It’s not me, it’s you. Why cancelling is part of CX.

It’s not me, it’s you. Why cancelling is part of CX.


Words by Bart Kuipers
Reading time 3 min

When you think about Customer Experience I’m willing to bet you’ll typically think about the experiences customers have when evaluating a product or service, choosing and buying it, and then actually using it.

Canceling a service or subscription often doesn’t enter into that equation. That makes sense, we don’t want customers to quit. But if we define Customer Experience as the sum of all interactions between customer and company, then sometimes that includes saying goodbye.

And no one likes a messy breakup.

Bart Kuipers

Unfortunately, there are still some companies out there who intentionally make it difficult to leave them, causing a frustrating Customer Experience in the hope of retaining a few of those customers who were already trying to leave.

Allow me to share a personal experience:

Some time ago I subscribed to the Wall Street Journal online. Signup was a breeze; just fill in an email address, credit card info, and billing address online and I was on my way.

The trouble came a few months later after I realized I wasn’t using my subscription enough to justify the cost.

Logged into my account page I searched and searched for a way to cancel my subscription with no success. Finally, I found a help center article stating that to cancel a subscription, I needed to make an actual phone call during office hours.

Now go ahead and call me a millennial for not wanting to make a phone call (you wouldn’t be wrong), but I don’t think to cancel any subscription should be made more difficult than buying it in the first place. And I’m not alone:

Now obviously this is a pain when trying to cancel, but also a reason for some to never subscribe in the first place:

Now I just singled out the Wall Street Journal because of my personal experience, but they are not alone in this. There are plenty of companies out there doing to the same.

Quitting a service is as much a part of the Customer Experience as any other interaction and should be treated as such. In the end, these practices reflect poorly on brands and can shift a customer’s perception from viewing your brand as reliable and trustworthy to downright scammy in an instant. Those views are shared with partners, friends, family, and anyone willing to listen online and that can’t be good for business.


Bart Kuipers

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