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Why you should let your subscribers cancel online and how to do it right

As the subscription model continues to grow, people are growing more weary about how this business model works. One issue that comes up repeatedly is the cancellation process. Some companies are currently under fire for what consumers view as unethical cancellation processes, with the UK government even stepping in to try to reduce “subscription traps”.

In 2023, we expect to see even more scrutiny in the subscription sector, with a heavy focus on cancellation processes. This article will detail how your business can stay ahead of any impending regulations by offering simple online cancellations.

Why you should let your subscribers cancel online

The first thing to know is that online cancellation is essential. This goes double for websites that only let you sign up for a subscription online.

Some businesses will have customers jumping through hoops with phone calls and long hold times. It’s a designed process that clearly goads customers into giving up due to lack of time or sheer frustration. As you can imagine, that’s not really a good look for businesses looking to grow their subscriber numbers.

Customers prefer to be in charge of their own life, which extends to something as simple as a subscription service. During this cost of living crisis especially, customers’ finances are highly unpredictable, and they may need to sacrifice some of their subscription services to help make ends meet.

They shouldn’t have to justify or jump through hoops to cancel in times of stress. If faced with those barriers, they’re unlikely to return when their finances stabilise.

Online cancellation processes can also help retain your customers. Personalisation is a huge selling point for customers in most industries. You can use this to your advantage by offering a personalised cancellation experience. 

For example, say you have different subscription tiers. You can include a lower-priced tier and highlight features that customers actually use to entice them to stay with your product. You could also offer a limited-time discount for customers looking to cancel.

As important as the customer experience is, there are also legal reasons to offer online subscription cancellation. Subscription regulations worldwide vary as governments get to grips with this new market. This means your business needs to be extremely cautious when offering subscriptions on a global scale.

Germany has recently introduced a law requiring all subscriptions taken out online to have online cancellations. They also require businesses to add a “cancellation button” to their websites, offering fast and simple cancellation.

Online subscription cancellation best practices

With so much to think about, it can be difficult to tailor an excellent cancellation process. You need to consider customer experience to help convince them to return and ensure you don’t run foul of any legal regulations. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the best ways to ensure your online subscription cancellation process is on the up and up.

Make it easy

Few things are more frustrating than trying to cancel a subscription and facing countless obstacles. Obviously, you don’t want to lose customers, but that doesn’t mean you should actively make it difficult to cancel.

Adobe is a great example of what not to do. Their cancellation process will do everything it possibly can to get you to stay on their platform, with full-page screens explaining “what you’re losing”, multiple discounts that will restart your minimum contracted term if you accept the discount, and even cancellation fees for those determined to cancel.

Other businesses will often use design to make it more difficult for customers to cancel. They’ll have big, clear buttons to click on if you want to go back and keep your cancellation, but links to actually cancel the subscription will be small and easy to miss. This is something that regulations are starting to address.

Your cancellation process should be clear, concise, and simple enough for anyone to manage. Think of the least tech-savvy person you know and design your cancellation process to suit them.

Let customers give feedback about why they’re cancelling

Not all customers are canceling their subscriptions because they’re unhappy with the service. There are so many subscription services right now that many customers have to trim down their subscriptions to help manage their finances. However, to many businesses, a cancellation simply says that the customer no longer wants your product.

Offering customers the chance to give feedback about why they’re cancelling their subscription can help keep you informed. You can use this data to better understand why people are cancelling.

Of course, this offers customers the chance to have their say about your product. They can use this opportunity to explain what they liked and disliked about your offerings, helping shape your strategies going forward.

A common way to do this is by offering a dropdown menu with pre-written reasons for cancellations. This allows you to link the reasons with potential save options, like discounts for those who simply can’t afford to keep their subscription.

Give people confirmation

This seems obvious, but some businesses forget to offer confirmation of cancellation to their customers. This leads customers to worry that something has gone wrong during the process, increasing the amount of work for customer service and retention teams.

Even a simple cancellation screen at the end of the process or a confirmation email can be enough to put customers at ease.

Use a platform that helps you do all this and more

As subscription commerce continues to evolve, navigating various regulations while keeping your customers happy and your business in the black will become much more difficult.

Retention is key, so this is where the subscription commerce experts at Limio come in. Whether you need a personalised cancellation and retention experience or you’re looking to launch a new subscription product, we can help. Contact us today to find out how!

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