How to Use Customer Offboarding to Understand Cancellation Reasons

How to Use Customer Offboarding to Understand Cancellation Reasons

Churn is the symptom of a problem. That's why optimizing your user offboarding process is so important. When you handle user offboarding well, you can discover the reasons behind cancellation attempts and actually use that information to reduce future churn.

We'll talk about what user offboarding is, why you should optimize your offboarding procedure, and what steps you can take to ascertain cancellation reasons during user offboarding. Plus, we’ll share how you can use our offboarding software to build a better cancellation flow.

What does user offboarding mean?

User offboarding is the process of removing a customer from your system when they churn. The user offboarding process is a flow that begins when a user chooses to cancel their subscription to your product or service.

For the majority of SaaS and subscription products, this user journey kicks off anytime someone clicks a “cancel” button. The offboarding process ends when a user has successfully canceled their subscription. Making this process simple and user-friendly is vital, since it can mean the difference between a disgruntled customer and one who leaves your product on a positive note.

What are the different types of user offboarding?

There are three main ways that users will typically be offboarded in a SaaS business. Let’s take a minute to understand the different types of user offboarding.

User pauses their subscription

In many scenarios, subscription pauses are the best-case scenario when it comes to offboarding. If a customer comes in with a strong intention of canceling their subscription, a pause may be your best option.

After all, a pause is always better than a cancellation. A paused subscription can’t be accessed again until the customer resumes payments, but all of the customer’s data will remain intact. Your team doesn't have to do the work of filling up the funnel — they only have to remind your paused customers of the value they're missing while they're not using your product.

User cancels their subscription

Although it varies from business to business, a cancelled subscription typically means that you stop collecting payments from a customer. This state, though, doesn't destroy user data.

That means that a customer may still be able to utilize a free tier and can re-subscribe to a paid tier in the future if they choose.

User deletes their account

There may be situations where a customer doesn’t want the option of ever returning or simply doesn’t want their data to remain intact on your servers, usually for security or privacy reasons.

In this case, your user may choose to fully delete their account and any data they’ve ever created and saved.

Always ensure that your offboarding process makes it clear whether the user needs to take any extra steps to fully delete their entire account.

Why should you optimize the user offboarding process?

It’s easy to view offboarding procedures or cancellation flows as an inherently negative process. But user offboarding can be hugely beneficial to your business, even if you lose a customer at the end of it. In fact, we believe that it's just as important as the onboarding process.

When you optimize user offboarding, you  have the potential to retain that customer and prevent the cancellation from even happening.

If you can discover why they're cancelling and provide them with a solution or targeted offers that incentivize them to stay, then you can save a user that you would have otherwise lost had you not created an optimized offboarding process.

There are always occasions when a customer can’t be saved. But that doesn’t mean that the offboarding process failed. There are numerous benefits to a robust user offboarding process. Optimized user offboarding can yield your customer-facing teams invaluable feedback, leave the user who’s cancelling with a positive impression of your company, increase chances of referrals, and reduce future churn.

So what steps can you take to optimize your user offboarding process and discover the reasons behind the cancellation? Let’s cover a few strategies.

1. Offer personal customer support

Before your users move any further into your offboarding process, give them the option to contact customer support or reach out directly to someone with any questions or issues they may be having.

One of the biggest reasons behind cancellation when it comes to subscription products is difficulty figuring out the product or troubleshooting issues.

By providing your users with the opportunity to speak directly to someone who can help walk them through the product, work out any issues, and clearly demonstrate the best features of the product, you could eliminate any churn that’s simply a result of confusion or frustration.

Plus, having the customer communicate directly with customer support about the issues they’re having gives you valuable information for improving your current product, future product development, and fine-tuning your onboarding so that customers are better prepared to use the product effectively.

2. Provide a user offboarding survey

Information. Information around user disillusionment and cancellation is the most important thing. By getting relevant feedback from users who are cancelling, you can suss out the reasons behind cancellation and gain insight into your overall customer base.

The goal with a pre-defined offboarding survey should be to find out, in the most specific possible way, why users are cancelling so that you can take appropriate action based on the answers provided.

Most offboarding surveys will ask a customer why they cancelled and then offer options they can choose from. The less open-ended you make the question, the more likely customers will engage. You want the offboarding survey to be frictionless and simple — if they want, they should be able to simply click one or two fields and then move on.

In order to accomplish that, it’s important that you provide a comprehensive but not over-long list of cancellation reasons for users to choose from. Here are a few you could include:

  • Too expensive
  • No longer have a need for the product
  • Too complicated
  • Switching to a different provider
  • Wasn’t using the product enough
  • Need features this product doesn’t have
  • Other*

* Note: Consider including an “Other” option with a free form text box, in case a customer is compelled to offer a more detailed explanation beyond the options you’ve provided. You never want to miss out on an opportunity to collect this kind of qualitative data.

Bonus: all this can happen at scale without the necessary intermediary of your customer support team.

3. Test out different processes

The only way to truly optimize your user offboarding procedure is to test out different processes. You won’t necessarily get it exactly right with the first onboarding process you set up. Using A/B testing can help you try out different surveys, different copy, etc. Then you can choose the most optimized, most effective offboarding process.

If you want to make it easier, Churnkey’s cancel flow A/B testing does this for you. We handle the experimentation, deterministically randomizing cancel flow sessions based on customer ID, so all you have to do is pick a winning cancellation flow.

Do you want to optimize your user offboarding process?

We've studied all of the offboarding and churn reduction tactics used by big tech and built a turnkey product for every SaaS, DTC, and e-commerce business. Churnkey uses only the most positive practices so you don't have to think about whether you’re doing the right thing. Just plug us in and grow revenue month over month.

To use our offboarding software and reduce voluntary churn for your business, sign up for Churnkey today or start a chat with us.