Account cancellation truly is one of the most interesting aspects of the user experience for startups. At this moment the user typically has an emotional reaction to something your website did or did not do. At this time they are deciding to leave your site and deactive their account this is potentially the end of what could have been an excellent relationship. Many designers overlook the power of connecting with their members and users at this crucial time. As a result, the unsubscribe user experience has slowly become a piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked and a simple, unproductive element of the site.
Here are the best approaches that I’ve seen and a few of the things they utilized to regain their users attention or at least benefit from them leaving.
Leave with a laugh
Groupon makes users leave with a laugh by showing a video of an employee who apparently thought you would be interested in their service. They ask you if you’d like to punish derrick for adding you to their mailing list and then once you press “Punish Derrick” they do just that. A guy walks in with a cup of water and after criticizing Derrick he goes ahead and throws water in his face. It then goes on to take you to the following frame:
This frame gives you (1) a one click option to resubscribe to groupon and (2) a healthy/humorous guilt trip. Which just happens to be the second most effective way to stop a user from leaving.
Give them a Guilt Trip
On Facebook, when you’re about to deactivate your account, Facebook shows you the faces of some of the friends who are going to miss you when you’re gone. This is blatant guilt trip has clearly been successful as they have continued to improve this page continuously. It went from just being the faces of your friends to being pictures that you and your friends are tagged in together. When it comes to social networking, this idea is hard to beat.
Get some info out of them
Another best practice is getting information from the users who are about to leave. In the frame above it demonstrates a website asking their users who are about to leave why in fact they are deactivating their accounts. This way the owners of the website can track the reasons people are leaving and better optimize their site and model to decrease the number of deactivations.
A key thing to implement with a form like this, would be adding answers to the website that can be associated with their reasons for leaving. That is, If someone selects “I don’t understand how to use this website” a drop-down of text would display beneath the title stating something along the lines of “Website X is quite simple to use. Please watch one of our many How-To videos for more information”.
This post is a slightly revised version of my answer to the question: “What are some UX best practices for Account Cancellation?”