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In many cases, canceling or downgrading a subscription or membership is a frustratingly long and complicated process in an effort by organizations to dissuade their customers from leaving.

“It is always hard to lose a customer, especially if you put a lot of effort into getting them to sign up for your products/services in the first place,” writes John Solomon. “This is understandable; however the methods some companies use to prevent this from happening are not.”

What these organizations fail to realize is that by making the cancellation process so complicated, their audiences are becoming conditioned to hesitate about future subscriptions. Not only does this create a negative stigma around an organization, unhappy customers are more likely to speak out against your organization.

Andy Crestodine, strategic director of Orbit Media, described the steps to downgrade his Hootsuite account to the free version. All seven of them. It’s instances like Crestodine’s that lead to former subscribers speaking out about the difficulty and frustration they faced. 

Would a potential customer want to upgrade when their friends or coworkers are expressing their disappointment with the subscription? No. And you can bet they’ll hear about it if cancelation requires sending a written letter on a specific day of the year, or a phone call during inopportune business hours. 

How do we avoid this?

It's simple: make it easy to cancel or unsubscribe from your membership.

“Any channel that allows you to sign up (should allow you to) cancel,” said Robbie Kellman Baxter, author of “The Forever Transaction.” “If you can sign up at a conference, cancel at a conference. If you can sign up on the website, you should be able to cancel on the website.”

There is no excuse for making cancellation a difficult process. Trust that your products and services are beneficial enough to draw in new customers, and allow others to leave on good terms. 

Organizations have the ability to make every interaction a pleasant experience, from start to finish. If we’d like all memberships to last forever, we can get one step closer by making it clear to our Members that, just in case they ever want the option, they won’t be bound to us if they no longer choose to be. By making cancelling an easy process, your organization honors the loyalty your customers give you, because the last thing we want is a membership comprised of people whose loyalty is just being held hostage.

Ashley Neal
Post by Ashley Neal
June 24, 2020
Ashley is a marketing and communications professional with expertise in sales conversion, copywriting, and social media.