7 Signs Your Customer is About to Cancel Their Subscription

We listed 7 signs that a customer is about to cancel their subscription for your SaaS or online course membership or other subscription-based business.
Written by: Tara Horstmeyer

Prevention is better than curing the headache and a loss of revenue comes with churning. If you are operating a SaaS business or running a membership site, it does no good to try to catch the horse after it's bolted, if customers have decided to stop using your service.

Proactivity is the name of the game when reducing customer churn. A great onboarding experience is just the beginning. Keeping an eagle eye on the not-so-obvious signs that your customers are about to leave will help you to leap into action to retain that customer.

An obvious sign that a customer may want to leave is when they are having payment issues. One of the main payment issues is a credit card about to expire. Some customers will take this as an opportunity to cancel their subscription. You can use Dunning Software (or Pre-Dunning Software) to remind your customers that their service is about to end.

However, you can go further and remind customers why they chose to use your service in the first place. Don't just send a bland email saying that their credit cards are about to expire. Instead, sell your services and the benefits to encourage renewal. In this way, you get to keep recurring subscriptions.

Here are some not-so-obvious signs that a customer is about to cancel their subscription for your SaaS membership or subscription-based business.

customer chart

1. Let’s start with no (or low) engagement.

The problem is that engagement can be considered in various ways by different companies. If you look at how many times a customer logs onto your SaaS service, you might think you've hit the jackpot if they're logging in every day. However, true engagement needs to be quality and not quantity.

How do you measure engagement?

You need to look at customer success stories. You need to find out whether your service is giving customers the wins they want in their businesses. If not, continual logging onto your system could mean only that they are frustrated and trying to find something without results.

Find out how logging onto your system is benefiting their business — or the problem you said you could solve.

A good indication that a customer is about to pack their bags comes when you monitor their actions and see that they get halfway through before just abandoning it. Have a look at different customers and what stages they get to. If you find they throw in the towel in the same area, this could mean that they need support.

So, you should proactively contact them, write a blog or put out some content about how to overcome that hurdle. The chances are that they may not be the only customers facing that same difficulty.

2. Your customer isn't even bothering to log on

When customers don't log on, it is the first sign of trouble. It could be that they can’t even be bothered to spend time trying to find the solution to their needs. Maybe they have made up in their minds or are very close to deciding that your service isn't for them. This is where you take proactive action and contact your customers to find out whether there is anything you can do to help them find what they are missing.

Another idea is to start a campaign. It could be via email or social media to get your customers who are not logging on to start re-engaging with your brand. Show them what's new and exciting and tell them you are willing to do whatever it takes to meet their needs.

3. Use help tickets for complaints

A customer complaint is an indication that the person is having trouble with your service. It could be that they are not impressed with your service. Either way, every complaint should be taken seriously in the SaaS, membership site or subscription-based business space. Although you may have solved their complaint, this isn’t the time to think everything is okay. Before moving on, spend time following up with the customer who has made the complaint to make sure they are totally satisfied — not just with that complaint, but with your service overall.

You have to go beyond your knowledge base as it is just the start of customer retention. Although there is information in it, you also need to have someone on hand – preferably via live chat – to talk your customers through a needed solution indicated in a complaint.

Just referring them to the knowledge base isn't good enough. They may already have consulted the knowledge base, but didn't understand or felt they needed a more personalized approach.

After the complaint has been resolved, show customers that they are on your radar for the right reasons and you will continue to address their complaints. Consider putting out a message using your contacts and creating a campaign around recurring issues to point out what you have done, so customers can see your responsiveness.

4. Check out the FAQ page or the cancellation page

You should determine whether your users visit the FAQ and cancellation pages frequently. You can use software, like FullStory, to see where your customers are going on your website.

If you keep seeing that certain customers are visiting your FAQ page, find out which FAQs are the most popular, then design a campaign around them to clear up any misunderstandings. For example, if your FAQs are in text, create a quick video demo to show people how to actually deal with the problem.

When visitors to your software or membership site are looking at the cancellation page, they are posting their intent to leave or cancel their subscription. Visiting the cancellation page means that your customer requires some tender loving care.

Show them that you value them and find out what the issues are and why they may be considering leaving your service. In other words, what are they not happy with and what can be improved? Then, do your best to put their minds at ease that you're on it and will be able to deliver on what they expect.

customer frustrated

5. Customers aren't getting what they want

Updating SaaS software takes a lot of time and consideration. Ideally, you will have contacted your customers to find out what they want, what new improvements they would like and which issues they want resolved. If you are making implementations without sending your customers requests for information about what they'd like to see next, then you are missing a big chunk of the action and are taking a risk with customers leaving in hordes.

Have a feature request button or email where your customers can ask for a different feature and monitor it – Don't just have it as a window dressing.

If one or two feature requests keep coming up all the time, make sure you at least look into the feasibility of including them in your software.

Chances are that some of your competitors have already included these features — and your customers will not hesitate to jump ship to get them, especially if they have asked you for them time and time again.

You also need to figure out how to improve your most popular features. Again, monitoring customer usage will tell you which features are used the most. Focus on improving and streamlining those features to provide a better customer experience.

6. Negative reviews

Negative reviews should be a huge red flag but, unfortunately, they often aren’t. Your job is to stay on top of monitoring the reviews of your SaaS product, your membership site or subscription-based product or course offering. If you’re getting an influx of negative reviews, it's time to take the right action. Negative reviews will not only affect your current customers, but will also put off any new ones from subscribing to your service - 22% of customers will refuse to buy a product if they read one negative review.

If the negative reviews come from social media or any other identifying account, make it your duty to reach out to these people personally and publicly, showing you are addressing their concerns and issues. Always aim to address negative reviews publicly as new and potential customers want to see that you care. They want to see that you take into consideration customer needs, desires and problems. Doing this openly will show that you are committed to keeping your customers happy.

Not only addressing negative reviews publicly, but also fixing the problem may reverse their impact. Ideally, you want the customer who left the negative review to go back and comment that, although they had a negative experience, you have done everything you can to fix the issue and all is well in the world again.

7. Focus on retention

For SaaS businesses and subscription and membership sites, conversion is the name of the game. There's an eagle-eyed focus on getting customers. However, practical and proven ways to boost customer retention should also be at the top of the list. This will save you from running on the recruitment conversion and retention treadmill of one off, one on, one off, one on...

You need to allocate the right amount of time to understanding what your users need when they sign-up for your services and why they leave if they are not met.

Different things that will help retain customers include special offers, loyalty programs, giving relevant and useful information on using your product and improving their business (or lives) in general. You also need to have a personal touch when dealing with customers to show them you are grateful for their services and love having them onboard.

If you have missed the not-so-obvious signs indicated above and your customer has canceled, you need to take every action to encourage them to come back. But before this happens, if the customer’s credit card has failed, ensure you inform them about the failure and are willing to reinstate the payment.

For this, you need a solution far more sophisticated than just Dunning. While Dunning could be the first step in reinstating failed payments, you truly need a full-time focus on getting payments reinstated in order to get customers back on track.

At Gravy, we provide a full-time focus on putting a human face on payment recovery. No longer will your customers just be getting automated emails. Instead, they will see that, although you are dealing with a delicate issue like payment failure, you have empathy for your customers and deal with them in the right way.

Contact us today to book a chat and find out how we can help boost your customer retention strategy by using our full-time focus retention specialists who are passionate about recovering recurring payments — and customer loyalty — for you and your business.

Start Recovering
Failed Payments Today.
More From Gravy