Last week, I cancelled my subscription to a magazine.

This morning, I received their confirmation email.

It was very polite and friendly:

They were sorry to see me go, and of course respected my decision.

They confirmed I’d receive the last issue on November 23.

And that if at any point I wanted to sign up again, I was more than welcome to do so.


THAT’S how you do it right.

The tone of voice of the email almost made me reconsider my decision.


This type of response felt especially refreshing after another example I recently experienced when I cancelled my subscription to Service X.

(It’s not actually called Service X, of course. It’s just a name I picked.

I didn’t write this blog to publicly burn a company down.

I wrote it to share how I experienced their response to my cancellation as an example of how NOT to treat your customers.)


They first of all told me I had to verbally cancel my subscription.

That instantly annoyed me.


Why make me jump through hoops if I want to cancel?

I know why you want to talk to me: you want to talk me out of it.

(And no, it’s NOT because they wanted my feedback on their service or were interested in finding out why I cancelled. They didn’t ask about that in any way, shape or form at any point.)

But OK, whatever, if THAT’S what it takes to cancel, let’s get on with it.

I received not one, but two phone calls AND an email requesting if I could please contact them the very next day after I set the cancellation process in motion.


Which was the second thing that annoyed me.

Whenever I reached out to them before, it took longer for them to respond than it took them to try and talk me out of leaving.

Not good.


The third thing that REALLY massively annoyed me, was everything that was suddenly possible if only I decided to stay:

I could get 3 months subscription for free.

AND I could get a 100 dollar discount per month FOR LIFE if I stayed.

(Which, on a 250 dollar subscription, is a VERY steep discount.)


What! The! Fuck!

That does NOT make me want to stay, yo.

You know how that makes me feel?


Like you’ve been ripping me off and treating me like a stupid dumbass for 4 years.

Like you couldn’t be bothered to listen to me or offer great service when I was still ignorant enough to be your customer.

Boy, you must be laughing your assess of about all those suckers who pay you full price every month. What a losers these faithful customers are!


THAT’S how it makes people feel when you suddenly pull out all the stops to prevent people from leaving.

I understand you don’t like customers to quit.


But instead of suddenly going above and beyond when they cancel, try listening to them and delivering great service while they still ARE your customers.

That works much better.

I would still have cancelled this service because I found a better solution for my type of business.


BUT then I would still have recommended this service to others who could benefit from it.

Now, I won’t recommend it to ANYONE. EVER. AGAIN.


Love your clients and customers. All of them.

It benefits them, it benefits you, and it benefits your business.

Sure, people will still leave, quit or cancel even when you treat them amazingly well.

That’s too bad AND OK at the same time.

You can’t be everything to everyone all the time, and that’s fine.


Treat people well while they are still with you, and lovingly let them go when it’s time for them (or you!) to move on.

That works best for everyone, always.

And people will still love and recommend you, even after they’ve moved on.


© Brigitte van Tuijl


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