Everybody knows the 3Rs for school children: reading, writing, and arithmetic. These are the foundation for success in school. But did you know there are 3Rs for subscription businesses that are fundamental to their success? These are:

  1. Relationships
  2. Respect
  3. Retention

Let’s look in depth at each of these.


Subscription businesses have a special relationship with their customers. Subscription customers have chosen to have an ongoing relationship with a particular merchant, and they’ve made a commitment to pay for the ongoing delivery of products or services. These customers love the convenience and predictability that subscription services provide, while the merchant appreciates the value of these customers. Compared to “one and done” shoppers, subscription customers usually represent exponentially higher value to merchants.

The commitment these customers have chosen to make to a business and the value they bring to it means this relationship demands special recognition.

Subscription businesses have their own 3Rs that are fundamental to their success.


Subscription businesses can’t take customer relationships for granted and respecting this connection is an important way to show appreciation. Smart companies realize their growth and profitability depend on customer retention, so they invest in ways to ensure customers stay longer and reduce churn.

Caring about your customers and working to ensure their satisfaction is what it means to have respect for them. Building this culture of customer respect may not come automatically to some subscription businesses. It requires focus and attention and may be something that both management and the customer service team need to consciously work on.  

While it’s easy to show customer respect during initial enrollment, this respect needs to be nurtured throughout the entire customer lifecycle. A business can’t just pay attention to their new customers, this habit must continue in all the months to come. Making customers happy in both expected and unexpected ways is a great way to maintain satisfaction and to increase retention.

It may be more difficult to show this respect when issues occur in the customer relationship, but it’s even more important to show it when there is a problem.

For example, if a credit card is declined during a customer’s recurring billing cycle, don’t automatically assume the customer is at fault.  It’s not necessary to immediately send them to collections or issue a dunning letter. In fact, two-thirds of failed credit card payments aren’t caused by customer credit issues, but by structural problems within the payment authorization system. In their attempts to avoid approving fraudulent charges, the system will often decline good credit cards. The assumption that your most valuable customers are deadbeats is guaranteed to create a bad brand experience and will lead to customer churn.


Customer retention is the lifeblood of subscription companies because it leads to higher customer Lifetime Value (LTV), higher growth rates, and increased profitability. Since it costs the value of 2.5 billing cycles on average to acquire a new customer, improving retention rates gives you more time to recoup high customer acquisition costs.

Healthy customer relationships are created when the customer is very satisfied with your service delivery, and you show ongoing respect to them throughout the entire customer lifecycle. Combined, these lead to increased customer retention.

Higher customer retention rates typically go hand in hand with best practices in relationship management and customer respect. Subscription companies that work to create great customer experiences will earn higher customer retention rates, even when failed payments and other outside factors interrupt the smooth flow of payment and service delivery.

The Invisible Recovery™ Solution

The FlexPay Invisible Recovery™ platform is an AI-powered solution that creates individual strategies for each failed payment. Invisible Recovery™ works quickly behind the scenes while completely avoiding customer visibility to the failed payment, which eliminates the churn created when subscription customers are made aware of their payment issue.

FlexPay research shows Invisible Recovery™ delivers the highest rate of failed payment recovery, as well as sustained retention for months to come. The numbers tell the whole story:

• Up to 70% improvement in failed payment recovery rates compared to other recovery solutions

• Up to 45% longer customer retention following recovery compared to using other failed payment recovery methods

To learn how Invisible Recovery™ can help improve the 3Rs for your subscription business, check out our Optimizing Customer Retention in Subscription Businesses eBook or schedule a consultation.