Learning from Churned Subscribers


Getting to the heart of why and when people cancel their subscriptions is key to keeping your customers around longer. Sure, no one loves to see a subscriber go, but each cancellation is a chance to tweak your model and make your subscription even better for everyone.

Here are three simple ways to get started:

1) Conduct a Cohort Analysis

First, conduct a cohort analysis, breaking your subscribers into groups based on their subscription start date. Look at what was happening around those times and consider how it might have influenced their decision to sign up.

For instance, running a big promotion for first-time subscribers may have brought a lot in, but if they're bailing after a couple of months, it might not be the win you thought it was. Keeping an eye on different cohorts and how they behave over time can help you understand what keeps people engaged and subscribed.

2) Figure Out Why People are Leaving

Next, look at the top reasons people are hitting the cancel button (and double-check that the reasons presented to subscribers make sense with what you're offering). Brainstorm ways to tackle each issue head-on.

Say you're a beauty brand and you notice a lot of folks are dropping out because they ended up with too much product. This could be your cue to introduce more flexibility in subscription management and cadence but also highlight an opportunity to reinforce proper product usage recommendations to customers.

Subscription platforms like Recharge allow you to create cancellation flows that map to different use cases and work to keep subscribers engaged. Churn Buster helps create more sophisticated cancellation flows by introducing more opportunities for automation and testing different offers in the same flow.

3) Talk to Your Customers

Never underestimate the power of a good chat. Maybe it's target outreach via email or even jumping on a call. Making regular customer interviews part of what your customer service team does is a fantastic way to continually gather useful insights about your brand. But when it comes to customer who've already decided to leave, talking to them can be even more enlightening.

Finding out why and when a customer decided to cancel—maybe they were planning to all along, or a friend tipped them off about another brand—can give you clues you'd never get from just a cancellation form. Reaching out shows you care about keeping customers happy and can lead you to new ideas on how to make your subscription even better.


This post originally appeared in #69 of The E-Commerce Corner. Subscribe here.

Join My Newsletter

Every Monday, I share weekly themes and progress in running an agency business/team and doing my best to live a good life. Details