Easy Exit, Welcome Return

Welcoming couple

As the old adage goes, “If you love someone, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours.” While this is usually spoken in reference to personal relationships, it’s also quite appropriate for the relationship between pay-TV providers and subscribers. With so much competition in the television industry today, customer retention is no easy feat. For fear of losing them, operators are tempted to hold on tight to their subscribers and never let them go. Unfortunately, much like in personal relationships, this strategy rarely proves successful.

Alternatively, savvy operators should opt for playing it cool. If a user wants to cancel, it’s always a good idea to make them an offer, encouraging them to stay. However, if they insist upon leaving, it’s essential to fight the instinct to grip them tighter, and instead, make it very easy for them to not only cancel, but also re-join later. Our research shows that subscribers are more likely to return if the cancellation experience is a good one. As one user from our research put it, “I cancelled Amazon Prime, it was so easy that I went back. If it had been a nightmare, I wouldn’t have returned”. In this post, we’ll outline six subscriber management strategies to ensure cancellation and win back processes are as seamless as possible.

1. A clearly communicated procedure – Display clear contract termination clauses and create a simple process for returning any set top boxes and options for service migration (such as phone numbers, broadband, etc.).

2. A convenient cancellation – For OTT services, the process should include an easy online cancellation process, as well as an option to save the user’s settings or preferences should they come back to the service in the future.

3. A short survey – Operators should conduct an exit survey. This will provide strategic insight for timing the perfect win-back campaign.

4. A streamlined process – If preferences and profile details are retained during the leave process, reactivating a dormant account should be simple and straightforward should a user decide to re-join.

5. A small taster – Free trials serve as a great way to get a former subscriber to start engaging and using the service again. This can be through access to an OTT service for free or can also mean providing hardware, such as new boxes or dongles, to allow free access to a service for a set period of time, later transitioning the user into a paying customer.

6. A warm welcome – For traditional DSAT or cable services that require set top boxes or routers, a dedicated team to ‘welcome back’ users and support the less tech savvy is a great way to ease the return process.

For more tips on how to gracefully lose and win your subscribers back, download our latest ebook ‘Seize the moment: Easy Exit, Welcome Return’.