The (not so) free trial subscription method - what do you think?

Hmm, I’m currently waiting for my full refund from Blinkist as I did not mean to subscribe to their £69.99 annual subscription… instead, I meant to sign-up for their ‘free’ 7 day trial only. Now, as a rule, I don’t normally tend to do this sort of thing because a) I find this ‘free but give your credit card details’ way of doing business a bit shonky and unnecessary. What about building trust, building a great affinity with your brand, the great freemium model?? And b) because I’m a bit rubbish at going back to these sorts of things and cancelling. Love you as I do LinkedIn, I’ve inadvertently subscribed to the premium service now on more than one occasion... (although a bit of stealth stalking is always tempting of course).

So the reason I did sign-up for the ‘free’ 7 day trial to Blinkist was because I thought their campaign was pretty good. Both compelling and reassuring, their messaging made me feel safe and confident of an easy opt out option. Also well timed, as there was quite a bit of content around at the time about how great influencers read a certain amount every day. And I guess lastly because as much as I loved the latest Detective Roy Grace book, I probably should be filling my head with more knowledge than his favourite tipple (Albarino).  So it sounded all well and good, but it’s not quite turned out like that and now I’m feeling very out of love/trust with Blinkist. Despite it possibly not being their complete (in the eyes of the law) fault that I didn’t mean to subscribe. 

So what do you all think? A good way to do business or not? I think if you have a great product, have worked hard to create a great brand with your messaging, tone of voice, value propositions etc. got some great and well timed communications out there, you shouldn't have to. And your customers will most definitely love you more, for a lot longer, if they actively signed up and purposely handed over their card details. As opposed to having a percentage of your customer base just there because they forgot to cancel in time.

A final point on how important your brand reputation is - I haven’t properly engaged with the actual Blinkist product yet (I don’t want to appear as an active user on their data in case it further negates my refund request!) - but despite this, I can firmly say I'm definitely not a brand Blinkist fan. If you have a great product don’t let terrible customer experiences ruin all the hard work! 

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