Customer service: Unsubscribing from email should not be this hard

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I’m very protective of my inbox. Think mama bear ? and her cubs protective. Or an offensive lineman and his quarterback.

I have no time for crap or irrelevant emails at all. So I appreciate when it’s easy to unsubscribe. iPhone functions and the Gmail App features make that simpler than ever. You click unsubscribe and the rest is automagic.

Well, sometimes. Other times clicking that button will get you to an opt-out page. Sometimes those pages are designed to get you to give up trying to unsubscribe. That’s not customer (or audience) focused.

Here’s one such example that I ran across. (Don’t even ask my why I’m getting these to begin with).

To unsubscribe, I have to:

  • Type in my email (which one?)
  • Check a box to unsubscribe
  • Then verify that I’m not a robot

Please! That’s overkill!

I made an animated Instagram Story out of the above, by the way:

Maybe there are reasons why that’s a three-step process, but I’m not seeing them. It seems overkill.

Just let me unsubscribe.


The other day I was trying to cancel a service I was paying for and they made me jump through just as many hoops and even sent a confirmation code to cancel. That code took forever to arrive, too. Whoa. Talk about hurdles.

On the flip side, we have services like Hulu and Netflix that basically allow me to cancel each month and renew again the following month. Thank you.

And I do that when it fits my current needs. Sometimes I keep them both.

But the process – to cancel and to start – is simple.

That’s not always the case – unfortunately.


For example, I had a paid subscription to a couple of media companies. At least one of them you can’t even cancel online.

You have to call! On the phone. Crazy.


Can we agree that making it easy for customers to engage with us is a basic principle of being customer-focused?

I hope so.

I know we want to bind people to us. Yes, it’s a competitive market out there. Maybe more than ever. But let’s make the experience for our customers, prospects and others simple and easy.

In the world of choice, make it easy for people to leave and to come back.

If somebody really wants to leave and unsubscribe, let them. And then maybe serve them a remarketing ad of more relevant content to entice them to come back. ?

I know why that’s not the first option for marketers! Because the ad costs money and the long workflow costs nothing.

In theory. But who wants to do business with annoying businesses?

I don’t and I’ve stopped buying things from those businesses. There’s one that comes to mind locally and I will not buy anything from them. They could give it away for half and I wouldn’t. If it’s free? I’d consider it.

That business still sends me emails and didn’t let me unsubscribe either. I just delegated them to my junk and see them in there once in a while.


But of course these strategies work when you have a ton of people in the top of your marketing funnel, which is why email marketers do this kind of thing.

Annoying marketing tactics will stop when they stop working.

But yet, I’d recommend that marketers consider making the process easy for the end user. Provide value and people will stick around.