Continuity programs are an excellent way to generate additional, ongoing revenue. However, not all order fulfillment companies know how to manage continuity programs properly.
In some cases, continuity management is not only a long-tail strategy, but also an essential tactic for making costly initial sales profitable. In fact, some campaigns are not profitable until the second – or even third – cycle of continuity, making them entirely dependent on a “sticky” continuity program.
The following are eight helpful tips to achieve a robust and successful continuity program:
1. Develop Sticky Continuity Program Design
For the best continuity management, design your continuity programs to be as sticky as possible. For example, incentivize subsequent shipments by offering discounts, gifts or free shipping and handling.
2. Achieve Accurate Continuity Inventory Projections
Inventory stock-outs seriously impact continuity programs, leading to unhappy customers, increased customer service calls and cancellations.
Your order fulfillment company should provide you with inventory forecasting tools that factor in past continuity shipments, stick rates, media schedules and other variables that determine how much inventory you need over time.
3. Get Detailed Data For Continuity Reporting
Make sure your order fulfillment company provides you with in-depth continuity reporting, including stick, decline, cancellation and return date by cycle.
Also, make sure you have the capability to sort the data according to media, campaign, sales center, product SKU, offer, promotion and other filters.
4. Implement A Save-The-Sale Service
No matter how well designed your continuity program is, customers still might cancel. Onne way to reduce cancellations is to have an aggressive save-the-sale program as part of your customer service.
Offer free shipping and handling for life, discounts on subsequent shipments and other “downsell” tactics to keep the customer from abandoning your service.
5. Avoid Surpluses By Offering Shipping Intervals
Establish shipping intervals and quantities that prevent customers from accumulating surpluses, which lead to cancellations.
It’s smart to charge customers every 30 days and ship a two-month supply every 60 days. This way, you don’t overload the customer with product, and you save money on freight. Also, by keeping monthly charges low and consistent, you avoid standing out on a customer’s credit card bill.
6. Stay Engaged With The Customer
Sending the customer an email with advance notice of an upcoming continuity shipment creates goodwill and eliminates potential chargebacks.
It’s helpful to call continuity clients who have credit cards that are declining or about to expire to make sure that an active card in good standing is available – this leads to greater loyalty and buy-in to your program.
7. Provide Flexible Or “Variable” Continuity
Not all continuity management systems are created equal. Be certain that your order fulfillment company provides a robust, rules-driven system that accommodates on-the-fly changes to continuity orders.
Also, ensure customers are empowered to change order items, payment plans, shipment intervals and other variables whenever they wish. A self-service web application enabling customers to make their own changes (versus dictating them to a call center agent) is both efficient and cost-effective.
8. Establish Somewhat Rigid Return/Refund Policies
While you want to give customers the ability to cancel at any time (to avoid chargebacks), you should establish a strict return/refund policy about when and what they are allowed to return.
For example, do not allow a customer to return multiple continuity shipments. If you do, your refunds end up going through the roof.
In order to run a successful continuity program, you need a fulfillment company that knows the ins and outs of continuity program order management. With the right order fulfillment vendor, you have the tools you need to reduce customer service calls and improve program retention rates.
Ready to learn more about optimizing your order management with a comprehensive continuity program? Call 800-808-3304 or click here to speak with an order fulfillment expert at Moulton Fulfillment.