The software as a service (SaaS) industry is projected to reach $195 billion by the end of 2023. But, while the market for subscription-based businesses is booming, even the fastest-growing subscription businesses have to deal with cancellations from time to time.

When a customer says they don’t want to continue using your product or service, you shouldn’t shoot off a perfunctory confirmation. This is your chance to learn more about the customer experience, repair the relationship, and save the subscription. 

In this blog, we’ll explain how subscription cancellation emails fit into the cancellation journey, and why they’re so important. We’ll cover the main components of the message and provide best practices, common mistakes, and email templates you can use. 

By the end, you’ll have a better idea of writing a subscription cancellation email that helps you retain relationships and sometimes even revenue.

What is a Subscription Cancellation Email? 

The path the customer takes to cancel is called the cancellation journey, and the subscription cancellation email is the message you send to customers confirming that they have successfully canceled your service. 

There are many reasons why a customer might choose to cancel their subscription, including: 

  • Poor product or service experience
  • Subscription is too expensive
  • Customer doesn’t use subscription enough
  • Poor product fit
  • Involuntary churn (e.g. expired credit card)
Icons for cancellation reasons

The way you respond to a customer’s decision to cancel is an essential and pivotal stage in the customer relationship. Not only does it give them peace of mind that they won’t be charged again, but it also shapes their perception of your brand and even influences whether they will become customers again.

Above all, a subscription cancellation email should confirm the cancellation, communicate when service will be ended, and leave the customer with a positive impression of the brand. Indeed great emails can even win back lost customers.

Components of an Effective Subscription Cancellation Email

While each company’s emails will differ slightly, they will all include some main components. Like any email, the strength of each email component will help you drive engagement and the desired customer action.

Subject line

Like all subject lines, your subscription cancellation email subject line determines whether someone opens the email at all. Since many email providers will cut off overly long subject lines, keeping your subject lines no longer than 40 characters is best practice.

After a customer ends their subscription, they want confirmation that the cancellation process is complete. Your subject line should be clarified with phrases like “Subscription canceled” or “You have canceled your account.” 

 Email From and Subject Line

(Image Source)

While you can inject some personality (more on that below) into your subject line, don’t get too cute. There’s a fine line between showing that you care about their business and sending a guilt trip.

Cancellation email from LinkedIn

(Image Source)


Once the customer opens the email, the email content should tell them any details they need to know, such as when access to the product will be cut off or how to download any relevant files and materials. The account has been canceled, so there’s no point in making it harder to part ways.

However, your subscription cancellation email content can appeal to any doubts the customer might have about parting ways. You could subtly remind them of your most popular features or tease new functionality coming soon.

While you should present alternatives to cancellation earlier in the process, you can still offer to downgrade or put the customer’s account on hold.

Call to Action

While a subscription cancellation email is traditionally the last stop on the cancellation journey, your email should still give readers a way to connect or take action. This can be an offer to attract them back (or to another one of your products), or you could drive them to subscribe to a newsletter or other content channel.

The goal is to provide an unobtrusive way to maintain the customer relationship. If they choose to opt into a newsletter or other CTA, that’s a good sign that this account could be won back.

Cancellation Email from Postmates

(Image Source)


When it comes to this type of email, your tone can have a significant impact. You can and should express some disappointment at the cancellation but you shouldn’t accuse the customer or try to make them feel guilty.

You want to sound understanding, but also confident that your product might be right for them again soon.

6 Tips for a Great Subscription Cancellation Email 

Here are our top 6 tips for crafting a good subscription cancellation email and some great email examples.

1. Don’t Make Them Wait

Much like a purchase confirmation, a subscription cancellation email should be prompt. The customer wants to know that they’ve completed the process. This gives them peace of mind and also shows your brand is attentive and efficient.

Use triggers when an account changes to automatically send subscription cancellation emails. Chargebee users can create automated retention workflows that use personalization and reason-based offers to save accounts on the verge of consolation. And if the customer can’t be retained, you can send the cancellation email immediately.

2. Keep It Simple and Direct

Don’t leave your customers wondering if they actually canceled the subscription. State plainly that their subscription is canceled. 

And don’t forget to provide them with any important subscription details. For example, when will their access be removed if they already paid for this month?

Cancellation email from Paramount+

(Image Source)

You can include CTAs or requests for feedback, but the most important message is that the cancellation was successful.

3. Personalize Your Emails

Personalization is one way to show that your customer isn’t just an account number in your database. You can start by just using basic email personalization, like adding the customer’s name to the salutation.

Some other details you can use to personalize the email are:

  • How long they’ve been a customer
  • What plan or product they used
  • The account manager they have worked with

If you know why the customer is canceling, you can even reference that in the email. This sends a subtle message that you are listening to their concerns. 

4. Express Emotion and Empathy

Subscription cancellation messages are transactional emails, but that doesn’t mean they have to be robotic or cold. People will feel more attached to the brand if you show there are real people with real emotions at the company. Expressing some disappointment or regret in your cancellation email can show that you care. 

Remember, however, to keep the message centered on the customer. You can acknowledge and validate the customer’s feelings, whether they canceled because money is tight or because of frustration with the service. 

5. Ask Why They Canceled 

You can’t find a solution if you don’t know what the problem is. That’s why you should build opportunities for feedback in the cancellation process. While the customer’s reasons for canceling should come up earlier, an account cancellation email is your last chance to learn what you can do better and how you can retain this customer (and others).

(Image Source)

It’s best to make this request for feedback as simple as possible. Customers will be more likely to respond if the process is quick and easy. Consider a simple multiple-choice question with the option to add more comments.

6. Entice Your Audience With New Features or Benefits

If a customer cancels their subscription, they’re essentially telling you that they aren’t getting enough value from the product to justify the cost. One way to change this is with discounts or special offers, although you can also use these tactics earlier in the cancellation process. Another approach is to tell the reader about new features or benefits you are adding to the subscription, or if you plan to offer new pricing options.

Let’s say, for example, you have an important feature being launched in the next few months. You should definitely tell customers about it in your cancellation email. This not only gives them a reason to reevaluate your offering in the near future, but it also shows your brand is working to improve and delight customers. If a former customer remains subscribed to marketing emails, you could even send a follow-up message when you make improvements.

Subscription Cancellation Email Templates 

Here are some easy-to-use subscription cancellation email templates to help you end positively (and keep accounts open to becoming customers again). Feel free to pick and choose which phrases and ideas work best for your business.

Template 1 — Personalized Message With Resubscribe Discount

Subject: Your [Company Name] account has been canceled

Hi [Customer Name],

Your [Plan Name] subscription has been canceled and you will not be charged again. You’ll still have full access to [Product or Platform] until [End Date]. 

We’re sad to see you go, but we want to thank you for being a part of our community for the past [Length of Subscription]. We’d love to have you back any time.

Finally, we’d love to know how we can better serve our customers. Do you have 5 minutes to give us some quick feedback? Thank you again for using [Product or Platform].


[Account Manager Name]

[Account Manager Title]

P.S. If you change your mind, you can use this link to resubscribe at a 15% discount.

Template 2 — Reason-based Cancellation 

Subject: You’ve canceled your [Company Name] subscription (we’ll miss you)

Hi [Customer Name],

Just letting you know you’ve successfully canceled your [Business Name] subscription. Your account will remain active until [End Date].

You mentioned that one reason you canceled was because [Product or Platform] is missing features that are important to you. We understand, and we want you to know we’re working hard to improve [Product or Platform]. We have some exciting updates coming this year, so click here if you want to be the first to know.

Thank you for being a [Business Name] customer, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you want to reactivate!


The [Business Name] Team

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Subscription Cancellation Emails 

These are some of the most common mistakes you can avoid in your subscription cancellation emails.

Impersonal or Robotic Messages

Email automation is the best way to get your message to customers in a timely manner. But just because an email is automated, that doesn’t mean it has to be impersonal or robotic. As we mentioned in our tips above, you can and should use personalization to customize account cancellation emails.

Your tone also has a big impact on how your email will be received. Your language should sound natural as if someone sat down to write this email just for them. Again, injecting some emotion (or acknowledging the customer’s feelings) can help too.

Negative Tone

You will never win a customer back with a negative tone. But it could make sure they never buy from you again. While it’s good to say you’ll miss the customer, trying to make the customer feel guilty is a losing strategy. Always reread your email to make sure it doesn’t sound angry or resentful. 

Neglecting Cancellation Reasons

First and foremost, you want to provide opportunities in the cancellation process for customers to tell you why they’re leaving. The subscription cancellation email is your last chance to find out why the customer has canceled. 

Make it as easy as possible with a simple form or you can even ask the customer to reply with their reason. If you know why they canceled, you’ll have the information you need to win them back.

Providing No Alternatives

You should proactively offer alternatives and ask why the customer wants to cancel. For cancellation reasons (and responding appropriately), you should also provide alternatives to full cancellation. SaaS businesses in particular usually offer different plans.

Some alternatives to cancellation are:

  • Help the customer change their plan or level of service
  • Allow customers to pause their accounts
  • Offer a short-term discount

When you provide alternatives, you get the chance to address the customer’s issue (cost, product fit, etc.) while keeping the account.

Three ways to stop cancellation

Maximize Retention with Chargebee: Transform Your Cancellation Strategy

  1. Automated and Personalized Email Workflows:
  • Chargebee’s platform allows for automating subscription cancellation emails, ensuring prompt and efficient communication. This aligns with the best practice of not making customers wait for a cancellation confirmation.
  • Personalization features in Chargebee can be used to tailor emails, addressing customers by name and referencing specific details about their subscriptions.
  1. Feedback Collection and Analysis:
  • Chargebee can facilitate accessible feedback collection during cancellation. This helps understand why customers are leaving, an aspect highlighted as crucial in the article.
  • Chargebee’s analytics can then be used to analyze this data, providing insights into common reasons for cancellations and areas for improvement.
  1. Cancel Deflection Worfklows:
  • Chargebee helps you offer alternatives to cancellation by supporting strategies like downgrading plans, pausing subscriptions, or offering discounts, directly addressing customer concerns.
  • Chargebee’s flexible subscription management allows businesses to implement these alternatives easily.
  1. Maintaining Customer Relationships:
  • Chargebee’s features support maintaining a connection with the customer even post-cancellation. For instance, businesses can use Chargebee to manage newsletter subscriptions or other engagement forms, as the article recommends.
  • This keeps the door open for future re-engagement and customer win-back strategies.
  1. Improved Customer Experience:
  • Chargebee’s ability to provide a seamless and positive cancellation experience can leave a lasting good impression, which is vital according to the article’s emphasis on tone and customer perception.
  1. Feature and Update Communication:
  • Chargebee can inform former customers about new features or benefits that might entice them to return, in line with the strategy of using new offerings to attract previous subscribers.

Chargebee’s Impact on Vital Proteins

“Chargebee Retention allowed us to quickly test and improve a neglected part of our flow. No other tool allows for quick testing of 5 different offers to all groups of customers and targeting of those offers to specific groups for optimization.”

-Emily Keyser
(Former) Director of eCommerce Program Management, Vital Proteins

  • Chargebee played a significant role in transforming Vital Proteins’ business by streamlining its subscription management and billing processes.
  • This transformation may have included automating billing cycles, offering flexible subscription plans, and providing detailed analytics on customer behavior and revenue trends.
  • Chargebee’s impact would have helped Vital Proteins retain customers by offering personalized experiences and efficiently managing customer lifecycle events, including cancellations.

In summary, Chargebee’s capabilities in automating and personalizing communication, collecting and analyzing feedback, offering customizable alternatives, and maintaining relationships align well with the best practices for crafting subscription cancellation emails. Its role in transforming Vital Proteins’ business highlights the platform’s effectiveness in enhancing customer retention strategies.

Elevate Your Customer Retention with Chargebee

Ready to transform your subscription management and boost customer retention? Discover how Chargebee’s innovative solutions can revolutionize your approach to subscription cancellations and beyond. 

Start your journey towards improved customer retention today – with Chargebee, you’re not just retaining subscriptions but building lasting customer relationships.