10 must-have features for Subscription Billing Platforms in 2020

Another decade is about to pass, and the subscription model has marked its presence in numerous industries—from recurring grocery purchases to yearly car subscriptions. As much as we'd like to believe that choosing the right billing solution is easy, it's not. Businesses have different needs, and the phrase "best subscription management platform" is completely subjective.

To help you make the right choice, we're listing the top ten features that would make subscription services easier for both you and your customers. We'll also describe use cases where these features might come in handy.

1. Pause and resume subscriptions 

There will be times when your customers need some time off from your product or service. In such cases, your subscription management software should allow them to pause and resume their subscriptions on demand.  This helps businesses save time spent on manual calculations while emphasizing flexibility and user experience for customers.

Use case:

If a customer is going on a vacation for a month, the billing software should be able to put the subscription on hold and start it up again when necessary.

2. Lost opportunities reports 

It's disappointing when you almost acquire a new customer, but they end up leaving because there's a problem when they try to make the purchase. With an advanced billing platform, you can easily get a list of these lost customers and reach out directly to let them know the problem has been resolved. This will help improve your conversion rate and build brand loyalty.

Use case:

Let's say there's a problem with your payment gateway, and five customers have had failed payment attempts. With a lost opportunities report, you can fetch their email IDs, let them know that you have fixed the issue, and request that they try again.

3. Inventory Integration

If you deal with tangible products, manually transferring data between your separate inventory and subscription management platforms is tedious. Integration options should be available to ensure that handling both your subscriptions and inventory simultaneously isn't a hassle.

Use case:

Assume that you issue magazines every month to your customers. If you use integrated software for both subscription and inventory management and a customer makes a purchase from your billing platform, a delivery process to the customer's address will be initiated automatically.

4. Consolidated customer interactions

When billing platforms have more context around your customers' needs, you're able to offer them a better customer experience. If you can consolidate both the emails sent from your organization and those received from your customers in one place, it can help you offer a better billing experience.

Use case:

If you see that you're not on good terms with a customer based on past interactions with them, you can better understand their needs and offer an individualized solution, such as a discount.

5. Document attachments

Some businesses will need to upload documents with customer details or transaction information to better manage account data. While there are tons of document management apps available, it's more convenient if you have all your customer-related files in the same place. 

Use case:

Here's two:

  • Notary services benefit by attaching documents for proof of client identity.

  • Businesses which collect cash from customers can upload scanned invoices while recording payments.

6. Prefilled checkout page

When you prioritize giving your customers a seamless checkout experience, it's a good idea to prefill your checkout page. Prefilling the checkout page can help save a lot of time for your customers. Make their lives easier, and they'll appreciate you for it!

Use case:

If your customers renew their gym subscriptions every month, prefilling certain checkout fields on the checkout page will give them a faster checkout experience and lead to higher satisfaction.

7. Invoice reminders

When your customers pay through invoices, it's important to be able to send due date reminders so they don't miss out on their subscription renewals. Likewise, reminders need to be sent even after the due date has been exceeded. It's easier to retain existing customers rather than acquire new ones, so features that help with this are important.

Use case:

When due dates are nearing, internet service providers often send multiple reminders to their active customers about their subscriptions' expiration date.

8. Cancellation reports

Customers end their subscriptions for different reasons, but what if the reason is your product or service? When a customer is about to leave, your billing software should be able to collect feedback to understand why they are leaving. This information can help you improve your product for the future. You can then compile a report, and understand the top reasons your customers are churning.

Use case:

Let's say you own a SaaS product. With this report, you discover that your customers are churning because your product is buggy. Because of these insights, you can start prioritizing solutions to your customers' top complaints.

9. Advance payment collections

When customers make payments before their due dates, the billing platform must be ready to receive, record, and make adjustments to their subscriptions. It's better to get paid earlier than to wait until the last day. It enables healthy cash flow and helps customers avoid late payment fees if they miss their due date.

Use case:

Suppose you run a community where your members need to renew their memberships once a month. If your customers prefer to make bulk payments for three months altogether, the advance payments should be collected and automatically renewed using the billing platform.

10. Custom module views

The same way you can use filters to see only the data you want when performing actions in your spreadsheet, your billing system should be able to show you only the results you need.

Use case:

Here are some custom views your business might need:

  • Customers who've made payments in the last week only

  • Businesses that are located in New York

  • Inactive customers only

With each day, customers have increasing standards about what they expect from recurring billing services. Businesses need to take it up a notch if they want to stay efficient and competitive. It's important to start off on the right foot, but it's also never too late to migrate from your current recurring billing platform.

Catering to more than 50 million users, Zoho's 45+ products use Zoho Subscriptions as their recurring billing software. Zoho Subscriptions has been around for five years, challenging us to stay relevant, versatile, and on top of our game. Zoho Subscriptions also has all the features you're looking for, including the ten listed above. Start evaluating your billing software right now, and be ready for 2020.


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