Press Pause, Not Stop: The Secret to Retaining Customers Even When They Don't Need You

Master customer retention with subscription pausing – an innovative approach for SaaS success.

You’ve built a great product that solves a real problem for your customers. You’ve acquired them through word-of-mouth, referrals, or paid channels. You’ve grown your revenue and reached product-market fit.

But then, something happens that makes you lose sleep at night.

Your customers start to churn.

They stop using your product, stop paying for it, and stop recommending it to others. They disappear without a trace or a goodbye.

And you’re left wondering: what did I do wrong? How can I get them back? How can I prevent this from happening again?

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

Customer churn is one of the biggest challenges for SaaS companies of all sizes and stages. According to a report by ProfitWell, the average annual churn rate for SaaS companies is 21%, meaning that they lose more than a fifth of their customers every year!

That’s a huge blow to your growth and profitability.

But what if I told you that there’s a simple but effective way to reduce customer churn and increase retention?

A way that doesn’t require you to change your product, pricing, or marketing strategy?

A way that makes your customers happy and loyal, even when they don’t need you?

It’s called pausing subscriptions. And in this article, I’ll show you how it works and why you should use it.

The power of pausing subscriptions

One simple but effective way to reduce customer churn is to let them pause their subscriptions instead of canceling them outright.

This means that they can temporarily stop paying for your product and access it again later when they need it.

Why is this a good idea?

  • It reduces friction and frustration for your customers. They don’t have to go through a complicated cancellation process or feel guilty about wasting money on something they don’t use.
  • It increases loyalty and trust for your brand. You show them that you care about their needs and preferences, and that you’re not just trying to squeeze every penny out of them.
  • It boosts retention and reactivation rates for your business. You keep them in your ecosystem, maintain contact with them, and remind them of the value of your product.

In fact, according to a study by ProfitWell, allowing customers to pause their subscriptions can increase retention by up to 18%!

How to implement pausing subscriptions on your website

So how do you actually let your customers pause their subscriptions?

There are a few things you need to consider:

How long can they pause for? You can set a fixed duration (e.g., one month) or let them choose (e.g., up to six months). You can also limit the number of times they can pause (e.g., once per year) or make it unlimited.
How do they pause? You can make it easy for them by adding a “Pause” button on their account page or sending them an email with a link. You can also require them to contact support or fill out a form if you want more feedback or control.
What happens when they pause? You can either disable their access to your product completely or give them limited access (e.g., view-only mode). You can also keep some features active (e.g., analytics, notifications) or turn everything off.
How do they resume? You can either resume their subscription automatically after the pause period ends or ask them to confirm manually. You can also send them email reminders and incentives before and after the resume date.

The best way to implement pausing subscriptions depends on your product, customer segment, pricing model, and business goals.

But whatever you do, make sure you test it carefully and measure its impact on your key metrics.

Examples of SaaS companies that use pausing subscriptions

Pausing subscriptions is not a new concept. Many SaaS companies have been using it for years with great success.

Here are some examples:

  • Netflix: The streaming giant lets its users pause their membership for up to 10 months without losing their profiles, preferences, watch history, or recommendations.
  • Spotify: The music streaming service lets its users cancel their subscriptions at any time without losing their playlists, followers, or saved music. They can also reactivate it within 14 days without being charged again.
  • Dropbox: The cloud storage provider lets its users cancel their subscriptions at any time without losing their files or folders. They can also downgrade to a free plan with less storage space if they want.
  • Headspace: The meditation app lets its users cancel their subscriptions at any time without losing access to the content they’ve already unlocked. They can also resume it whenever they want with the same price and benefits.

As you can see, these companies have different ways of letting their customers pause their subscriptions while keeping them engaged and satisfied.

You can learn from them and apply what works best for your own product.

Pausing subscriptions is a powerful strategy to reduce customer churn and increase retention.

It shows that you care about your customers’ needs and preferences and that you’re not afraid to let them go when they don’t need you. It also keeps them in your orbit, so you can rekindle their interest and loyalty when they’re ready to return.

If you want to keep your customers from leaving you (even when they don’t need you), consider adding a pausing subscription feature to your website. You might be surprised by how much it can improve your retention and revenue.