How to Respond to a Cancellation Email [with templates]

How to Respond to a Cancellation Email [with templates]

Sadly there are times when customers choose to end their relationship with your business. The cancellation email is a chance for your business to craft the perfect response.
Guest Contributor
10 min read
10 min read

In a Nutshell

A great cancellation email can potentially re-engage a customer with your business and win them back. At the very least your customers will appreciate that your business has put effort into ending the relationship and that you care about their feedback. 

Table of Contents

In all the time you get to do business with your customers, hopefully it will be a fruitful and happy relationship. Sadly, most relationships can and do come to and end, for various reasons that may not even be the fault of the business. At such times, there has to be an exchange between the business and the customer to cement the end of the relationship. 

This is where you need cancellation emails to terminate the relationship with the customer and cancel their subscription to your business. When customers submit a cancellation request, they need an acknowledgement of their action to confirm that they are being offboarded. Without a confirmation, customers may think that their subscription is still active and feel the need to contact your support team.

Cancellation emails are a standard response when a customer wishes to move on from the business, so it’s crucial to learn how to respond to a cancellation. 

As well as being a valuable confirmation for your customers, cancellation emails are also an opportunity for you to make a positive impression on your customers who are leaving. You might just be able to win them back, or maybe just leave the doorway open for customers to consider your services again in the future. 

What is a cancellation email?

A cancellation email is a type of transactional email that you send to your customers when they terminate their subscription with your product or service. This email is usually automated and helps to confirm to your customers that their account has been successfully canceled. 

See for yourself

Keeping is the fastest, simplest way to manage customer support right inside Gmail.

Your cancellation email usually contains a “sorry to see you go” type of message along with a request for feedback from your customer about why they have canceled. This is especially important if a customer has experienced a problem with your product or service that might affect other users, and enables you to provide better service in the future. 

It’s a representation of your brand and a way to formally say goodbye to customers who want to leave. 

Many cancellation emails leave the option open for customers to reactivate their account, in case they change their mind about leaving. Your cancellation email might persuade them to come back as future customers if you use the right language and address the root cause of their wish to terminate. 

Why do users cancel their subscriptions?

There are a number of reasons why users might end the business relationship, and not all of them are your business’s fault. It’s impossible to stop all customers from leaving and achieve a customer retention rate of 100%. 

No longer require your services

A customer may have purchased your product for a specific project that has now finished, or their company may have evolved to the point where they no longer require what your service has to offer. It’s not so much anything to do with your product as the client’s needs have changed. 

Can’t afford your prices

Your customer’s budget may have changed and they’re looking for a cheaper solution, or their cancellation may be in response to your recent price increases. Either way, customers can no longer afford your services so they cancel their subscription. 

Company has been shut down

Your customer may have purchased your product on behalf of a company which is now no longer in operation. Naturally, there is no one to pay your subscription fee anymore so your service gets canceled. 

Unhappy with your customer support

If you fail to support your customers adequately then they are likely to cancel their subscription. When customers have problems and issues you need to address them or they will become very dissatisfied with your service. 

Lack of features available

Maybe your product simply doesn’t offer what your customers need and they choose to opt for one of your competitors. This type of cancellation happens when you acquire customers who are not a good fit for your product. 

Doesn’t appreciate the value of your services

Your company may be able to provide a certain level of service to your customer but the customer doesn’t appreciate what you can provide. In this case you have failed to educate the customer about the value of your product. 

Problems with the product

This is the most severe reason that customers cancel their subscription and happens when they have experienced serious problems, glitches, or other technical issues that impact their ability to use the product. You need to address these issues or you will have high numbers of customers canceling their service. 

How to respond to a cancellation email

There are a number of best practices you can follow when crafting cancellation emails for your customers. 

1. Use a personal account to send cancellation emails

Your cancellation emails won’t seem very meaningful if they come from a generic email address. If possible, use the address of an actual person who works in your company, such as a Customer Success Manager or the founder. A message from a person will capture your customer’s attention and give them someone to respond to if they have any feedback. 

2. Seek clarification from the customer

We’ve gone through the reasons why customers might trigger a cancellation email, so it’s your job to find out why in each and every situation a customer cancels. You’ll need to understand the reason in case it’s something that can be fixed, or you can use the information to improve the future experience of other customers. 

3. Offer a way back in

Some cancellation emails may be triggered by accident and the customer wishes to reactivate their account. Or perhaps they found your cancellation email so persuasive that they have changed their mind about leaving. Either way, make it easy for your customers to find their way back in without too much trouble. 

4. Demonstrate to customers that you care

Show your customers that you still care about them even though they’re not going to be a customer anymore with the personal touch. Demonstrate a level of commitment that goes beyond the transactional and share helpful resources and ways to be successful in the future. You shouldn’t go into too much detail but make sure your cancellation email is personalized and caring. 

5. Follow up one-on-one with high priority customers

There are some customers that have such a high lifetime value with your business that you’ll want to follow up with them personally when they decide to cancel. Scheduling an offboarding call with one of your agents is a great way to try and win some of these customers back, since they are worth so much to your business. 

6. Keep it short and to the point

Cancellation messages are not the time to start rambling on about your business to your customers and wasting their time. You should keep it short and to the point so customers are not distracted from the leaving process. Customers are much more likely to read your cancellation email if it’s not too long. 

7. Say more than just “farewell”

Your cancellation email shouldn’t be so short that you fail to include the relevant information about the next steps of the process. You need to let customers know whether there’s any further action they need to take, when their subscription will be terminated, and give them a way to leave feedback about the reason they’ve canceled. 

8. Consider the subject lines

Sending a cancellation email works better when you put consideration into the subject lines. You should keep the subject line short and make it something obvious, like “Sorry to see you go”. Customers want immediate confirmation that they have succeeded in canceling their subscription, and you’ll want to maximize the chance that the customer will open your email. 

3 customer cancellation email templates

Canceling a membership email

Hi [Customer Name],

We really appreciate you being a member of [Membership Organization]. 
Your membership will be deactivated on [date] according to your 
instructions.

Please note that we’d be thrilled to have you back at any time, 
but there’s no hard feelings if we’re not a good fit for you 
right now. 

If anything ever changes, or you didn’t mean to cancel 
your membership, don’t worry! You can reactivate your 
membership whenever you like to take advantage of 
[key membership benefits].

Restart Membership

Our team is always available if you ever need help with 
anything or have questions. Check out these self-service 
articles or reach out to our support team. 

Take care!

[YOUR SIGNATURE]

Subscription cancelation email

Hi [Customer Name],

We really appreciate you being a customer of [Brand] 
for as long as you have. In response to your request, 
we have canceled your subscription, and no further 
payments will be taken on your account.

Before you go, we hope you’ll consider sharing your 
thoughts about doing business with us and tell us 
what you think we can do better.

Take me to the Survey

Don’t worry – you’ll still be able to log into 
your account and view your [data/message history/free 
features], and so on. We’re always happy to welcome 
you back if you do change your mind, and remember that 
you can reactivate your account at any time.

All the very best for the future!

[YOUR SIGNATURE]

SaaS subscription cancelation email 

Hi [Customer Name],

We have now canceled your subscription to 
[Company Name].

It makes us sad that you’re leaving but we totally 
understand! If you could take a moment to help us 
make our [product/service] better, it would be great 
if you took part in our short survey. 

Why did you cancel your subscription to [Company Name]? 
(Tick all that apply):

[ ] The product didn’t work properly, and it didn’t 
help me to achieve my goals
[ ] There’s no way to connect it with the other tools we use
[ ] Your team failed to support me in using the product
[ ] It doesn’t offer the features I expected from the product
[ ] The product took too long to learn
[ ] I can’t afford the product

My organization doesn’t exist anymore

Other

Do you know which alternative solution (if any) that 
you will use in the future, and if so could you share it with us?

How can we make our product better?

All the best,

[YOUR SIGNATURE]

Using cancellation emails to your advantage

Needing to send a cancellation email to a customer is not the end of the world. While these emails are indeed transactional, they can be used as a moment to express your brand’s personality and show your customer that they are valued. 

If you take the time to gather feedback from customers about why they’re leaving, you can use this to improve your service and prevent even more customers from canceling in the future. If you miss this opportunity to reach out to your customers through email, you are leaving potential revenue on the table. 

If you find out that a customer has canceled their subscription due to cost, you can send them special discounts or offers that are time-sensitive. Alternatively, you can recommend a cheaper plan that might be more in line with their budget. 

Cancellation emails are a chance to show customers what they’ll be missing if they cancel and potentially persuade them to reconsider. That’s why you should take full advantage of this transactional email to further your business goals and improve retention.

You can even offer customers the opportunity to pause their subscription rather than completely canceling it.  

Wrapping up

Putting a lot of effort into your cancellation emails is well worth it for businesses who want to retain more customers. It’s bad practice to let a customer leave without saying goodbye, and also means customers might be confused about whether or not they have unsubscribed. 

It’s more professional to provide acknowledgement of a cancellation as well as try to gather feedback from the customer about why they wish to leave. 

A great cancellation email can potentially re-engage a customer with your business and win them back. At the very least your customers will appreciate that your business has put effort into ending the relationship and that you care about their feedback. 

See for yourself

Keeping is the fastest, simplest way to manage customer support right inside Gmail.

There’s no point in feeling resentful if a customer wishes to move on, and it’s critical to lay the foundation for welcoming the customer back in the future. When you leave on good terms and make the cancellation process easy, customers are more likely to recommend your brand to others and leave positive reviews online. 

Catherine Heath
Catherine Heath
Catherine is a content writer and community builder for creative and ethical companies. She is often writing case studies, help documentation, and articles about customer support. Her writing has helped businesses to attract curious audiences and transform them into loyal advocates. You can find more of her work at https://awaywithwords.co.