional questions to build on their customer profile and strategically deliver personalized products.

So, true or false? Learning more about each unique subscriber can result in much higher customer satisfaction. (True)

Don’t Skip Follow-up Questions on Product Ratings

Uh oh. Your customer wasn’t jazzed about the product they just bought, hence the three star rating. Instead of assuming you know why, dig in and find out why by asking detailed follow-up questions. 

Not asking a follow-up question after a product rating is selling yourself short on getting good feedback. Plus, it gives off the impression that you aren’t interested in improvement. And we know that’s not true!

Face it, “Like”, “OK”, or “Dislike” doesn’t really tell you a whole lot. That one word can have a whole story behind it. Find out by asking specific questions that give you a better picture. What are you trying to learn about their experience with your product? 

For example, a food subscription service could learn more about their customers’ taste profiles. Did the customer like the product because it was spicy? Or dislike it because it was too salty? 

The more you learn about your customer’s experiences through their stories, the more you can offer them a product they’re likely to love.

Allow Subscribers to Save Products and Content for Better Insights

If you haven’t gathered yet, getting the full story of a customer’s experience is key to getting personal. Another way to help you fill in the details is to allow subscribers to save products and content in their profile. Then, find out why. 

Purchase history alone can’t tell you everything about your subscriber. You need to look at what they’re browsing for, what other offerings they might be interested in, and why. That way, you can better understand their motivations behind purchasing (or not…and why not).

Think about it this way. If you’re a clean beauty subscription service, you see a few different shades of lipstick in a subscriber’s profile. Maybe they’re saving them for a big event. If you reach out and ask them, you can suggest eyeshadow that pairs well with certain lipstick shades — and a makeup tutorial to boot. Talk about service! 

Not only does learning about a subscriber’s needs and interests rack up get-to-know-you points, but it also makes a user feel valued. It can give them the warm, fuzzy feeling that keeps them loyal. 

Subscribers’ Needs Change. Give Them a Chance to Tell You Through Their Profile.

If a customer has been with you long enough, chances are their needs and behaviors are different from when they first signed up. Giving them a profile where they can access their information, correct past quiz answers, update information and see their purchase history can help them help you.

In our work with ButcherBox, we created an account experience that clearly shows the member when their next box is coming, and what’s in it. If they originally checked “Your Choice Custom Box” in their initial quiz and after a few boxes decided they want ButcherBox to select cuts for them, they can go in and change it at any time. A sub-navigation provides members a clear path to manage box settings, change delivery date and frequency, update box size and view previous purchases.

That easy-to-navigate account experience is partly why the ButcherBox CX team has seen fewer calls. There’s less friction for the customer to get exactly what they’re looking for, by updating their own information. 

Cancellation rates are no match for a product that feels personal to its customers. No matter where they are in their journey with you, there’s always a chance to learn more about the person on the other side of the screen — and produce a valuable product that has their name written all over it. 

Whether you need a boost in gathering quality user research or want to run a user experience audit, we’re here to help