Exit [UX] Strategy.


I’ve noticed a trend recently where companies appear to be hiding or omitting paths for users to cancel their accounts and I cannot even begin to tell you how angry this makes me. I’ve started doing some cleanup of my online life and I’ve done a lot of account closings over the past few weeks; the experience I just had with efax takes the cake. I had completely forgot I even had an account with them [shows you how much I used it] until I saw the $169 charge come through on my credit card.

I don’t get it, why are companies trying to hide the exit?  There’s a reason that your customers are leaving you, why make their last experience with you extra shitty? I had to send them an email to cancel my account. They responded by providing me with a phone number to call or a link to chat live with a representative. This is 2013, I barely talk to my mother on the phone these days, so I immediately clicked through to the live chat. Here’s what happened:

Please wait for a site operator to respond. You are currently number 1 of 1 in the queue. Thank you for your patience.
You are now chatting with ‘Victor R.’
Victor R.: Hello, Jacklyn. Welcome to online Fax support. I am Victor Roberts, your online Live Support Representative. How may I assist you?
Jacklyn: Hi Victor. I want to close my efax account.
Victor R.: I am glad to help you. Could you please provide me your fax number, registered email address and billing zip code for verification?
Jacklyn: Sure. The number is [#], my email is [email] and the zip code is [zip].
Victor R.: Thank you for providing your information. Please give me a moment while I pull up your account.
Victor R.: In the meantime, please type the number corresponding to your reason for cancellation:
Victor R.: 1) Moving to another provider
Victor R.: 2) Bought a fax machine
Victor R.: 3) Business or role changed
Victor R.: 4) Short term project completed
Victor R.: 5) Financial reasons
Victor R.: 6) Problems with faxing or billing
Victor R.: 7) Dissatisfied with quality of service
Victor R.: 8) Too costly
Jacklyn: 8
Victor R.: I completely understand your wish to discontinue. I’d like to suggest that you make use of our service at least for the period you have paid for, so that you can receive and send any pending faxes. This will also ensure that you make the maximum utilization of our service. The usage charges for sending faxes are applicable.
Victor R.: Jacklyn, all you need to do is to just contact us once at the end of your current annual billing cycle.
Jacklyn: No thank you. I do not want to continue the service at all.
Jacklyn: I didn’t even know I was still signed up for the service until I saw the charge on my credit card. I do not use it and therefore do not need it in any way.
Victor R.: Please remember once this number is closed, your number will be reassigned and you will no longer have access to any new faxes sent to you at this number or have access to faxes stored in your online message center. Would you like to keep your number active till the end of your current annual billing cycle?
Jacklyn: No thank you.
Victor R.: OK, I will go ahead and cancel your account.
Victor R.: Is there anything else I may assist you with?
Jacklyn: No, that is all. Thank you, Victor.
Victor R.: You qualify for a 6 Month Trial of our eVoice service. You will receive 6 months of our eVoice® service free. With eVoice® we’ll give you a toll free number where your clients can be greeted with a professionally recorded greeting which you can script. For example: “thanks for calling xyz company for sales press 1 for support press 2.” When an option is chosen you can customize where you would like the calls to ring, whether it be your cell, office or home phone. This service is included free for 6 months or 500 minutes of usage. After the 6 months it is month to month without any contracts and only US$12.95 per month if you decide to keep it. Would you like an 888, 877, 855 or 866 toll-free prefix for your eVoice® number?
Jacklyn: No, I don’t want that either. Thank you.
Victor R.: Thank you for contacting online Fax support. I hope you found our session helpful. Goodbye and take care.
Chat session has been terminated by the site operator.

Why do companies ever feel like it’s okay to keep trying to sell to me when I’m canceling my account? I really just don’t want to do business with you. Here’s what they could have done to make this experience better for me:

  • Not make me click around endlessly on their website and sift through FAQs to figure out how to close my account THEN jump through hoops to do so.
  • They could have looked at my account and seen that I used in less than 10 times and that most of the faxes I received in the last three years were actually meant for someone completely different and inquired why I never used the service.
  • It would have been a wonderful gesture [and I probably wouldn’t be sitting here complaining to y’all] if they refunded the payment I mistakingly made.
  • Not try to sell me on other products or remind them that I want to cancel my account at the end of my billing cycle. Does that mean there’s an opportunity for them to bill me again?

Had they done any of these things I probably wouldn’t have even taken the time to write this post and I probably wouldn’t hesitate to use them again in the future. I encourage you to consider the experience you’re providing your customers when they decide they no longer have a need for your product or service. It’s equally important and deserves the same amount of thoughtful attention as the rest of your UX strategy.

By the way, if you’re looking for an online faxing service, check out HelloFax. They’re pretty damn cool.


[Photo credit: auntnanny]