You’d think that Which?, self-declared champion for consumer rights and campaigner against poor products & services, would make cancelling their service easy, perhaps a button on the website, wouldn’t you?

You’d be wrong.

If you want to cancel your account you have to email, write, or phone them. You can submit a message through their customer services contact form, but “I’d like to cancel my account” is not one of the standard subjects provided.

I actually googled “how do I cancel my Which? account?”.

This is the sort of behaviour I’d expect from a telecoms company, which lets face it is about the worst insult you can throw at any business.1

It’s long been understood that the strongest impressions we form in any interraction are the first and the last. Making it awkward, time consuming, or comlicated to stop your service leaves me with a bad impression. You could give me years of flawless service, but make closing my account hard, or screw the process up2, and I’ll be a lot less likely to come back.

A service that I know is easy to stop is one I’m more likely to use. Now TV is the perfect example, you can cancel your subscription at any time in a few clicks, it’s so easy to stop that I have no hesitation in starting it up again for a few months. It’s risk free. Not only would I use it again, I would recommend it to friends and family to try, knowing that I’m not getting them into something that’s hard to get out of. I don’t have to be a current user of your service to be an advocate for it.

If you rely on lock-in or customer inertia to sustain your business then you have a problem3. Have some faith in your service, make the process of leaving friendly, smooth and efficient and those will be the impressions I will be left with when I go.

It’s your last chance to impress, make it count.

  1. The only time I’ve ever lost my temper with a call-center person was a Three retentions department employee who wouldn’t take “no, I just don’t need the service anymore” as an answer. It was a long time before I considered using Three again. [return]
  2. I will never again use TalkTalk, not because the product or service was bad when I had it, but because it took them nine months to finally close my account. [return]
  3. I actually think this is Which?’s issue, their business model of long term subscriptions is simply anachronistic. [return]