You Win Some, You Lose Some

21 Mar 2012

You work rigorously at getting your product shipped and aquiring customers. Then, after a month, all of a sudden you start seeing cancellations. This is one of the most frustrating parts of running a SaaS business. To add to the wound you don’t know why people cancel; UNLESS you ask them.

We recently did a compilation of all the reasons why customers cancel their subscription for our app DeskAway. It is heartbreaking to see them go but that’s how life is — you win some, you lose some.

(in random order)

Lack of features

One of the biggest drawbacks is that there is no task dependency. Our projects are complex and we are used to this.

This is one of the most common reason why people cancel. People want stuff that you don’t have. They subscribed thinking you may develop the feature but quit if they don’t see it happen. I have learnt that you can’t please everyone when running a SaaS business. I do believe in a feature-rich app (less is always less, more is great) but adding features (just to please customers) that don’t gel with the vision of your app is a strict no-no.

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” — Bill Cosby

Lack of adoption

It did not seem prudent to continue to spend money on something that was not being used. There was a very slow adoption rate on our side and we should have pushed more. We may revisit your product in the future.

This is common with collaborative apps — when you need a commitment to use from everyone in the team. I feel this has been the biggest challenge. Teams that use project management tools (as opposed to the ones that are satisfied with collaborating over email) have a different attitude and understanding towards using a system-driven approach to getting work done. They care about being on top of their work and having a transparent and smooth workflow.

I want a swiss-army knife

It’s great for project management; but I also need customer management. If it was more widget/gadget based, it may have met our needs.

This somewhat ties in with the lack of features point above. People pay for the app but realize that they want CRM, Email Marketing and a gazzilion other things. There is nothing you can do here but to wish them good luck cause they are definitely not your target audience (unless if you plan to bloat your app).

Closing down the company

We cancelled because we are moving towards closing down the company and I was very happy with your product. We used it all the time.

Absolutely nothing that you can do here. Hope that everyone using your tool starts their own venture (or join other companies) and yours is the solution they choose to use.

Using a competitor’s product

We are now using INSERT COMPETITOR that is free. It offers very little support in providing multiple project / team management, but my it fits very well into my teams ideas of what an individual task management app should do. So through diplomatic process, we’ve been using it and I’ve been supplementing it with other apps. I researched A LOT of project management apps out there and was happy with my choice to initially choose DeskAway.

Most people jump ship if they see something that is free. That is ok and we are completly fine with that. In this world you get what you pay for.

What we were working on is ‘frozen’

It has nothing to do with your service, the project is frozen so currently I do not use it.

Perfectly fine. We have seen people restart their subscriptions once their projects get a go-ahead.

Budget Cuts

I liked your product/service. It’s just really tight right now and I had to make cuts.

We started out thinking that with such a low price-point there is no way companies will find us expensive. However, when you are talking about tiny teams of 2–5 people even $25 a month is an accountable monthly expense. Allow these teams to downgrade to a free plan and still use the app.

The app evangelist left the company

“It was simply that as a group we were not using it. This was not due to the lack of the deskaway project but more changes in our operational procedures.”

There are some companies that have one designated person that acts as a project manager and drives the adoption of the app within the teams. When he is gone things come falling apart.

I am paying for trying it

Yes, we have had people who would pay for the app even though we have a free 30-day trial. They would discontinue if it did not fit their needs for the above reasons.

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