The 7 Step Plan to Improve Your Subscription Renewals

MPP Global Friday, 03 May 2019

What You’ll Learn:

How you can use eSuite to transform your churn rate and avoid spending time and money trying to replace subscribers.

For any subscription business, one of the main challenges is ensuring that your customers renew instead of churning. This is why Retention & Recovery is a key aspect of the service MPP Global provides for our clients and is an area we are constantly reviewing and updating to ensure their retention rates are industry-leading.

So, what can you do to cut down on the amount of time and money you are currently spending on replacing lost subscribers? First, we need to remind ourselves why they churn.

The Reasons Why People Unsubscribe

We group the reasons why you lose subscribers into two categories, which are as follows:

  • Voluntary churn – This is the type of unsubscribing activity that might seem like the hardest to avoid because it comes when a customer decides that they have had enough of your service. It could be that they’ve had issues with it, not using it enough, can’t afford it anymore or they’ve just become bored with it. However, as we’ll explain shortly, not all is lost yet.
  • Involuntary churn – You might expect the voluntary unsubscribes to make up the bulk of the people you lose each month, but we’ve found that it’s actually those who churn accidentally. This can be because they don’t have the balance in their account to pay when the transaction is processed, or because their card has expired and they haven’t provided the updated details. Without the right processes in place, you can lose customers permanently because of these issues.

Of course, if somebody is set on leaving your service, they will do, but too many businesses are still losing subscribers unnecessarily. Part of what makes eSuite the world’s smartest subscriber management and billing platform is our dedication to retention services, and we’ve distilled our knowledge into this plan to improve your subscription renewals rate.

The 7 Step Renewals Plan

Dynamic Offboarding

As mentioned above, there will always be people who decide to leave your subscription service for whatever reason, and it’s not possible to persuade them all to change their mind and stay, but nor should you waste your opportunity to try.

Several of our clients have systems in place where a customer’s request to unsubscribe results in them being asked why they want to leave. If they say it’s because the service is too expensive, there’ll be a call to our API to create an offer that gives the customer the chance to, for example save 50% over the next six months, etc.

Subscription Holidays

The ability to offer customers a subscription holiday is a great way to prevent people from leaving for purely financial reasons. Within eSuite you can configure how these holidays work to give yourself and the customer more control over their subscription to ensure that they don’t need to end it prematurely.

You’ll temporarily lose their revenue while they’re on the holiday, but that is still better than losing it altogether.

Card Updater

Based on our experiences with clients, every year you can expect around a third of the cards in your system to expire and this could mean losing a customer through involuntary churn. For one of our clients, it averages around 500 card expiries a month, and in the past this meant a job for its customer service team to make calls to each of those customers to get the updated details.

However, our card updater service not only provides you with a card expiry report to show when cards will be expiring, but also automatically contacts the Visa Account Updater and Mastercard Automatic Billing Updater to update the details within your customer’s payment wallet.

The benefit for them is that they receive a seamless service without any manual updating on their part, while the client is now averaging just 25-50 customer service calls needed each month instead of 500. What could you do with all that saved time?

Predictive Churn Algorithms

Our predictive subscription churn functionality helps you to identify high risk subscribers who are likely to churn, enabling you to better understand who to target with marketing campaigns to re-engage before you lose them.

Machine learning techniques are used to process active and historical subscription data to provide a churn risk probability for each subscriber, with a precision rate of between 85% and 98%.

With this kind of predictive power available at your fingertips, you can ensure you’ve done all you can to convince subscribers not to churn voluntarily.

Suppression Windows

Part of our work in Retention & Recovery is digging down into the data to find out when and why transactions get declined. Even if the explanation is the simplest one – there isn’t enough money in the account to make the payment – there are still steps you can take to avoid this situation happening.

From the data, you can see when the most failed transactions occur, which tends to be just before the common payday dates in the middle and at the end of each month. It’s also possible to look at the data to see which times of day are the least likely to result in a successful transaction, which is generally any time around midnight, when most banks go into a cycle of maintenance activities, with balances generally refreshed around 6am.

Attempting to take money out during these times can result in a failure, even if the account has the money there to make the payment.

By putting in place suppression windows in eSuite, you can set times when you know your transactions are less likely to go through and block them out, thus improving your subscription renewal rate.

Retry Rules

After an unsuccessful attempt at a transaction, what happens next in your current set-up? In many cases, there will be another attempt to get the money a day later at the same time, but what if the same problem happens again because it is still being attempted at an unsuitable time?

That might be it and the subscription comes to an end, meaning they lose access to your services and you lose a customer. But it doesn’t have to work like that.

Just as our suppression windows can block out times when the payment isn’t likely to succeed, our multi-layered retry rules can be set up to try again at varying times of day to maximize the likelihood of the payment succeeding.

Self-Care Platform

Putting more control in the hands of your subscribers makes them happier customers. Today, we’re all used to managing almost every aspect of our lives online, so we don’t want to have to call up customer service and endure the gauntlet of multiple choice questions and hold music.

Our self-care platform gives your customers access to what they need to manage their own accounts the way they want, including when it comes to billing and ensuring that their card details are up to date. If they want to carry on receiving your services, let them sort these things out themselves.


All of these steps will help you avoid losing subscribers through churning, which keeps your business from having to spend extra money and devote additional resources to trying to replace them with new subscribers. It also helps your customers stay connected to the service they love, which makes them happy too. At MPP Global, we’re always looking to improve retention rates for our clients, so if you want to learn more about what we can do, get in touch with our specialists in the publishing, sports and OTT sectors.

Find out more with our Guide to Recurring Payments