Schibsted has optimised digital sales channels for several years already. Over the past couple of years, there has been a trend toward flattening out the sales volume. As a consequence, there is a focus on keeping subscribers.

One of our hypotheses was we would decrease churn if we made it easier for subscribers to stop but it was more attractive to stay. This is how we developed new tools to support this hypothesis and what the results are so far.

Overview of the project

The project’s main objective was to keep customers from churning. It resulted in a new “my subscription” page and a brand new, online, anti-churn process.

“My subscription” was developed to engage, retain, and excite customers by visualising the subscription’s value proposition. This solution has become a destination for all subscribers with information about their product, including administration such as family sharing and options to stop, pause, and change the subscription.

An essential part of “my subscription” is the new anti-churn process. The main objective with the anti-churn solution is to keep customers from churning in a customer-friendly manner. That is a tricky balance as customer satisfaction and business profitability don’t necessarily correlate. Therefore, our focus was to execute customer service by having a digital conversation during the stop process, hence reducing churn.

The new solution is easily administered and scalable. It has great potential for personalised content, which will increase engagement even more. Only three months after launch, the results are great.

The set-up consists of four parts.

1. Visualisation of key features and benefits. We provide information and direct links, which makes it easy for customers to exploit all parts of their subscription. All elements are key features in the customer value proposition.

Customers can see right away what their subscription offers them.
Customers can see right away what their subscription offers them.

2. Recommended articles. We recommend articles based on customers’ reading habits, which increases engagement. This feature is integrated with Schibsted’s engine for content personalisation and automatically shows the 20 most relevant articles.

Subscribers receive personalised recommendations for articles they might enjoy.
Subscribers receive personalised recommendations for articles they might enjoy.

3. Exclusive offers. All subscribers get discounts on several products, events, and travels, which makes it even more valuable to pay for the subscription. We present the most popular discounts at the moment.

4. Stop, change, or pause. By clicking the “change subscription” button, customers can manage their subscriptions online. This is where the anti-churn solution begins.

Customers received numerous options for stopping, changing, or pausing subscriptions to avoid churning.
Customers received numerous options for stopping, changing, or pausing subscriptions to avoid churning.

The main objective with the anti-churn solution is to keep the customers from churning in a customer friendly manner. Our focus was to execute customer service digitally by having a digital conversation with the customer during the stop process.

The “my subscription” page and anti-churn solution have become a great solution to reach customers at important turning points.

The set-up consists of 10 parts:

1. Personalised stop module. When customers click the “stop subscription” button, they are presented with a module based on CRM data. This module argues, in an informative voice, why they should not churn.

2. Understanding why. All customers explain why they churn via a survey. This data provides insight for future business development. It also lets us know what state of mind the customers are in. This is the key to our anti-churn success. This data is available for customer service representatives for future reference.

3. Offerings. Based on the reason for churning, we argue why customers should stay with us by offering something relevant — finding the customers’ sweet spot. We strive to answer and provide a solution for customers.

Customers can choose from a variety of personalised offerings based on the solution that best suits them.
Customers can choose from a variety of personalised offerings based on the solution that best suits them.

4. Temporary stop. If a customer is going on vacation, instead of churning we recommend temporarily stopping the subscription during the vacation. The newspaper delivery will automatically resume after the vacation.

5. Change to a weekend subscription. If customers think the subscription leads to unnecessary paper or waste, we recommend changing to a weekend or purely digital subscription instead of churning.

6. Pause subscription. If subscribers want to take a break, instead of churning we recommend pausing the subscription for a period. The subscription will automatically resume after the break.

7. Customer satisfaction. If customers still choose to churn, we remain polite and thank them with a personal greeting from the editor-in-chief. We added a “regret” button on the receipt, which allows customers to resume the subscription with one click. Never give up!

8. Balancing customer satisfaction and business profitability. To assure the solution does not compromise the user experience, we conducted several user tests. The tests concluded customers manage to administer their subscription without problems, and the visual design provides a positive attitude during the stop process.

9. Drag-and-drop modules. The solution is easily built with drag-and-drop modules, which makes it easy for ongoing learning and optimisation. The administrator does not have to have technical competence. Our main focus for 2019 is to add more personalised content.

10. Live dashboard. My subscription was launched at the end of October 2018. We will continuously improve and optimise based on analysis. A dashboard provides live updates.

How is it going?

Here are a few key statistics:

  • The share of customers who do not end their subscription after entering the change subscription flow has increased from 35% to 45%.
  • The share of customers who do not end their subscription after entering the stop process has increased from 20% to 30%.
  • 27% of subscribers take actions other than changing their subscription at the new “my subscription” page. This implies this solution has fulfilled a customer need for more information about the product.

Three months in, it seems our plan is working.