Membership cancellations are a normal part of any membership site. However, it’s in your best interests to ensure the user leaves your membership program happily.
Ensuring customer satisfaction even after they cancel their subscription can help you create a good brand impression. This is why it’s important to focus on how well your membership cancellation policies are set up and if they make it easy for your customers to cancel their membership subscriptions. As a result, you encourage users who leave your site to come back again or recommend your membership site to their friends or family in the future.
In this post, we’ll dive deeper into some of the worst membership cancellation policies you want to avoid at all costs.
The importance of membership cancellation policies
Before we talk about the importance of a good membership cancellation policy, it’s first important to understand what a membership cancellation policy is.
It’s essentially a formal agreement that lets users who subscribe to a membership plan cancel their subscription at any point in time. Membership cancellation policies dictate how (and when) a user can cancel their subscription. Similar to offering easy subscription methods, you also want to offer an easy way for users to cancel their membership plan anytime they’d like.
Let’s go over some main reasons why it’s important to pay attention to the cancellation policy of your membership site:
- Brand image. If you have a poor membership cancellation policy on your membership site, users who cancel their subscription plan will not be happy. This can damage your brand image and cause users to leave your membership site.
- One major reason for having a legal, formal agreement when users subscribe to your membership plan is to steer away from fraudsters and trolls. However, if your membership cancellation policy is not up-to-par, fraudsters can find loopholes and possibly scam your business out of money.
- User-experience. Ideally, you want to offer a great user experience on your membership site, even if subscribers want to cancel or abandon their subscription plan. Similarly, you also want to ensure members who previously canceled their subscription can rejoin your membership site later if they’d like.
- Re-subscriptions. Even if you lose a subscriber, it doesn’t mean you should cut off all ties with them. Instead, through a great membership cancellation policy, you can encourage users to re-subscribe to your membership plan whenever they’re ready again. Offering everyone an easy way to re-join your membership site is a great way to promote a more “inviting” brand image and help grow your business in the long run.
Terrible membership cancellation policies to avoid at all costs
Here, we’ll take a closer look at some of the worst membership cancellation policies you’d want to avoid at all costs and talk about some useful tips to help prevent such mistakes.
#1. Hard to find the “cancel subscription” button
You don’t want to hide the “Cancel Subscription” or “Abandon Subscription” buttons on your membership site as a way to stop subscribers from taking such actions. This just makes it difficult for users who want to cancel their subscription immediately and discourages them from joining your membership site again later.
Similar to how call-to-action buttons are used on your site to encourage customers to subscribe easily, you also want to make sure it’s as easy for them to unsubscribe from your membership site. A great way to do this is by letting users manage their subscription plan from a “My Account” page and cancel their subscription immediately whenever they’d like.
#2. Users need to issue a 30-day notice
If you’re asking users to issue a 30-day notice before they can cancel, you’re delivering a poor user experience that’s likely leaving subscribers dissatisfied. This is because a 30-day notice limits subscribers from immediately canceling their membership plan and losing money on something they don’t really want to continue with. You don’t want to create a “hostage” situation with your subscribers when they decide to cancel their membership plan.
Ideally, you want to give your subscribers the option to either immediately abandon their subscription or choose to continue their subscription till it’s time to pay again. For instance, if a user still has 2 weeks of subscription time left, they can simply choose not to re-subscribe next month automatically and enjoy the subscription plan till their last paid date. As a result, it helps users get the most value for their money and makes it easier for them to leave your membership site if they choose to immediately.
#3. Delaying the cancellation process
When a subscriber decides to cancel their subscription plan, the last thing they want is for you to delay the process, causing them to lose precious money and time. For instance, if a user requests you to cancel their subscription, you don’t want to keep them waiting for a response. If your onboarding process is quick and easy, your cancellation process should also be straightforward.
The easier you make it for users to cancel their subscriptions, the more likely it is that they’ll leave your brand satisfied. As a result, it can encourage them to re-join at a later date or recommend your membership site to other people.
#4. Not giving an easy way for old subscribers to re-join
While you may have lost a subscriber once users leave your membership site, there’s always a possibility they might want to join back at a later date when they’re ready. For example, a user might cancel their subscription plan because they have to travel or fall ill. However, once they are ready again, they might want to rejoin the membership program for more quality content.
This makes it important to ensure that you offer an easy way for old subscribers to re-join your membership site or re-subscribe to their previously subscribed plan easily later.
#5. No option for subscribers to “freeze” their subscription
Some members might not want to leave your membership site; however, there can be some reasons causing them not to continue their subscription plan. For example, if a user cannot continue their subscription due to health reasons or wants to take a break. Instead of just giving them an option to cancel, you can also offer a way to essentially “freeze” their subscription until they are ready to start once again.
This offers a more comfortable environment for subscribers and makes it easier for them to continue with your membership site, even if they have to take a break temporarily.
#6. Deleting user data after they cancel their subscription
If you’re deleting user data once a subscriber cancels their subscription on your membership site, the chances of them subscribing again are low even if they decide to visit your site again. This is because they wouldn’t want to go through the hassle of registering and setting up their account once again.
Instead, you can simply keep user data saved on your membership site even after subscribers cancel their subscription plan and leave your site. This way, when an old subscriber is ready to join again, they can simply log in to their already existing user account with their personal details and start their subscription plan.
#7. Restricting access when a user decides to cancel
Ideally, once a user cancels, you want to give them the option to continue their subscription plan until the date they have paid for it or leave your membership site immediately.
You don’t want to restrict access to premium content for users when they click on the “Cancel” button. This can cause them never to trust your brand again or recommend your membership site to their peers. Instead, it’s you should let users enjoy the premium content until their subscription date, so they don’t have to worry about losing money if they decide to cancel or not re-subscribe next month.
#8. Letting go of subscribers without asking them why
Another major mistake when creating a membership cancellation policy is not asking subscribers why they decided to cancel or leave your membership site. This way, you aren’t finding the problem that caused a user to leave to cancel their subscription after deciding to pay you.
While asking subscribers why they decided to cancel can help gather feedback, it’s also a great way to make members feel special and helps enhance your brand image.
It’s important for your business’s growth to make sure your membership site doesn’t have a terrible membership cancellation policy. While you’re already losing sales, with a bad membership cancellation policy, you’ll also leave old subscribers on a bad note.
This discourages users from re-joining your membership site later on while damaging your brand image in front of prospective customers. In addition to this, a bad membership cancelation policy can also cause fraudsters to target your membership site, which can damage your business and result in you losing more money.
Do you know of any other terrible membership cancellation policies? Let us know in the comments box below.