3 Ways to Rethink Customer Service in the Subscription Economy

Posted by Mark Beattie, HGS UK Director, EMEA Business Development

It’s the rise of the subscription economy. What started with newspapers and magazines has now evolved to real-time, contextual, and personalized product ownership experiences. Think Stitch Fix, Blue Apron, and Zipcar. Customers are buying differently these days. And that means evolving customer service to reflect the changing drivers and outcomes.



A recent study by MGI Research suggests that the subscription economy could exceed $100 billion by 2020. What does this booming subscription economy mean for customer experience? The growth of the subscription economy is forcing retailers to rethink and redefine how they engage with their customers in these critical ways:

  • Customer relationship/preferences—Developing and maintaining a close relationship with the customer over time is at the heart of the subscription economy. Rather than a one-off transaction, customers want a personalised experience and to feel valued at all stages of their engagement with a retailer. Retailers must harness a holistic view of the customer across all stages of the subscription life cycle to develop a close relationship and drive regular purchase. For a car-sharing client, HGS, as part of the Member Viability effort, researches and reports member complaints, and helps the client retain clients who positively affect member experience and the brand. The program has consistently attained a save rate of 40% or higher, exceeding the client’s goal and salvaging millions in annual revenue.
  • Customer context—In the subscription economy, retailers must really understand their customers to offer a personalised experience. This means viewing customers as individuals – understanding them based on their tastes, preferences and attributes, not simply on their past purchases. For example, Stitch Fix (a personal styling company) sends customers personalised subscription boxes, and they build an individual view of their customers based on a style quiz.
  • Customer experience—The subscription economy highlights the continued importance of enhancing the customer experience. Central to the success of leading subscription companies is offering customers a wide variety of convenient and easily accessible products and services. Rapid advancements in mobile technology and intuitive apps are making sure these subscription services become an effortless, natural extension to everyday life. For example, HelloFresh customers can effortlessly order from a range of Jamie Oliver meal kits through their app and get them delivered direct to their doors.

Since 2014, HGS has provided direct-to-consumer and B2B support of a high-profile nutrition product for a leading provider of fitness, nutrition, and weight-loss programs. HGS also supports the on--demand video business line and also formed a customer service team, to further bolster this company’s vibrant retention and champion CX, with winning results such as:

  • For a fitness product company, HGS achieved a 34% save the sale rate.
  • For a major car sharing client partner, HGS achieved a 40% improvement in retention.

HGS direct sales channel support allows CPG companies to take full ownership of brand relationship, for enhanced insight around the customer journey and optimized customer experience (CX).