Just this week, my office mate devoted multiple emails and two frustrated phone calls to an unsuccessful attempt to cancel a subscription box. The process was hard to navigate, and ultimately left her infuriated and not only unlikely to recommend the company, but also probably apt to actively campaign against it.

Luke Chambers, the founder of Raaft, understands these scenarios all too well, and takes a new approach that he believes will ultimately help retain customers or at least let them leave happy. Luke launched Raaft earlier this year with co-founder Cody Rogers. Their startup is one of the early stage companies pitching at EDCO PubTalk tonight.

Cancelling is one option …

Luke describes Raaft as a cancellation solution, essentially taking over the cancellation process for SaaS companies. Raaft aims to ask customers an easy series of questions about why they’re cancelling and then provide them with options that may change their mind.

Luke came upon the idea while he was working as the CTO for Agree.com. There the CEO had challenged the team to examine churn, which Luke says was relatively healthy, and gain some insights into how to retain even more customers. “I did a lot of research into best practices for how to improve the cancellation process, and thought for certain someone had already built a tool that incorporated those.”

No one had. So Chambers set forth to do just that. His solution looks likes this: When a user clicks the cancel button, they’re met with the Raaft interface (which is customizable). They’re asked why they’re cancelling and given multiple choices to easily click—perhaps the product is too expensive or they didn’t really use it.

Then kind of like a choose your own adventure, Raaft offers a quick series of options that address the customer’s problem. It may be as simple as providing a discount or directing them to a product training so that they can take better advantage of their purchase. “We’re trying to get qualitative feedback. Of course, we don’t want people to cancel, but if they do, we’ll handle that as well.”

Your right to cancel

The process is intentionally simple, which is actually a revolutionary approach to handling cancellations. Many subscription businesses don’t make cancelling easy, and that’s on purpose. Consider this viral clip of one person’s experience trying to cancel their cable. It’s insanely difficult. Chambers has a different view that works for customers and companies alike.

“We take the position that it should be a customer’s right to cancel,” he says, adding that it’s actually disrespectful to customers to make it hard. In the end, you want to keep your customers absolutely. But if they’re bent on leaving, you need to dig into why and then address those issues–instead of forcing customers to stick around because cancelling is too much of a pain.

Raaft notifications …

The company already has some beta clients, including Chambers’ former employer Agree. The early results: Making it easier to for customers to cancel, also makes it easier to keep them. Chambers is now working with his early clients to build case studies and hopes to solidify an advisory team by the end of the year.

Good work to Raaft on your progress and good luck. Also my office mate may have a potential lead for you 🙂

Kelly Kearsley

Kelly Kearsley, the co-founder of StartupBend.com, is passionate about startups, entrepreneurship and Bend. In addition to writing this blog, she creates content and manages content projects for global financial companies, tech firms and startups. She began her career as a newspaper journalist and later worked as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in WSJ.com, Money Magazine, CNNMoney, MSNBC and Runner's World. See her work at kellykearsley.contently.com or kellykearsley.com.

You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].
Kelly Kearsley