Case study: Morris Communications (Florida Times-Union)

Client

Morris Communications (Florida Times-Union)

Internal Brand

Customer One

Duration

18 Months

Challenge

For years, the Morris Communications newspapers relied on conventional methods to attract renewal subscriptions. They sent second notices to subscribers at the beginning of grace and then hoped that the subscribers would return the notices with a check for a renewal. About 90 percent of subscribers do in fact respond with a check to the second notice. For the remaining 10 percent of subscribers, a third notice has little effect. Morris has found that only 13 percent of subscribers renew their subscriptions in response to a third notice.

Leaders at Morris were well aware that it costs far more to attract new subscribers than it does to retain old ones, and the company engaged RCDA to help them build a pilot outbound retention center for the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville.

The goal for this center is to call the 10 percent of subscribers who respond to the second renewal notice, and to use our Quality Conversation approach and robust sales model to encourage these subscribers to renew their subscriptions over the phone.

Approach

RCDA helped hire 16 part-time retention sales reps and their supervisors for the new retention center, and then trained and coached the new reps to call subscribers five days before carrier stop.

The retention sales reps use a robust sales model to discover why a subscriber might wish to cancel, as well as the subscriber’s wants, interests and needs. Each call includes a targeted offer and an effort to collect payment over the phone.

Results

The retention sales reps achieve from 1.22 to 3.32 collections per hour, with the average being around two collections an hour per retention sales rep. This is particularly remarkable because they make these calls without the aid of an auto-dialer.

Overall at the Florida Times-Union, permanent stops are down by 26 percent, grace expense is down by over $200,000 per year, and collections exceed $100,000 per month.