TV subscription brands ‘must take blame’ for churn | Media Analysis | Business
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A stinging report from Singula Decisions has concluded that in these days of falling customer numbers, TV subscription brands are their own worst enemy when it comes to losing customers, with loyal subscribers to TV brands  feeling rejected and ignored by brands that seemingly show favouritism to new customers.
singula 11Oct2020
The study is the third in the Psychology of a Subscriber research series released in 2020. The series has investigated what makes each individual subscriber tick and responding appropriately – from the moment they join, through the power struggle over billing, and even the pain of cancellation. This is said to be essential to the long-term strategy of reducing churn and building positive, long-term relationships with subscribers and the series has to date highlighted the need for brands to do more to listen, understand, and engage with customers throughout the entire journey.

The latest report found fundamentally that while brands obsess about the problem of churn they only have themselves to blame for customers cancelling their subscriptions. In addition to existing customer’s perceived negative treatment compared with new sign ups, the study also revealed that brands often avoid customer communication completely for fear of alerting consumers to the fact they are being billed for a service they may have grown tired of, and that futile efforts to retain customers only truly start when they request to cancel.

Those surveyed also noted that communications and marketing offers are rarely personalised – treating all customers with a one-size-fits-all approach instead of individuals with unique desires and needs. The process of cancelling was also flagged as a major problem by consumers who feel there are too many barriers, and that some brands act in a cynical way, using interrogation tactics and pressure to get them to stay or find out why they are leaving.

“Brands spend a huge amount of time and effort building predictive models and using analytics to identify potential churners and understand why they are leaving – but what they often don’t consider is that they’re the biggest part of the problem,” said Singula Decisions CEO Bhavesh Vaghela commenting on the findings.

“By the time a subscriber has requested to leave, the damage has been done. To reduce churn, brands must change their mindset; efforts to build a long-term, happy relationship must start at the beginning, not a short burst at the end to try and save a customer that’s cancelling. Giving the subscriber a positive experience at the end – by making it easy for them to leave and rejoin, and providing great customer service – means there’s a strong possibility that they will return in the future.”

Report author Jennifer Whittaker, a director of QualiProjects, added: “A lack of focus during the early stages of the customer journey means loyal subscribers can feel rejected by brands, and that they are not getting enough value. It’s disheartening for loyal subscribers to see favouritism shown to new customers who have not yet spent any money with the brand. When brands avoid loyal subscribers due to a fear of losing them if they are reminded too overtly of their monthly spend, they are unconsciously sabotaging what could have been a healthy relationship.”