7 biggest recurring billing challenges and how to solve them
29 March 2022-
16 min read
No matter what recurring billing company you run, managing subscribers, pricing, calculating ARR or MRR can be a daunting task. Especially if you are a successful, rapidly growing business. Isn’t growth a positive thing? Sure. But it also means an increasing number of subscribers and a more complex system to take care of.
It becomes trickier to manage subscribers, to cater to their needs, to retain and upsell them. Pricing changes, payment methods diversify, it gets trickier to invoice the right customer, at the right time and the right amount. Sounds familiar? You are not alone. Many companies who want to scale face these challenges. Below we present some of the biggest hurdles that recurring billing-driven businesses face and how to combat them.
1. Keeping your customers happy
Well, of course, it starts and ends with customers. Ensuring a positive customer experience is at the heart of any subscription-based company. With thousands (or more) subscribers on board, it is easy to make mistakes: one customer did not get the upgrade she needed, another got charged for an upgrade he did not want, and another customer’s subscription got cancelled because of some credit card issue.
A flawed customer management database can irreparably damage your relationship with customers. Often decisions are based on wrong data: what pricing tier the customer is on, whether they are on a free trial or not and so on.
You can avoid these issues by having a dedicated cloud-based subscription management system in place. This will allow you to, for example, trigger emails to your customers when they’re due to be billed but their payment method is expiring. You can also activate multiple attempts to take payment if the first one fails.
A good way to keep both you and your customers happy is to offer them ways to save money. For instance, if they pay for the whole year, they get the first month for free. That way they get a good discount and you improve your ARR.
Finally, your customers need to be able to move between different pricing plans without friction. Allow them to upgrade, downgrade or cancel without unnecessary roadblocks.
2. Seamless integration or systems that don’t cancel each other out
Recurring billing at scale is an intricate process, with lots of moving elements. It covers business functions such as sales, marketing, analytics or customer support. Each of these elements needs to be intertwined and in dialogue with each other, because they all use the same subscription information in order to perform.
You want to have a recurring billing solution in place that will allow you to connect and seamlessly integrate with whatever you might need, for example, with a PSP.
3. Payment methods that work
Failed payment transactions are one of the biggest setbacks for a recurring billing business. While it is unrealistic to expect zero failures, it is possible to reduce the number to a minimum. You need to have software in place that will be able to handle payments regardless of when they are processed: weekly, monthly, annually or otherwise.
But each customer is different. Some may be using coupons and some want multiple subscriptions set up on one account. This is where it gets complicated and where classic payment gateways, such as Klarna, PayPal or Nets just do not cut it anymore without the support of a subscription management system.
And what happens if the one payment method you have breaks? Or locks out subscribers? You need a platform that will offer you and your clients a variety of different payment methods, help you scale and enter new markets without financial obstacles.
4. Invoicing that takes care of itself
As your company grows, so does the complexity of managing its finances. Invoicing is taken to a whole new level. It could get even more tricky when new or upgraded price tiers are introduced and customers subscribe at different periods in time.
No question, this can no longer be managed manually. Invoicing then requires too much time, resources and there is too big of a chance for mistakes.
What you need is automated invoicing. A solution that will send invoices to your customer for you. More than that. Invoicing is actually an often forgotten branding opportunity. A good subscription management software not only takes care of your invoicing but also lets you customize it according to your brand identity.
5. Scaling should mean joy, not headache
Scaling helps take your company to new horizons and bigger profits, but it also comes with baggage. It usually means new markets, payment methods, pricing tiers and a rapidly growing number of subscribers. In short - lots of challenging intricacy.
Your recurring billing solution has to have the flexibility to implement all the new changes without breaking anything. A reliable system will manage all that data and calculations for you, including your ARR or MRR.
6. Data, GDPR and all that jazz
With thousands of customers, you end up managing a large amount of sensitive personal data. While doing so, you want your customers to subscribe to your service or product knowing that their data is handled securely.
For example, when customers make a payment, they have to be assured their credit card information is safe. Therefore compliance with various international regulations, such as GDPR or PCI is essential.
7. New markets, new currencies, new issues
Is your company ready to spread its wings to new countries? You will need to think about local currencies and how your billing will handle them. On top of it all, new markets and new currencies often mean new tax requirements and compliance with different accounting standards.
In order to enter new markets successfully, you will need to eliminate the obstacles that come with conducting transactions in multiple currencies. Which should be no challenge for flexible recurring billing software.
One solution to all
All of the above challenges can be solved with one solution - reliable recurring billing software. We have one for you. Upodi will take care of your recurring billing and subscription management while you focus on what matters most when you run an agile business - scaling. In fact, Upodi will scale with you and help keep your customers happy no matter how much your business will grow.
Mette N. Mortensen is a student employee with a thirst for Marketing. She is driven by her passion, and takes pride in providing the best results possible. As a Marketing Manager, her goals include providing relevant and exciting content, innovative solutions, and provide value to both company and customers. In addition to working at Upodi, Mette is taking her Master degree in Strategic Communication at Aarhus BSS.
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