When building your business, you usually think about what is best for your customers. What will attract them to your store or services? You may also think about stick strategies, such as what will make them become a repeat buyer or utilize your service long term?
One area often not thought about if they haven’t returned for a repeat purchase is, are they even aware you have additional products? Once they buy do you forget about them and never contact them again?
Another area I see a struggle with is when you have a subscription service or membership program. This is where I have seen a real challenge, and I know it happens to others when trying to cancel out of a program.
Think about a gym membership—a national chain does a great job of getting you enrolled but the lack of communication or incentives to get you back in the gym doesn’t help you stay motivated.
This is a tough membership for long term retention but what’s even tougher, for the client, is canceling the membership.
First, you realize you’re not using the membership like you really intended. I mean we all do good the first couple of months, right? So you start feeling bad about it. Then, you’re reminded about it on your bank statement and feel bad again. Finally, you come to terms that you just need to call and cancel the membership.
The thing is, this company’s policy is you must come in and fill out a form.
This happened to me. I went from feeling bad to feeling pretty steamed. I was having trouble getting to the gym in the first place and now I have to make a special trip to fill out a form just to quit! That seems like more work than the fitness program was.
Time gets away from you and several months later you still haven’t canceled and not only do you have an even worse feeling about the membership, but you’ve shared your unhappiness with others making them question even starting a membership there.
Another scenario I have run into is a software company that runs a service on my computer. Good company, great service, until you decide to cancel.
In my case, I switched services due to the amount of data I back up. I removed their software and shortly after I started getting emails that my computer hadn’t been backed up in awhile. I really liked the proactive reminders.
The reminder reminded me I needed to cancel, so I replied stating that I needed to cancel. The email was an automated service and replies were rejected. I went back to the email, located the website, tracked down my log in, reset my password and set the billing to not auto-renew.
Turns out to actually terminate the service you must call and speak to a representative. Just to be fair, it won’t auto renew, but you get all kinds of messages about failed billings while still getting the messages that your backups are out of date.
The point I’m trying to make here is why make a customer work so hard to cancel. Yes, we would like to have them as a long term client/customer but by giving them a negative experience not only will they not come back, you also risk them spreading the word about their awful experience.
I hope this helps as you think about policies you put into place about how people exit as well as enter your sales process.