How to get valuable feedback from customers who cancel your product or service
When you have a free trial, like we do at SERPs for our SEO reporting software, you will have customers who for any number of reasons won’t wish to continue their trial, or become a paid subscriber.
I used to get personally upset at at every single trial or customer cancellation. “How dare they cancel! They don’t know what they are missing!” I would yell at no one. After a few weeks of this, and some prodding from my wife, I realized, “These people wanted to pay for this application. They took time from their day to evaluate this software. Somewhere along the line, we failed them. And I must find out how.”
With this change in mindset, I took a new approach to these cancellations. No matter how painful I would try to get as much info on what happened as possible.
Always give a reason why their feedback is vital to you
The first rule in gathering feedback is that you need to give a reason you so desperately need their feedback. Most people canceling a service actually feel bad about doing so. Remember, they wanted this app, your app, to work for them. So you have to get them out of the mindset that negative feedback will hurt your feelings.
Two examples that get responses
Here’s what I say after processing a cancellation:
“Could I ask why you signed up? Because your feedback really helps us improve the product at this stage”
“Could I ask what you thought of SERPs? Because your feedback is super helpful to us at this early stage”
These two queries are looking for two different gold mines of information. In the first I want to know what attracted them to our SEO software in the first place. What messaging resonated with them? This helps me figure out what features we need to emphasize more in our marketing and what is seemingly most important to customers when they are signing up.
The second query is if I knew the user actively used the app during their trial and yet still decided to cancel. This one isn’t used as much, but is even more important. We convert very highly users who actively use our software during the trial, so if a user is active and doesn’t convert…I want to know their thoughts. More than likely this person has used a number of other SEO reporting tools and usually has some very insightful feedback.
In both questions I give a reason why we need their feedback. It’s a 100% true reason. We’re an early stage startup (everyone likes to help out the new guy). And their feedback really helps us out (true again).
Adding in why the customer should give us feedback has resulted in over half of our cancellations giving us some sort of constructive feedback. It’s amazing how helpful people can be when you just ask correctly, and in a safe manner.