Innovate42: Our vision for subscriptions
After six months working on Innovate42, we wanted to share our broader vision and what we’ve been working on. But before that, a bit about us.
Customer experience first
Daniel and I met in November 2016, after working at subscription SaaS leaders, Zuora and GoCardless. When we met, we quickly noticed we deeply cared about one thing: creating better experiences for customers. We knew subscriptions were particularly complex and decided to focus there.
The $100 billion opportunity
U.K. and U.S. businesses are respectively losing an estimated £37 billion and $62 billion per year due to poor customer service. For subscription businesses, this has a direct impact on the bottom line: 68% of customers will churn due to impersonal, disjointed experiences. Hence, if the subscription economy is going to continue to grow at 9x the rate of traditional product businesses, it’s going to need new tools to improve the subscriber experience and start seriously tackling churn.
It’s only getting worse
Subscriptions are complex and they only get more complicated over time. There can be subscriptions offers for acquisition, renewal, retention, cross-sells, up-sells. Some subscription offers last three days, others ten years. Some include physical deliveries, others digital entitlements, and many include both. Some offers are global, others vary per country. They can be bundled with other products. A subscriber can be an individual, a family, a school, a company — and switch between these. They can downgrade, upgrade, consume more or pause usage. They can subscribe online, in-app, on the phone or through multiple partners. They can use a coupon seen on the tube or come through a referral. As subscription businesses mature, they typically end up with 100,000s of offers, 1000s of subscriber interactions per day and dozens of distribution channels.
While the most immediate needs of subscription businesses (bill accurately, get paid regularly, track metrics) have been met by the likes of Zuora, GoCardless, and ChartMogul, we found that marketing team and customer service teams in subscription businesses don’t currently have the necessary tools to delight subscribers and tackle churn. As a consequence, businesses rely on generic marketing emails to retain subscribers while sitting on a pile of unexploited data. Worse, some retention tactics have led to customer backlash against subscriptions.
Let’s make it personal
To delight subscribers and reduce churn, the subscriber experience must be unified and personal. Marketers must be able to flexibly create a vast array of subscription offers, suggest them at the right time in the subscription lifecycle and report on campaign success with no IT involvement. Customer Service must be able to see the customer history, help with any subscription changes and, when relevant, suggest timely, personalised offers. And subscribers must always be able to self-service across the whole journey, and, at critical moments such as a cancellation or renewal, receive offers that are relevant and personal.
An integrated platform from day one
Radically improving the subscriber experience and reducing churn is a cross-team effort that requires a way to make sense of huge amount of subscriber data. Another SaaS app won’t do — it must be built as an integrated platform.
That is why we’re building a subscriber experience platform entirely native to Salesforce, with an architecture that can fit any billing, entitlement or payment system. We believe there’s no better place than Salesforce, where the customer data sits, and where agents and marketers work. We also believe that Salesforce’s platform and machine learning capabilities are uniquely suited to enabling our vision of end-to-end, personal subscriber experiences. Finally, the Salesforce AppExchange let our users implement at high velocity.
We’re six months old but our platform is already in use by a leading global media company and we will launch in the coming months on the Salesforce AppExchange. However, if you’re interested to have a look or get access beforehand, do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.