Anybody running a subscription business knows how tough it is to keep track of customers, ensure timely collections, manage new subscribers, and renew subscriptions while ensuring the organization is up and running to its maximum capacity. Adding credits, extending the trial period, changing billing dates, offering discounts, and activating and cancelling subscriptions only add to the complexity.

For this reason, having the right billing software is extremely important to manage operations as well as forge longer, and stronger customer relationships. Given the fact that a subscription billing software is the lifeblood of subscription organizations that take care of all aspects of the business including subscription management, billing, taxation, compliance, invoicing, accounting, payment processing, etc., here is a handy checklist for selecting the right subscription billing software for your business:

Lead Tracking:

Efficiently tracking leads and following up with them in a timely manner can have a great impact on your bottom line. While on the lookout for a subscription billing software, make sure it allows you to:

  • Contact leads with quality messaging on a one-to-one basis.
  • Track and monitor every lead’s journey.
  • Receive alerts for periodic follow-ups.
  • Get a clear view of all the work that needs to be done and assess and prioritize tasks.
  • Move leads to the next stage and escalates issues to the next level.

Subscription Management:

Since different customers have different needs, it is important to allow them to have more control over their subscription plans. Your subscription billing software should:

  • Efficiently manage sign-ups, trials, cancellations and upgrades/downgrades.
  • Securely store customer details to automate repeat payments.
  • Allow for pricing personalization, flexible consumption, value-based pricing, elastic subscription, etc.
  • Offer the flexibility to modify subscription plans and add-ons, and add one-time charges on the go.
  • Be scalable enough to accommodate the growing business.
  • Allow configuration of automatic, customized, transactional emails to be sent to customers.
  • Automate renewals to reduce errors and manual work.
  • Automatically schedule subscription actions such as future-dated late payment fee, the downgrading of service level, service suspension or even cancellation.
  • Manage fraudulent/expired credit cards, and continuously track failed payments.
  • Offer coupons and discounts and keep track of the redeemed discounts.
  • Provide alerts when certain events occur such as new subscription request, subscription canceled, overdue payments, expired card, etc.

Order and Service Management:

Modern order and service management capabilities are essential to ensure successful completion of customer orders. Your subscription billing software should:

  • Effectively receive customer orders and coordinate all the actions needed to fulfill the order.
  • Manage tasks across provisioning, billing, and other fulfillment systems.
  • Monitor and manage orders as they get fulfilled.
  • Automate fulfillment tasks for quick closure.

Billing and Invoicing:

Efficient billing and invoicing are important to limit delays, curb leakage and ensure a steady flow of recurring revenue. The subscription billing software you choose should:

  • Support multiple billing methods including standard, flexible, one-time, order-based, recurring, and on-demand.
  • Allow customers to select preferred payment methods such as mobile wallet, bank transfer, e-wallets, or credit card.
  • Offer flexible and innovative billing options and allow mixing multiple billing models in a single contract.
  • Allow billing on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis or on a specific billing date.
  • Offer the ability to define custom billing cycles and apply applicable taxes.
  • Automate invoicing and offer a single invoice for all services consumed.
  • Record billing errors, and handle billing exceptions and complexities including credits, and refunds.

Reporting:

As subscriber needs evolve, having a detailed understanding of their requirements and your business is crucial to improving predictability and performance. Any subscription billing software should:

  • Offer real-time insight into usage patterns, revenue patterns, financial performance, subscriber preferences, etc.
  • Provide real-time actionable metrics across customer activity, customer churn, the rate of default payments, preferred billing cycle, etc.
  • Continuously monitor and measure data growth.
  • Provide dashboards to generate new revenue opportunities, identify new business prospects and improve the customer experience.
  • Offer real-time view of customer behavior, business growth, revenue, channel partners, and operations and performance.

Channel Management:

Given the fact that subscription businesses rely greatly on channel partners to maximize their market opportunity and improve service efficiency, the subscription billing software should allow you to:

  • Automatically onboard partners and bill on behalf of them.
  • Offer different commission and settlement models for each partner.
  • Efficiently handle several multi-party settlements.
  • Offer automated solutions for billing, invoicing and end of cycle-settlement.
  • Offer different deal customization options for different partners and tailor product rate cards.

Finance Automation:

As services that are offered to customers change with time, it is important that the software you choose allows you to make changes on the fly – at the lowest cost possible. Make sure the subscription software you choose allows you to:

  • Continuously track and optimize services.
  • Extend service life cycle by refining and improving them over time.
  • Recognize a variety of revenue sources covering a range of business models.
  • Ensure compliance with necessary regulations across PCI, application, network and physical security requirements.

Service Desk:

For any subscription business, having an integrated service desk is essential so customers can seamlessly clarify all their billing-related queries and achieve quick resolution. The subscription billing software you choose should ideally:

  • Have a 24×7 online or voice-based support with an experienced and responsive customer support team.
  • Allow customers to manage subscription themselves.
  • Comply with industry standard resolution times.
  • Offer the option to request for services.
  • Track progress of every request.
  • Allow real-time ticket management.

Enhance Overall Customer Experience:

Fast growing subscription businesses need to efficiently manage customers across their lifetime. Handling different billing requirements across different billing cycles and payment methods for hundreds of thousands of customers spread across the globe is not an easy task.

However, with the right subscription management software, not only can you seamlessly manage your business but also leverage opportunities for reducing revenue leakage, improving profit margin and enhancing the overall customer experience.