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The Aptitude Blog

Streamlining subscription management: The crucial role of standardization

March 20, 2024
Posted by Sarah Werner

Subscription-based business models have become increasingly prevalent across various industries, offering customers convenience and flexibility while providing businesses with predictable revenue streams.

However, managing subscriptions efficiently can be a complex and challenging task, especially as the volume and variety of subscriptions grow. This is where subscription management standardization plays a crucial role, offering a framework to streamline processes and protocols, and ultimately improving efficiency in subscription management.

At its core, standardization involves establishing uniform procedures, guidelines and formats that ensure consistency and compatibility across different aspects of subscription management. This can include billing cycles, pricing structures, customer data management and communication protocols. By implementing standardized processes, businesses can achieve several key benefits that contribute to more efficient subscription management operations.

Building in best practices 

Standardization can reduce ambiguity and confusion by establishing clear guidelines and best practices for managing subscriptions. For example, standardized billing cycles and payment methods help eliminate discrepancies and billing errors, ensuring that customers are accurately charged for their subscriptions. Likewise, standardized communication protocols enable consistent messaging across all customer touchpoints, enhancing clarity and reducing the risk of misunderstandings or miscommunications.

While it can be tempting to customize subscription management solutions to your bespoke business processes, sometimes adopting standardized approaches can save costs and pain in the long run.

Recently, Kris Jacobs, Specsavers, commented on his initial reluctance to embrace standardized best practices. In discussing Specsavers’ search for a subscription management tool, Jacobs admits:

“We did that thing that companies always do – we went to market. We did RFI and RFP, picked the supplier that we thought was the best suit for us and then bent their product as out of shape as we possibly could!


Luckily, we found a partner in Aptitude that was keen to get into retail. They were flexible. But like many companies we like to think we are special and looking back I wish we hadn’t been as strict to our way of doing things. We probably wasted a lot of time and money thinking that the way we did it was the right way and not leaning into what they knew – they are the subscription people. We needed to be a bit braver, in the first place, and trust the experts in the room.” (source)

Modifying your business processes to fit a standardized model can sometimes feel challenging, but as Jacobs recognized, solution providers often are experts in their fields and adopting their best practices can open your eyes to a better way of doing things.

System interoperability

Another significant advantage of standardization is its role in facilitating system interoperability. When subscription management processes and protocols are standardized, it becomes easier for businesses to integrate with third-party services, such as payment gateways, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and marketing automation platforms. This interoperability enables seamless data exchange and workflow integration, empowering businesses to leverage the full potential of their subscription management technology stack.

Standardization also enhances data consistency and integrity, which is crucial for effective subscription management. By adopting standardized formats and protocols for storing and managing customer data, businesses can ensure data accuracy, reliability and security. This facilitates better decision-making, improved customer segmentation and more personalized subscription experiences, ultimately driving customer satisfaction and retention.

Ensuring compliance

Finally, standardization also contributes to regulatory compliance and risk management in subscription management. By adhering to standardized practices and protocols, businesses can ensure compliance with industry regulations, data protection laws, and financial reporting standards. This minimizes the risk of legal and regulatory issues, such as data breaches, non-compliance penalties, and reputational damage, safeguarding both customers and the business.

For example, your business must be able to collect, store, process and transmit first-party data securely and in compliance with data protection regulations. (Read our guide: First-party Data – Time to Pivot from Firefighting to Strategy)

Additional regulations include Data Protection rules like GDPR and CCPA, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) which ensures that businesses securely handle cardholder data during transactions, reducing the risk of data breaches and fraud and subscription billing regulations that cover aspects such as transparency in pricing, auto-renewal terms, cancellation policies, and disclosure requirements.

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This blog post was written by:

Sarah Werner
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