Audible.com has a very mature customer acquisition and retention strategy. I originally signed up for Audible after they sponsored of one of my favorite podcasts, This American Life. Audible was offering a free audio book, just to try the service. I decided to try it.
Little did I know that I was entering the Hotel California of software subscription services. I'm not upset with them -- it's more that I'm in awe of their ability to keep me as a customer for a year longer than I expected.
The reality is that Audible is expensive -- around $15/month to be able to purchase one audio book per month. After using up my free month, and then paying for two additional months, I realized I wasn't going to use it enough to justify the cost since I'd only listened to one audio book in a three-month span, and I went to cancel it.
Audible then offered me a deal: Just $5 for me to keep my existing credits for the next year. Since I had two audio books I hadn't read, I took the bait. But I never used those credits so when the renewal came up, I knew I really wanted to cancel.
Here's what the process was like when I just tried to cancel the account:
First, I had to find the "cancel membership" button. It was buried in the "switch membership" section, below the other options:
Next, Audible asked me to select a reason for canceling. And while they were at it, they gave me a number of title suggestions I might like enough to keep me from canceling:
As I soldiered on, Audible sweetened the deal: A free audio book if I kept my membership active at just $9.95/month:
When I still elected to continue canceling, Audible suggested I speak to their customer service reps before I decide that I wanted to cancel for sure:
And finally, even though I'd elected to cancel my account, Audible kept it active just in case I changed my mind:
Now that is one heck of a cancellation process!
Is there anything Audible could have done to keep me as a customer? If they hadn't expired my two audiobook credits, and given me another year at $5 to use them, I would've stayed... reluctantly.
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