Thoughts on The End
Your last impression matters just as mush as the first....
Welcome to 2024! I hope you are entering this year at a good pace and that this newsletter finds you well.
Today, I want to discuss a topic that needs more attention - off-boarding. No, that's not a typo! It may seem weird as a topic to talk about at the start of a year, but now it is as good as ever. And honestly, I've been hearing many people talk about the importance of on-boarding, but enough about when things end.
Why should you care? Well, let's face it. When you decide to leave a service or a long-term subscription, most of us dread it. Why? It's because, as my life experience has taught me, it can be challenging. People are always so welcoming when you join a service. They send you welcome emails, you get an intro to a CSM, and they may even send you a care package.
When you leave, most companies make it impossible. They start to ignore you. You have to follow up on your data. You must navigate some retention calls and face offers of discounts and other promises that should have happened before.
It's why, for example, no matter how much I love to read the Globe and Mail, I will never resubscribe, no matter how low an offer they send me. You can easily subscribe online. But the amount of sludge to cancel is ridiculous. Sludge, for those who don't know, is the opposite of the "nudge" (which you may know) in behavioural interventions to achieve the desired outcome through frictionless design. Sludge is to make it as painful and with as much friction as possible, so you give up.
Most software companies make cancelling challenging. They don't give you the data quickly. And they are making a big mistake.
Here's why off-boarding matters. People may not remember their first experience but will undoubtedly recall their last. Suppose someone asks their opinion of a company that made it difficult. In that case, inevitably, the comment is, "Ya, they do a good job at X, but leaving them was a really painful experience." And when you consider, according to McKinsey, that 40% of subscribers ultimately cancel services - this is something you should plan.
As a community person, you can only be reactive to what happens after a cancellation, but you still have a role to play. So what can you do?
Understand the off-boarding process - what are the procedures, and where you might be able to be of service?
What are the resources they have access to? Are there ways you can help in the community?
Are you being supportive and sensitive to their transition
Are you sharing feedback with internal teams?
Also, as you select platforms to host your community, make sure they make it easy for people to leave if they choose.
Now, let's turn more inward. With any community software vendor you have, look at how they will treat you if you leave. Some things to know beforehand:
Will you get your data out for free?
What format will you get your data in? Is it usable?
What's the SLA (Service Level Agreement) to get your data out?
You wouldn't believe how those three questions get ignored by people signing with vendors and become a real pain afterward. Don't wait until your off-boarding to look into it!
I want to take a moment to thank everyone who bought my book in 2023. I appreciate your support!
Happy community building!