I think Patreon should do what other subscription services do, and that is simply bill the patron / subscriber without otherwise making contact with them. Netflix does not email me every month telling me they are going to be debiting my account. If Patreon did this, retention rates would be much higher, and monthly drop.off after each billing cycle would be much lower. Like you, I dread billing day, knowing that Patreon’s method will lead to a drop in subscribers that is much greater than if Patreon just treated subscribers like adults, and simply billed them.without all the associated hoopla. It is damaging to Patreon’s Creators.
This actually makes so much sense, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before! Hope they implement this, as you say, just like Netflix, etc!
That’s just dishonest. Netflix does this precisely so people are not reminded that maybe they don’t want to stay subscribed. It’s better for the company, not for its subscribers, and it certainly doesn’t sound like the kind of culture being pursued here at Patreon. Everyone here is clamouring for transparency from Patreon for their own sake, but let’s conveniently go quiet on our patrons so they are not reminded they have a choice to stay or leave? Unacceptable. Transparency is for everyone or we don’t deserve it.
I know it’s awful when people cancel their pledge, but they have the right to, and we have to take it like adults. It has nothing to do with “Patreon’s method”, it has solely to do with the fact they don’t want to continue pledging to you for whatever reason. You should be thinking about how to encourage them to stay, not about how to trick them into staying. That’s all this Netflix practice is: a trick. I get a monthly payment reminder from every single company I’m subscribed to or pay bills to (save my council tax); that’s being treated like an adult. Lack of regular communication around payments is a red flag.
@joumana Respectfully disagree - Patreon specifically changed their entire lingo to treat our Patreon page as our ‘Membership Business’.
Since we’re the business owners, it should be up to us to decide whether we want these billing emails to go out to patrons every month - especially since as @evan_der_millner mentioned, NOT sending a billing email has become a common practice throughout the web - Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, Dropbox etc’.
We would certainly prefer if these emails were not sent!
If they can make it so creators decide whether they’re sent out or not, you can do what you want with “your” business, but the reason described above is no less dishonest. Or will you be telling your patrons openly “We prefer you not to get these emails because they give you a chance to unpledge before being charged.” If you’re not planning to be that honest, if you don’t think you owe that kind of respect to your patrons, in my opinion you’re on the wrong site. I’m pretty sure that is not the culture Patreon is trying to nurture. Just because it’s done, doesn’t mean it’s not questionable, or that it’s an appropriate model for this community. You just want it for your own self-interest, not out of mutual interest.
So if the site does goes down that route, Patreon should explain the reason themselves, sitewide and without spin: that some creators felt that the billing reminder was not good for their business. That will go down well and inspire confidence.
It’s also a completely misplaced complaint, because the people who want to leave you will still leave you once they receive their payment notification. To blame your losses on a reminder email and essentially on the messenger, is ludicrous. Wanting to hang on to people who don’t really want to stick around by helping them forget they’re about to be charged, is lazy and lacking in integrity. Find the root of the reason they’re leaving you and improve your service, if it even has anything to do with you, or let them go.
Thanks for the thoughts around this! I created a new topic to keep the one that’s more about emotions around payday separate. Part of our roadmap in Q4 is to review where and how we contact patrons and creators around payments, this is something we’re actively thinking about atm so it’s great to hear you are too
@joumana - no disrespect, but at 14 patrons / $200 pledged per month month, I assume Patreon is not your main source of income. for some of us, Patreon is a full-time job/business, and applying proper business strategies is key for us to be able to keep growing our full-time business on Patreon.
That’s neither here nor there, you’re deflecting from points you can’t refute. Calling it a “proper business strategy” doesn’t make it one. You like others here, are going by the assumption that this site is your cake and only creators matter. Self-absorption notwithstanding, there are three parties involved here: creators, supporters and Patreon. All three have rights and needs. All three must benefit equally, and be treated with the same respect and transparency. Taking advantage any which way is not a Patreon value.
Contrary to your assumption, my art is in fact my full-time job and only source of income. Patreon is not your full-time job; it is a platform that allows you to monetize something you want to do full-time. If you’re incapable of doing this without the platform, and if what’s more a simple site notification can derail your “business growth", you are in no position to question anyone’s grasp of good practices, particularly mine.
The payment reminder is a courtesy, not a requirement. I could go either way, but I do think the current method might cut down on declines by reminding people to update expired cards or addresses, even if it increases cancels. I also see some patrons cancel at reminder time and come back early the next month once they’re ready to be charged.
That said, there’s nothing dishonest in not sending a reminder. Patrons are well aware that they will be charged on the first of every month. No one is hiding it from them or hoping that they’ll forget. Sending a reminder isn’t the norm among subscription services, and excessively reminding people that they’re giving you money could have unintended psychological effects. I mean, getting (1) a reminder, (2) successful payment confirmation, (3) seeing it on your card statement, and (4) having it mentioned by the creator could make it feel like you’re spending more than you really are. But I can’t back that up with scientific data, haha.
You know what would be really awesome??? Patrons could decide to sign up for 1, 3, 6 or 12 months as a Patron of someone. Then if they decide to end it early, they are reimbursed (if they paid in advance for those months), or simply are cancelled - BUT not reminded every month. Perhaps that would solve everyone’s crisis.
For me I have 1100 patrons, and each month, 10% of them are declined. I can’t tell you one business that would be ok losing that many customers, and as sweet and awesome at patreon is, I hope that fix this and treat this as a serious loss to them and us each month.
On an aside, I also support other patreons and I don’t recall ever getting an email saying a payment was about to go through, only a receipt afterward.
Yeah I don’t remember being notified by email either that it’s about to go through. It does show on notifications though ‘we are going to start charging’ etc.
This one is tricky, and I feel there’s a spectrum of options here.
On one end of the spectrum we have cold tactics that increase retention. On the other end we have what’s best and fairest for Patrons.
Retention can be increased by making it difficult to cancel, hiding the cancel option, not sending billing invoices or receipts, making cancellation difficult such as by requiring a phone call, and so on.
What’s best for Patrons includes transparency, fairness, easy self-serve and support when they get stuck, and providing more value than perceived cost.
I aim for the Best For Patrons end of the spectrum. That’s the best way to sustain this long-term.
I agree that invoices trigger a decision moment for Patrons. But I also never want to see Patrons as ATM machines. If they ever feel there’s a cost/value imbalance, I don’t want them brewing resentment or dissatisfaction.
First, however, I’d like Patreon’s help in getting me a good idea on where my Patrons are currently with cost/value.
The number one reason Patrons give is “Financial situation has changed.” Even with my $2 tier. It’s so common that I interpret it as “I don’t want to hurt his feelings, so I’ll say it’s me, not you.”
Perhaps custom exit surveys would help. And Creators could share what surveys have given them the best insights.
But even before exit, I’d like a sense of what my Patrons value and if they feel I’ve delivered that value for the current month. I think that comes down to my education, not more features. I’m researching SaaS retention right now, but haven’t come across anything worth noting so far.
When I ask Patrons, I usually get crickets. The usual highly engaged 1% reply, But the rest remain silent.
So, to conclude, I vote in favour of transparency and fairness with my awesome Patrons, and request Patreon or anyone else to point me to great retention research and insights to help me identify which Patrons are likely to cancel and how to deal with that.
I would love for Patreon to implement this practice!
Personally, I believe they should get the e-mail. If a patron is in a position where they are cancelling, then it can be for a few reasons. 95% of my cancellations are because of financial changes (aka: money becomes tight). It happens, and usually when they get that reminder of “You spent $20 just now.” and they are to the point where they are revaluating their spending, then that reminder is helping them make a good decision on their own behalf. I’m thankful they do that.
I say this as a creator whose livelihood is from patreon and has several generous supporters. My personal philosophy is that the well-being of those giving freely and voluntarily to support your work should not come after your own well-being.
I have had several patrons contact me directly apologizing or asking how “bad off” I would be if they have to withdrawl their pledge. And every single dollar taken away hurts. But not as bad as knowing that someone is going without in order to be able to support me. If someone looks that the e-mail that patreon sends and says “You know, I really probably should save that $5” and then cancels, then they probably are in a situation where they need that $5.
If the patron himself has the chance to opt-out, that’s fine, but I don’t think that the creators or Patreon itself should make that decision for them.
My patrons tend to be a little older, and maybe a little less tech savvy. I would rather have them notified that they’re being charged each month than have to deal with upset emails and refunds because they didn’t understand that Patreon is not like Kickstarter, where you get charged once for each pledge you make.
(Yes, I do projects in both places, and yes, this has been an issue for me in the past.)
Maybe it should be a choice for creators? Have an option to send e-mails as they are or turn them off? Might be a bit difficult depending on the systems that are in place.
I 100% agree with Evan_der_millner I get frustrated about this “email” every time I see the “paying” reminder that appears under my notification feed. It’s not right for Patreon to decide for us to do that. Everyone knows when they have joined how much they are paying and know they will be paying again on the 1st of each month. I have this as the first thing you read on my welcome page, so they all know.
And just like Hulu, Netflix etc there should not be a reminder unless we decide on our own to send it out to our Patrons.
Hi, just an idea… have you considered adding a note to your “welcome page” where everyone sees right away as soon as they login that they get charged on the 1st of each month? I have this written on my front page and the statement about “the charge up front”. I think it works very well. Thanks
I’ve had that sort of thing at the top of my page for going on four years. There are still people who are surprised that what they pledge is charged more than once.
Do you want to keep paying for this?
Are you sure?
Really… you’re still paying?
(and so on…)
We lose patrons on our patron payday despite sharing content before EVERY payday to remind people of what they are getting. I believe it should be up to me to decide if people want monthly emails saying they have been charged.