Contact Us

Brand Marketing Sorry you’re leaving: Are you making a bad last impression?

by Lush Content
email marketing, messaging, branding

When a customer unsubscribes to your newsletter or cancels a membership, it’s quite common to send a “sorry you’re leaving” message. 

The hope is that you can at least send them away with a positive sentiment about your brand so they might return later, if not actually convince them to stay right now. 

But if that’s the case, why are so many brands so spectacularly bad at getting this message correct? 

Is your “sorry you’re leaving” message leaving a bad taste? 

A few months ago I moved house and as a result I had to change gyms. So, I cancelled my gym membership.

The cancellation process was done directly with the branch of the gym I went to. Over the previous few years I’d got to know the staff there really well and we were all sad to be saying farewell. They could not have been lovelier. 

Two months later, the parent company of the gym sent me this email: 

Subject: Sorry you’re leaving. 

Hello Daniel, 

We’re sorry to remind you that you’ll no longer have access to your [company name] services through [gym name]. 

We’d like to remind you that access to your services on [company name] portal will also be lost. These include: 

And the company goes on to list the services I won’t be able to access.


email marketing, messaging, branding

Don’t patronise your customers, even on their way out the door

Here’s where the gym went wrong.

  • “We’re sorry to remind you”. This phrase is disingenuous at best. I received it as patronising and passive aggressive. It’s also not how humans speak. Who on earth wrote this?
  • They neither solicited any feedback nor offered any inducement to stay. In fact, they sent the email from a no-reply email address, which indicates they’re really not interested in feedback. They missed out on the opportunity to understand why I was leaving, to improve their services if I had a complaint, or to sell me their services at one of their other gyms in my new area.
  • They did more damage by sending me this email than if they’d not sent it, which is a total failure of the most basic marketing principles. Until this email, I’d had a good impression of the gym. The parent company’s marketing department (which I’d literally never heard from before) has introduced problems where there were none.


email messaging, marketing, branding

Phrases to include in a “sorry you’re leaving” email to customers 

Here are some phrases I would have liked to have seen, and which you can include in a farewell email to your customers. 

  • We hope you’ve enjoyed our services.
  • We’ve valued having you as a customer.
  • We’d love to welcome you back at some time.
    • Here’s a discount voucher valid for 12 months, in case you change your mind. If you can’t use it, feel free to pass it on to a friend.
    • Contact us at any time on [email/phone] quoting old membership number and we’ll give you a discounted rate whenever you’re ready to return.
  • Did we do something wrong? Let us know, so we can improve.
  • On behalf of the whole team, thanks so much for being a part of the [company name] family. We hope to see you again soon.


email marketing, messaging, branding

Do all of this and your customer still might leave you. After all, I only cancelled my gym membership because it was now a 90-minute round trip and therefore impractical to stay.

But, you can wildly increase the chances of leaving a lasting good impression and, therefore, make it more likely they’ll return to you (or recommend you to someone) in the future. 

If you need help with your email marketing or your brand messaging, get in touch with the team at Lush – The Content Agency. We have experts on hand who can help you get your messages right.

About the author : Lush Content

We like to think we live in the sweet spot, where the logic of good strategy and the magic of great storytelling meet. For us, whether it’s a video, a blog post or a podcast, it’s never just content. It’s content igniting change.

Need help with your email marketing?

Give Bren a call!


Join 5000+ other savvy business owners and sign up to our fortnightly newsletter. You’ll get practical advice, strategies and helpful content marketing resources delivered right into your inbox to make you more effective in your own job and business.