I'm sure you've run into the same situation. You subscribed to some monthly service a while ago. Maybe it was $3.99 a month. Maybe it was $99 a month. At first you used it a lot, but as time went on you slowed down and eventually stopped completely. Maybe it wasn't as easy to use as you thought it would be. Maybe it stopped being useful. Maybe it wasn't as much fun anymore. Maybe you found an alternative that was better. Whatever the reason, you just weren't using it.
But you kept paying for it, didn't you? Every month, just like checking in with your parole officer, you find that charge on your credit card.
And you pay it. Through gritted teeth, you pay it.
Oh sure, you TELL yourself you need to cancel the subscription, but for some reason you don't. Another month goes by. Two, three months go by. You keep paying the bill and you HATE it. That stupid company is still getting your money long after you stopped using them!
Why do we do that? The answer is simple and it's a clear example of human nature. Service providers make it super easy and convenient to subscribe and give them our money every month, but they make it REALLY HARD AND INCONVENIENT to cancel. You can subscribe online! You CANNOT cancel online! It's completely painless to provide our credit card number to a website. But if we want to cancel, we have to go through the painful steps of dialing a number…pressing 1 for English…entering our 19-digit account number…re-entering our 19-digit account number…pressing 1 to confirm our 19-digit account number…listening to the entire menu because it changed in the last eight months…trying to figure out if I should press 2 for Support or 3 for Billing…re-entering my 19-digit account number…being told that my call is very important to them…but there is high traffic volume due to a power surge created by a Justin Bieber concert in Indianapolis and my wait will be 51 minutes…then being put on hold and having to actually listen to the Hollywood Strings play a Justin Beiber song…until finally…and worst of all…
…I am connected to a human. Aaack, a HUMAN! I don't want to talk to a human! I know that human will try to talk me out of cancelling and now that my resistance is down from going through all those Press This exercises and Justin Bieber, I might fold under pressure!
But a human does come on the line. She pleasantly introduces herself as Maggie…Maggie with a thick (pick one) Indian/Phillipines/Mexican/Brooklyn/Canadian accent. I meekly explain to Maggie that I want to cancel my subscription. She launches into Retention Mode. I stop her mid-sentence and say, "I'm sorry, Maggie, and I understand this is your job. But please just cancel my account and don't try to resell me."
My 5-Hour Energy kicks in and somehow I stand firm. After her 17th attempt to keep my account and me cutting her off, she finally gives up and agrees to cancel. I hang up, bruised, but triumphant.
Unfortunately, I'm not done. I have ANOTHER subscription I want to cancel.
This one is with 1ShoppingCart. I've been using 1ShoppingCart as my secure checkout system for my products for nine years. Nine years at $99 a month. I've spent over $10,000 with 1ShoppingCart and I am sure they will NOT let me go quietly. But I think I've found a better service and I want to cancel.
I throw down another 5-Hour Energy. I open iTunes and crank the Rocky theme up loud. I stand in front of my mirror and scream, "I can do this!!" over and over. I yell at our deaf cat. I slap my face for good measure. I dial the number.
Dan answers my call after pressing only one button. I explain I want to cancel and why. Dan very pleasantly says, "I can help you with that, but first…"
"Here it comes," I think. I brace myself for the pitch.
But Dan says something different and very, very smart.
"…but first, Mr. Miller, may I apologize up front because I know how much you probably hate this part of the conversation – the part where I'm supposed to try to keep you as a customer. Do you mind if I continue?"
Say what? Dan actually sounds like he means it. Dan also sounds like he's from Milwaukee. I tell him to go ahead.
"Mr. Miller, I think I understand what you're saying and, apparently, you're not the only customer who feels this way. I will arrange for your account to be cancelled immediately, but would it be okay if I send you an email about a new service we're offering that can do what you want and for less money? You can check it out if you want."
Dan kept his word and immediately cancelled my account. He also refunded my last charge. It was easy, quick, and almost painless. I agreed to read his email. And now I'm going to try out their new service and see if I like that one. I may end up back with 1ShoppingCart, after all.
You notice I didn't share the name of the first company, but I did share my 1ShoppingCart experience. I STILL wish they didn't make me call them to cancel, but at least when I did, they made it a tolerable, almost good experience. If only all of them were like that, I probably wouldn't get so freaked out about cancelling. Good for 1ShoppingCart.
Now I only have ONE more call to make today…