Tiffany Joy Yamut Author
UpViral Team
November 8, 2016

How KissMetrics Held Me Hostage For 8 Months (And What We Can Learn From It)

How KissMetrics Held Me Hostage For 8 Months (And What We Can Learn From It)

On this episode, Wilco talks about his experience on How Kiss metrics kept him paying $200/month for 8 months in a row without using it.




Hey everyone and welcome back. Today I wanted to share a thought with all of you that has a valuable lesson inside, especially if you're doing something like subscription style basis. If you have some kind of a recurring element going on because if that's the case, if you have a subscription style business then you know it's the most important thing to keep people on, right? You don't want people to cancel your subscription after for example, 3 months. You want to keep them as long as possible into your subscription. I mean, that's the goal, right? That's what's going to make the biggest difference to your bottom line.

Here's the funny thing, just this morning I cancelled a $200 a month subscription which I had for 8 months and I never, ever used it. That's crazy, right? I've been paying $200 a month, I never, ever used it and I had that for 8 months so, that's like $1600 just gone. When I cancelled it, I was thinking like, "How do they get me to do that? Why did I stay for 8 months while usually if I don't use something I cancel it immediately?" I'm not someone who just forgets about it. I always take note about it and if I'm sort of in doubt about whether I'm going to keep on using it, I set a reminder in my calendar for the next month to just think like ask myself, "Do I want to keep on paying for this subscription?" Usually, I don't let the subscription go on forever, I cancel them quite quickly. This time I let it go on for 8 months. That's interesting, right?

This subscription was for Kissmetrics and in case you don't know what it is, basically Kissmetrics is like Google Analytics on steroids. Especially if you have a recurring style business, you can do some really interesting things like, more in depth funnels, or like you can actually track your insurance rate, how many people actually unsubscribe and all of that. There's a lot of awesome things that you can do with it that you can just simply not do with Google Analytics. For that reason, I signed up roughly 8 months ago so, just in the beginning of 2016 and like I said, it started at $200 a month at least when I signed up, then the next plan depending on how much traffic you have, you go I believe it was like $700 a month. It's quite expensive but, as you all know if you don't measure something there's no way to improve it as well. It all starts with measuring to decide what you need to improve.

I remember when I signed up, they had awesome support. I was in the trial period and they could live chat and because there's a big learning curve, and not just that, you're actually needing to implement it into your business so there's a lot of work that you actually have to put it. It's not that you're just going to add in for example, on your website just like with Google Analytics where you just copy paste a single piece of code and you can just set it and basically forget about it. That's not how it works, you actually need to connect it to all your back end systems so you actually need your developers to basically say, "Hey, if someone makes a purchase then you'll actually have to send out a trigger that the purchase has been made, and if they cancel it then another trigger." Not just that but, you actually have to think of all this logic all by yourself.

It's not like a standard format because every business will use it by itself. The point is not like how complicated it is but, the point is that you have to put in a lot of thought and effort into it and even getting started. It's not something you can just do for an evening and you're done. It actually takes a lot of time. What they did that's really, really smart is that they had live support and whatever question I had, they answered it right away and they even jumped on Skype with me to just talk things through, brainstorm about what's possible. They all got me excited about actually implementing it and they helped me in every step of the way which was awesome. This was all during the trial period. At that point I didn't even pay a cent. I remember that was actually an interesting thing as well.

I remember during that conversation at the live chat, at some point I made it clear that I was going to continue with Kissmetrics and I had, I believe it was a 2 week or 4 week trial period but, the trial period was not over. I told them like, "All right, this is definitely, I'm definitely going to use it." He asked me, "Are you sure this is what you're going to use?" "Yes, I'm sure. This is good." I remember that was actually an interesting thing. At that point they charged me, right away they ended my trial period and they just continued in the monthly subscription. Which was kind of odd because I still had a week left or so but anyway, that's another story.

The interesting thing is as soon as I sort of left the trial period and I entered the paid period the live chat was gone. That was the first thing I noticed. I logged in, I wanted to ask something and like boom, now I'm a paid customer and where's the live chat? No, you actually have to go to the support channel and they were not as fast and later on they added the chat back in but, initially they cut to down right after I joined the paid plan. It made me wonder why would they actually invest more into the new customers than who are not even a customer versus those who are already a customer? Now when I'm looking back it actually makes a lot of sense.

One of the reasons why I didn't not want to cancel is because I was heavily, and I mean heavily invested in this platform. I've been spending countless days just to brainstorm about how all of this works. My team had been putting a lot of time into this as well just to see how we can all integrate this and actually building it all out. By doing that because they were hand holding me, they were helping me along the way, and they were motivating me and basically letting me know what the benefits were going to be like, "If you do this, then you can see that, and that, and that." kind of statistics for your business so, that's all kind of awesome and I was like, "Yeah, that is actually kind of awesome. Let's build it out, let's put more time into it."

After a while we had it all set up and now I was invested now, I was invested in the business or in that platform and it was not as easy for me to just say the next month like, "I'm not ... I'll just cancel it." because if it's just money that's fine but, I actually invested a lot of effort and a lot of time into that. That's one thing that's an interesting lesson, if you have a subscription style business, and you can get people to be invested into your business, into your subscription, or if they put some kind of effort and they're going to loose that if they stop, that's a good locket, right?

For example, if you have a page builder and you help people as much as you can to get their business to set up, using your systems then after they spend quite a bit of time on it they're not as likely to stop using it. They want to keep on using it. That goes for a lot of things. Make sure of you have some kind of subscription style basis, make sure to get people as invested as possible into your product, into your service, into your business, whatever you are doing, whatever you're selling to them in order to reduce the chance that they want to stop.

Another thing that I noticed is that I was checking their pricing and that's actually an interesting thing as well. After I signed up, later on they increased their prices. It was actually more expensive to get started. I remember at some point I was actually considering on stopping. I was like, "I haven't really used Kissmetrics in a couple months, I only set it up and it's just a bit too complicated. It's not as easy to grasp so let's just stop it." I went to their website, committed to actually stop the subscription and I remember I was looking at their pricing and the prices pretty much ... not doubled but the entry level I believe it almost doubled. Or at least it was quite a steep increase. It was more expensive than when I started and obviously when I started you sort of got grandfathered into the price that you sign up for. They're not going to increase your monthly rate if they increase the price but, it's just for new customers.

I was looking at their pricing and I knew like if I'm going to cancel and I'm going to change my mind later on, then I'll end up paying even more than I'm paying now. That was actually another thing that kept me from canceling. Because they increased their prices, I didn't want to loose out. I sort of had this fear of losing out because if I would just cancel and later on I would change my mind, then I'd have to pay even more. That's also something that I think is a good lesson to be learned. If you can give your subscribers the fear of missing out if they would cancel, and increasing the price is just one option. Obviously you cannot always keep increasing your prices. Sometimes you can because your business grows, and you add more benefits or, you're getting better at it or, you're getting a better brand or, if you're selling software that you're adding more features to it, obviously you have some things that you can justify a price increase. You cannot do that every single time.

Another example of how you can do that is for example, adding extra benefits after people sign up and have been a subscriber on your subscription based style business for X amount of time. For example, let's say someone joins your business and maybe after 3 months, for every single user regardless of when they joined you want to reach out and say, "Awesome, you've been a member for 3 months. From now on you're going to get X, Y, or Z extra." That should be some kind of extra benefit, an extra service or, maybe priority support or, depending on what you're doing if it's a software some extra features that's only available of your loyal subscribers or whatever it is. Give them something extra that only is available for people who've been inside your subscription style basis for at least 3 months or, maybe 6 months or, maybe even in multiple steps. After 3 months they get something extra, after 6 months they get something extra. Now it actually increases and now they know that if they would ever cancel, and the later on they might change their mind and they want to resubscribe, they're not going to have those benefits. They've actually gathered extra benefits because they have been a loyal subscriber for a long time. That gives them the fear of missing out, if they would decide to cancel.

There's a lot of other ways that you can put in place to get people to be more active or stay on as a subscriber for a longer time. I'm happy to do a podcast about that. There's just so much stuff that we can talk about that. Things like gratification, good onboarding, getting them results as soon as possible. There's a lot of things that will help to reduce your turn rate and to get people to stay subscribed to your subscription style basis business for a longer time. I'll get into that in another episode but, today I really wanted to focus on this thought of what I noticed with Kissmetrics. By making sure that I was heavily invested, I actually put in a lot of effort into getting started with them, that reduced the willingness to actually cancel, and secondly my fear of missing out. In this case they increased the prices and for that reason I didn't want to cancel as well. Altogether, it took me 8 months to cancel a $200 per month subscription which once again is kind of insane because I never, ever used it.

I set it all up and I never really dove into all the statistics because it's just not as easy to grasp. For most of the things that I'm doing, we are using Google Analytics and I just love it, because I'm also heavily invested in that. I'm very familiar with Google Analytics, I'm a bit of what you would say, an "advanced user". I love it. For that reason I never really used Kissmetrics and like I said I've been paying $200 a month for 8 months in a row. I think those are definitely some things that we can all use to basically improve our subscription style basis. I really hope that you enjoyed this and I will talk to you all soon.

"Make sure of you have some kind of subscription style basis, make sure to get people as invested as possible into your product, into your service, into your business, whatever you are doing, whatever you're selling to them in order to reduce the chance that they want to stop."

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