There comes a time when a subscriber may consider canceling a subscription. In fact, nearly 40% of subscribers of any service type​ cancel. More than a third cancel in less than three months, and over half cancel within six, according to a study by McKinsey and Co. So, how can you get subscribers to stick around? Instead of allowing subscribers to churn, you can retain them by enabling them to pause their subscription. 

Why subscribers may want to cancel a subscription

There are a variety of reasons a subscriber may want to cancel their subscription, including:

  • To cut costs

  • Because they aren't using the service as frequently

  • Traveling too much to make use of it

  • Service is seasonal (e.g., a sports streaming service)

Because many of these reasons are temporary, it’s important to provide subscribers with alternatives to outright canceling their subscription. One effective tactic is to give them the option of pausing the service instead.  

Benefits of pausing a subscription

Giving subscribers the ability to pause their subscription is a smart way to avoid voluntary churn and reduce the marketing costs required to win them back at a later time.

FabFitFun does an excellent job when a subscriber expresses intent to cancel their subscription by providing friendly and helpful messaging and options.

Screen Shot 2019-10-31 at 1.29.38 PM Screen Shot 2019-10-31 at 1.30.05 PM

Notice in the second image, the call to action to KEEP SUBSCRIPTION is highlighted, not the cancel option. FabFitFun also places the keep subscription CTA first on the left, as people read from left to right. This is all part of intentional efforts to try to retain the subscriber. 

By providing subscribers options and flexibility, you allow them to address their immediate needs, such as reducing costs, while protecting your bottom line and recurring revenue. 

How pausing a subscription works 

Now that you know why pausing a subscription is important for retention and reducing voluntary churn, we’ll explain how pausing a subscription works. 

When subscribers pause their subscription, the subscription remains active until they reach the end of their current billing period. At that point, the subscription moves into a paused state. Since most subscriptions are paid in advance, this allows subscribers to use the service that they’ve already paid for. Plus, your accounting or finance department doesn’t have to worry about prorating refunds, issuing credits for unused periods of time, or other billing complexities that result from mid-cycle changes.

To learn how to pause a subscription right from your Recurly dashboard, check out this helpful tutorial

Wrap up 

Providing an excellent customer experience is paramount for any business looking to retain subscribers in today’s competitive landscape. Enabling subscribers to pause a subscription is one powerful way to do that.