Computing used to be neatly bundled up in products that you could buy; today it’s increasingly being sold as a service. Computation, software, access to data and storage are all being sold as services where the consumer doesn’t physically own the being used, or where it is actually located.
The global consumer community has adopted this concept in a big way. It’s predicted that the worldwide cloud computing market will grow in value from $ 40.7 billion in 2011 to $ 241 billion in 2020.
This means that a lot of businesses that operated around selling are now switching to models that hinge on subscriptions. A prime example is movie viewing, which has moved from a model where people exclusively paid to view a movie in a theater to video rentals and now a steady switch to subscribing to services that offer online streaming of desired content.
This operational paradigm shift completely transforms the way you interact with customers. You’re not focusing on increasing repeat purchases anymore. Instead you’re trying to prolong and optimize an ongoing relationship with recurring revenue. The emphasis has shifted to finding ways to prevent customers from cancelling their subscriptions.
Companies that offer cloud services have to deal with major new factors in their customer strategy. Here are a couple of examples:-
- It’s easier for the customer to opt out- Customers do not buy a physical product, and don’t have to try and make the best of a substantial physical investment. They simply pay as they go along, and can easily discontinue their subscription at any point. This means you have to work harder to understand customer needs and analyze behavior, coming up with ways to optimize renewal rates.
- You need robust information management systems- Sales managers for cloud based businesses will deal with many more customers, and it can be hard to keep an eye on the data flowing from each individual customer. This means that the organization needs robust systems to capture and analyze data, providing sales personnel with key business intelligence on a regular basis.
To make the best of this shift, companies need to find ways to listen to the customers’ voice and let customer feedback act as a source for optimizing processes and offerings on an ongoing basis. Successfully retaining a subscriber needs a long-term mindset and a deeper commitment than ever to keeping your finger on your customers’ pulse.