Why Customers Leave Your Subscription Business: Things You Can Learn

why customers leave

Wondering why customers leave? Subscription businesses have dramatically increased in popularity in recent years. About half of consumers now subscribe to at least one media subscription service. And more than 15 percent have signed up for subscription services from ecommerce businesses.

You want your business to be successful over a long period of time. So you need to keep a consistent customer base. It’s not enough to constantly bring in new customers. So learning about your customers and making improvements to keep them happy can have a positive impact on your numbers overall.

why customers leave

Brightback is a customer segmentation tool that allows subscription businesses to easily learn why customers are leaving so you can address their concerns and ultimately improve customer retention. Here are some things to know about this option and what businesses of all types can learn from customers who are planning on leaving.

Benefits of Learning Why Customers Leave

why customers leave

Brightback CEO Guy Marion said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends, “We’re coming to a stage in the industry where it’s no longer good enough to just focus on grow, grow, grow. Retaining customers is the number one way to improve profitability.”

If you run a subscription business, you lose money every time someone hits that unsubscribe button. So pinpoint the reason that customer is leaving. And you may be able to craft a new offer that addresses their concerns and convinces them to stay.

Even if you can’t stop that specific customer from leaving, their concerns may also apply to others. So addressing them could help you prevent even more churn going forward.

This general concept also applies to companies outside of the subscription space. Even without the specific unsubscribe button. Do you regularly survey customers and past customers? How about just digging deep into the reviews and feedback you receive? You may be able to find patterns or areas where your business could improve customer experience. This could ultimately help you turn more people into return customers. And it could improve overall satisfaction.

Common Reasons Why Customers Leave

why customers leave

For subscription based businesses, there are some reasons why customers might leave you can’t do much about. For instance, a customer might simply not have a need for your product or service anymore. Or their budget may have changed. And it won’t allow them to continue paying the monthly or quarterly cost.

However, there are also plenty of instances why customers might leave that you can ultimately address.

why customers leave

Marion says, “Companies are losing customers all the time that they shouldn’t be losing because of a negative customer service interaction or simply not seeing the value in what they’re paying for.”

Some of the most common reasons why customers might leave may include:

  • Insufficient onboarding – If your product or service is complicated and requires some training or explanation, your current materials may not be sufficient in helping them get the full value.
  • Negative customer service experiences – Customers may be frustrated with long wait times when they call your help desk or with lack of helpful responses from your staff, in which case extra training or accountability may be necessary.
  • Lack of value – Some customers might have the budget for your product but simply don’t feel like they’re getting enough out of it to justify the cost, which means an additional offer or add-on may help.
  • High prices – This is similar to lack of value. However, some customers may be more apt to respond to an offer for discounts or deals rather than added content or value.

What to Do About It

If you want to salvage relationships with customers who are attempting to unsubscribe from your product or service, you need to act quickly and address their specific concerns.

Marion says, “You have to break down the reasons and then find quick, actionable solutions you can take. For example, if you have a problem with onboarding, you may need to improve your educational materials and make them less complicated.”

Brightback automates this process. It segments customers and tests various offers to try to keep from unsubscribing. You can create your own custom filters. And then have customers directed toward offer pages that are most relevant to them.

For instance, one might go to a page where they’re offered a better deal, while another might go to a page where they’re offered a digital version of the product they’re subscribed to.

If you’re not a subscription based business or don’t have access to tools that can help you automate this process, you can still try to keep this general idea in mind. Learning from your customers who are leaving can help you better understand the risks that your company faces.

When you know the negatives about your customer experience, you have a better chance to address them and stop them from becoming a problem going forward.

Use regular surveys, reviews, or tools like Brightback. Constantly learn from your customers. This is key. And insights from unhappy customers or those who are at risk of leaving may be especially useful.

Why Customers Leave Summary

Reasons for Customer DepartureExplanationPotential Solutions
Insufficient onboardingCustomers may struggle to understand or utilize the product fully due to lack of effective training or explanatory materials, diminishing the product’s value in their perspective.Enhance educational materials, simplify the onboarding process, or introduce step-by-step guides to help customers get started.
Negative customer service experiencesPoor customer service, such as long wait times or unhelpful staff responses, can frustrate customers and prompt them to unsubscribe.Provide additional training for customer service staff, implement accountability measures, or introduce new customer service channels (e.g., live chat, hotline).
Lack of valueCustomers might perceive that the product's benefits do not justify its cost, even if they can afford it, suggesting they don’t see enough utility or advantage in maintaining the service.Develop additional offers, introduce value-added services or features, or create personalized packages that cater more directly to customer needs.
High pricesSome customers may find the cost too high relative to the value received, or they might be encountering budgetary constraints that force them to reassess their subscriptions.Introduce different pricing tiers, offer discounts or promotional deals, or provide exclusive content or perks to enhance the perceived value.

Image: Depositphotos.com

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.