Do You Run a Membership-based Business? Read This.  

Do you have a membership or community where retention is a key driver in your business? If so, you’re in the right place! Today we’re going to tackle the tricky topic of cancellations and how to handle them with tact.  

The Hard Truth About Cancellations 

If someone requests to cancel their program with you, you’ve likely already lost them. Many companies make it difficult to cancel by requiring a call or a convoluted email process. At this point, it isn’t a retention effort—it’s a customer satisfaction issue. There have likely been signs leading up to this moment that could have been addressed earlier.  

Let’s walk through four strategies you can use to overdeliver and delight your customers to prevent churn.  

1. Tell Them What They Bought 

Never assume your members know exactly what they bought. Your job is to tell them and keep reminding them. Effective communication and marketing should reinforce the value of their purchase throughout their membership. 

2. Provide Proactive Support 

Make it clear from the start how members can address issues before they escalate to cancellation. Provide regular check-ins and clear next steps so there are no “wandering alone in the desert” moments.  

3. Prime Them with Confidence  

Remind your members that they’re in the right place and that you have the expertise to help them succeed. Sharing success stories of others who have been in their shoes can also boost their confidence. 

4. Give Continuous Guidance 

Members need to know their best next step at every stage. Regular updates and clear instructions help keep them on track and engaged. People (read: adults) need more guide rails than you’d think.  

Handling Cancellation Requests 

Despite your best efforts, some members will still want to cancel. But just because they’re canceling doesn’t mean they won’t refer you to their friends or come back later, so it’s in your best interest to make sure the entire process ends on a high note. Accessibility is key. Allow members to cancel easily, but also offer to discuss their decision. This approach respects their time while providing an opportunity for valuable feedback. 

Three Types of Cancellations 

1. Celebratory Cancellations: These members have gained everything they needed from your program. Celebrate their success and keep the door open for future engagement. 

2. Lost Confidence Cancellations: These members need encouragement and a plan to re-engage. This is where you should focus your retention efforts, offering personalized support to get them back on track. 

3. Not a Fit Anymore: Respect their decision and make the process straightforward. Forcing unhappy members to stay can tarnish your community’s reputation and decrease the likelihood of future referrals. 

Final Thoughts on Retention 

Creating a culture where members want to stay starts with effective onboarding and continuous support. When cancellations do occur, handle them with grace and an eye towards future opportunities. Remember, how members leave is just as important as how they start. 

If you really want to hone your retention strategy, I’ve got you covered with tons of resources available from Brand Builders Group.  Our team is dedicated to helping you build an engaged, thriving community.  

Hey there!

I'm AJ Vaden

I am an entrepreneur, lover of all things creative and very proud boy mom. I am into personal development, spreadsheets and have a weird fascination with taxes. I write and talk on personal branding, entrepreneurship, business and life.  

P.S. I love Jesus, and I talk about my faith a lot. Just know that going in.

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