Auto-renew is some bullshit. Or it can be, without sufficient communication between parties.
Allow me run through some recent real-world examples…
When you lease a domain from GoDaddy, the default setting is set to auto-renew on an annual basis. You have to manually change the setting, if you want to be prompted to renew, which is something many GoDaddy customers may forget to do, myself included. Thankfully, GoDaddy has a helpful call center, where real employees of the company are ready to solve problems (and reverse charges) for customers.
On another front, SiriusXM charged me for six months of listening the other day, which surprised me because there was no notification that the charge was pending. How hard it is to pro-actively reach out to the customer with a heads up email or text? If you care about positive customer experiences, it’s not that hard. Thankfully, I want satellite radio in the car, so I had no problem with the charge, just the lack of communication around it.
This morning, I looked at my bank statement and noticed a charge for $105 from Ivy Exec. I recently applied for a membership there, and was accepted into their online community, but I don’t recall agreeing to a premium paid account. They removed the charges when I called to cancel.
Now, let me point to a company that manages subscriptions the right way:
We’re sending a quick note to let you know the next payment date for your Flickr Pro subscription is November 13th, 2014. Your payment will be charged automatically.
To see all the Flickr Pro benefits visit https://www.flickr.com/help/limits/#150582914
Thank you, Yahoo! I am happy to renew and happy to be given a heads up.
Companies that opt to not notify their customers in advance about recurring charges may fear losing subscribers. Fear destroys, is my answer to that.
How do you keep a customer and earn their loyalty? Not by any form of deceit or slight of hand, that’s for sure.