Feb 28, 2010

Unsubscribe Survey Added To MailChimp

When we launched v5, we added surveys to all unsubscribe forms, so that your readers can tell you why they’re leaving your list. It’s just a simple, multiple choice form. Unsubscribers can also submit their own reason if they select the "other" choice. Looks something like this:


For example, I sent this MailChimp Newsletter to a little over 10,000 recipients a week ago, and 48 people have since unsubscribed.

To see the reasons, I go to my campaign’s report, click on the "unsubscribes" link:


and you’ll see everybody that unsubscribed after receiving that campaign, and why.

Notice these stats are downloadable to Excel spreadsheet.

Hmm, when I downloaded my unsub-reasons, I sorted by the "Member Rating" column. This is our measure of engagement, and I just think it’s weird to see that my most engaged subscribers would choose to unsubscribe.


Turns out they were also some of my most enRAGED customers. Check out some of their reasons for leaving:


this, of course, prompted me to check our customer service ticketing system to see what might’ve happened. Nothing there.

So I checked our Abuse Desk ticketing system. Yep, turns out we had to say goodbye to them for some abuse related issues. Guess they weren’t happy with that.

Here’s one where someone was really angry, and said he switched to one of our competitors:


Again, abuse related issues. Backtracking through the tickets, I saw that their campaigns caused problems, our Omnivore system flagged their account, and our abuse desk staff reached out to him and tried to help him resolve the issue. But in the end, the account was closed. Wish we could’ve kept these customers, but we can’t please everybody.

And as you can imagine, when they get a MailChimp newsletter about how happy our little family is over here, they’re not very happy for us. I’m tempted to ask our abuse staff to just unsubscribe anybody from all our newsletters if we have to shut down their account. That would certainly prevent anyone from maliciously reporting us to their ISPs or the spam cops of the world.

In fact, when I search for these members across all my other lists:


I see that these very same (now angry) people had also signed up to receive some of my other newsletters (my MonkeyWrench Newsletter is published on a different schedule than our company newsletter).

Dilemma. I’m planning to send my next MonkeyWrench newsletter within the next few days. Surely, they’ll complain again when they receive that one. They’d almost as likely complain if I unsubscribe them w/out their permission though. Hmm, what to do.

Luckily, MailChimp keeps records of opt-in IP address, along with a timestamp, so we have plenty of proof that they opted in on their own free will. When I click into their profiles, I get their opt-in proof:


This is exactly why we always advocate using the double opt-in method for subscriptions. They can prevent false spam complaints from ruining your deliverability.

As you can see, unsubscribe "exit surveys" can tell you a lot more than whether or not subscribers like your content.