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March 18, 2021 | Authored by: Jesus Luzardo

Trust: The most important element of a successful subscription model

When a customer hands over their credit card to a merchant, there is much more going on than just a business transaction.

At a glance, it looks simple. The business offers a product or service that the customer wants, and both the timing and price are right. So the decision to purchase is made.

Like every human interaction, though, the key driver is emotion. According to Harvard research, emotion is behind all decision-making, and 95% of purchase decisions are subconscious.

Add in a global pandemic, which has brought huge changes to consumer shopping habits, and it seems that all bets are off about how to build and grow reliable revenue streams.

That’s why business owners find themselves in the midst of what everyone is calling the “new normal,” but no one is quite sure what that really looks like. As analysts sift through the data and try to predict what customers will do next, there is one constant that is critical to every purchase decision and every business-customer relationship. And no pandemic can ever change it.

That one critical element is trust.

A building block of human interaction

Trust is a big word. The ability to trust is the basis of any healthy personality, and a strong sense of trust is the foundation of every healthy relationship.

In consumer retail, being able to trust a brand is known to be one of the most important factors in building brand loyalty and customer retention. Eight out of 10 consumers say that being able to trust a brand is a “deciding factor” in purchase decisions. After all, if a business can’t be trusted, why on earth would any customer open their wallets? And for subscription companies, the question is even bigger: what does it take to get customers to trust enough that they are willing to open their wallets automatically and continually, every week or month?

Consumer trust and subscriptions: The long game

When a customer subscribes to a product or service, they have no choice but to trust the company every single day. They must trust the company to accurately charge their credit card on a recurring basis. They have to trust that they will receive what they are paying for, without any hassles or issues. They must trust that they will enjoy their subscription, that it will satisfy their needs, and be worth their financial and emotional investment. Trust goes way beyond the transaction; it’s the key sentiment supporting a continued positive emotional connection between the customer and the brand.

Let’s break down what trust really means for a subscription-based consumer relationship:

  • Ease and comfort: Customers rely on subscription services to be a part of their daily lives, always there when they need it. Subscriptions must create a sense of comfort and contentment.
  • Enriching, not exhausting: Subscriptions must enhance the customer’s life and enrich it with value and meaning. Subscriptions should not demand undue energy or effort.
  • Meets expectations: A trustworthy subscription company lives up to the customer’s expectations, every day, every week, every month. The customer receives exactly what they expect, no less.
  • Safe and hassle-free: On a recurring model, customers want to trust that they won’t have to deal with the same old problems every time. They want a safe, secure experience they can rely on, free of problems that waste their precious time, energy, and money.
  • Personalized experience: Customers are looking for subscriptions that fulfill their personal needs and desires, whether through individualized recommendations, bundles, prices or offers based on their interests and usage patterns.
  • Frictionless and seamless: Customers won’t tolerate friction at any stage of the subscription relationship, from the sign up to payment, bundle selection, access to the product or service, customer support, subscription pauses and cancellations, refunds, and more. All subscription experiences should be smooth, enjoyable, and seamless.

It’s about relationships, not just revenue

Trust is the new benchmark dictating the ability of businesses to rebuild relationships with customers in a post-pandemic world. And trust is at the heart of a successful subscription model, too.

In an uncertain marketplace, merchants are reinventing themselves and adopting the subscription model precisely because it is about building relationships, not just revenue.

When a subscription company can provide a safe, seamless, reliable, comfortable, and comforting experience for its customers every day, that builds trust.

And when a customer hands over their credit card to a subscription business to charge automatically every month, this is only because they trust.

How can your company offer better subscription experiences that build trust and inspire customers to sign up? What can you do to identify customer needs, add value, and manage long-term relationships that lead to ongoing revenue and scale? These are the pressing questions of our time.

About Author

Jesus Luzardo

Jesus Luzardo

Jesus Luzardo is Vice President, Head of Growth at Vindicia. As an international technology industry veteran, Jesus brings over 30 years of experience in commercial, marketing, strategy, operations and technology roles. Prior to Vindicia, Jesus was Head of Marketing for Amdocs in the Caribbean and Latin America region, driving marketing to significantly expand Amdocs’ sales pipeline. Before Amdocs, he was Head of Sales for Utiba (acquired by Amdocs in 2014), focusing on mobile financial services. His experience includes two years as Head of Corporate/B2B and CCO at Cable & Wireless, and 15 years with Motorola. He lives by Vince Lombardi’s motto: “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” Jesus holds an MBA from Universidad del Zulia (Venezuela), a B.S. in Electronic Engineering from Universidad Rafael Urdaneta (Venezuela), and Advanced Management certifications from Kellogg Institute of Management and IESE (Universidad de Navarra, Spain).