This Article Contains The Following Sections:
- Step 1: Basic Team Training
- Step 2: Acquisition Training
- Step 3: Retention Training
- Additional Best Practices
It is always helpful to train your teams on your subscription program. This will help to create excitement, ownership, and will encourage the team to make "pitching the program" part of their daily culture. Include everyone from upper management to sales associates as well as the call center teams.
Aside from training, we have found when an executive sponsor is assigned to the subscription program, it demonstrates the importance of the program to your team. A great way to deliver this message is by having your executive sponsor kick-off your training by video or in-person and share why this program is key to your business.
Below we've listed three training steps (Program Basics, Acquisition, and Retention) to help you get started! Utilize all three steps for a half-day training session or as training segments if there are time constraints that will prevent a half-day session. We have also included examples and a couple of activities to include in your sessions.
Step 1: Basic Team Training
In this segment, we want to provide the team with an interpretation of the benefits configured into your subscription program, as well as a clear understanding of the process to set up a subscriber and subscription.
- Do your subscribers receive a "Discount" on their subscriptions? If so, is it a percentage off or dollar amount off? Is the discount applied to both the initial and recurring orders? Learn More
- Is there a shipping fee on subscription shipments? If so, what is the cost to the subscriber? If not, is it always free or is there a threshold to receive free shipping? Learn More
- Are you providing subscribers the "Best Deal Guarantee," meaning they will always receive the lowest price in a specified look-back window? If so, what is your look-back window, how many days do you look back to determine the lowest price? Learn More
- Have you included some "Retention Rewards," a discount on a future order (i.e., every tenth item shipped is free)? If so, provide the details for the team. Learn More
- Do you have "Buy More Save More" built into your program? This provides a discount when the subscriber buys multiple products for a subscription. If you have this in your program, give the details. Learn More
- Are you Providing "Gift with Purchase," a free sample with their subscription shipments? If so, provide the details for the team. Learn More
- What is the process to set up a new subscriber or subscription?
- What is your process to modify a subscription? Pull up your "Subscriber Dashboard" and demonstrate how to manage, edit, and cancel a subscription. Learn More
Step 2: Acquisition Training
In this segment, we will learn the importance of sharing program benefits with the customer, examples of pitching the program to the customer, and how to handle a “no”.
Part 1: Pitching Your Subscription Program to a Customer
Why is sharing program benefits with the customer so important?
Let’s be honest, most people want to know what they are going to receive before they commit to something. By sharing a benefit, we are letting the customer know "what is in it for them". In the examples below, we let the customer know there is a $5.00 savings for them every time their subscription item ships.
- “I see this product is a consistent product for you, would you like for me to set this up on our subscription program for you and save you 10%, that’s a $5.00 savings every time we ship the item to you. How about we sign you up so you can start saving today!”
(With 2 Benefits): “We have a new subscription program, we can have this item shipped directly to you and make sure you never run out! Another great feature is a 10% discount, which is a $5.00 saving every time it ships! How about we sign you up so you can start saving today!”
We want the team to be confident in sharing benefits and 'what's in it for the customer". A great way to do this is to have them share their favorite benefit of the program (i.e. discount, shipping, gift with purchase) and tie in "what's in it for the customer". Let’s make a t-chart, have each team member take a piece a paper, draw a "t" and write their favorite program benefit and what's in it for the customer (see image below). Having the team share their responses is a great opportunity to learn from our peers and colleagues.
Note: If you have a large group, pair them into teams and have them use a flip chart for this activity.
Part 2: Overcoming Customer Objections
Hearing a "no" or an objection from the customer can be discouraging. Encourage the team to move on from the "no" and offer a solution for the objection. Remember, when a customer responds with an objection, it is an opportunity for us to provide a solution for the customer. If we do not offer a solution, the “no” is definitely going to stay a “no”.
Common Customer Objections:
- “I don’t want to commit to a subscription.“ – Remind the customer they are in complete control of their subscriptions. They can manage their subscriptions by either going online or by contacting the customer service team to have them modify, pause, or cancel at any time.
- “I’m not consistent with my products.” – Same as above
- “I like changing products.” – Same as above
- “I don’t want to give my credit card information.” – Let the customer know the system is very secure. We take every measure to ensure your personal information will not be compromised.
“My packages get stolen.” – Ask the customer if they have an alternate shipping location they could send to, such as a family member or their office, and remind them of the benefits of the subscription program.
Customer response: “No thank you, I’ve had subscriptions before and it did not work out well for me. I do not want to be obligated to a monthly subscription.”
Why would the customer give this response? Have you ever been committed to a subscription or membership program that is near impossible to cancel, modify or make changes? If so, you understand why the customer responds in this manner. That’s where you come in, educate them on how your program is different.
Store response: “I completely understand, I’ve had subscription programs that did not work out for me. One of the great features of our program; you are in control of your subscription, you can skip, pause, change the frequency, or cancel at any time by either hopping onto our website or by contacting our customer service team who can assist with making the changes for you.”
This is going to be a 2-part activity; individual and partner/team. We not only want the team to be confident when pitching the subscription program to a customer, but we also want them to be very confident in providing solutions for customers' objections. A great way to achieve this is to have them practice and role play.
Part one: Let’s do another t-chart just like we did for the benefit/what’s in it for the customer, but this time we will have them list a common objection and a solution (see example below). They can either pick an objection listed above or one not listed.
Part two: Once they have an objection and solution, partner them into teams, and have them role-play. Whatever objection they selected have them go through the steps just as if they just received that response from the customer, how would they respond.
Step 3: Retention Training
In this segment, we will learn how to retain subscriptions and look for opportunities to prevent possible churn. We want our teams not only to provide solutions when a customer is requesting to cancel but to also spot a request that could eventually lead to cancellation and provide a solution that will prevent a cancel request down the road.
If you receive a request to cancel a subscription always ask for a cancel reason and offer to assist by providing a solution.
Common subscription cancelation reasons:
- "I need to cancel my subscription, I have too much product" (#1 cancellation reason) – No worries, I’m happy to help. Before I cancel, are you aware we can delay, skip, or pause your subscription? This will allow you to get through some of your products, plus your subscription benefits will remain in place.
- "I want to cancel my subscription because I do not want to continue getting this flavor/scent of the product" – I’m happy to help today. Before I cancel, are you aware we can swap the flavor/scent for you? This way you can continue to receive the subscription benefits for your products.
- "I need to cancel my subscription, I’m having some financial issues" – I’m really to sorry to hear, I’m happy to help. Before I cancel, are you aware we can delay, skip or pause your subscription? Would it be helpful if I take care of it today?
- "I only signed up to get the discount" – I hear that all the time, the discount is a wonderful benefit of our program! Are you aware this benefit is not just on your initial order, you receive the discount on each of your recurring orders?
- "I'd like to cancel my subscription, I prefer to buy whenever I need the product" – You should be receiving an email notification before it ships, you can pause or skip if you do not need the item yet. This way, when you do need the item, you will continue to receive the benefits each time it ships. Would you still like me to cancel or would you like to continue receiving the savings?
- “I understand you need to cancel your subscription because you have too much product, we can delay, skip or pause your shipment and change the frequency to help you from getting too much in the future…”
- “I understand you want to return your subscription shipment because you have too much product, we can delay, skip or pause your shipment and change the frequency to help you from getting too much in the future…”
We hope these steps are beneficial in helping you create awareness and excitement for your subscription program. Training is a great way to invest in your team’s performance and development. When our teams excel in their jobs, it not only impacts the individual, but it impacts the company as well. Make the investment, you will not regret it!
Utilize the step training for program launch, onboarding, and a bi-annual refresher. Remember to make the training fun and engaging, if it’s fun, they’ll remember it, they’ll talk about it and they’ll do it!
Additional Best Practices
- Set clear goals and expectations for the team. If the team does not know what the goals and expectations are, chances are pretty good they will not meet or exceed the goal or expectations.
- Create ownership of the subscription program. Assign a champion of the program, someone who can ensure team involvement and execution of training and any contest to drive performance.
- Sharing results is a great way to create friendly competition and drive performance. Share subscription performance results with the teams on a weekly cadence.
- Everyone loves to get a little something extra... Implementing a contest or employee incentives can provide recognition, help increase program engagement, and help improve results.