Info about Declined Patrons

Just wanted to weigh in here with a request for the Patreon team.

One of the reasons this situation is so stressful for creators is we all know HOW HARD it is to get a patron to update/come back after their card declines. The patrons that are on top of things and super engaged will fix their cards right away, but the rest of the patrons, who busy with their own lives and stresses and bills are going to be harder to get back up to date and/or keep.

This is the case every month, this issue has just temporarily exacerbated it.

We know you are sending out emails but my fear is how many patrons are getting and reading those emails? Acting on them? (I don’t mean just this month, more as a long term question)

So…can you generate a monthly report with…

  1. Number of declined patrons.
  2. Number of charge attempts.
  3. Number of emails sent that month to each patron regarding payment status.
  4. % of those emails opened.
  5. % of those open emails that were clicked through to the update help article or whatever.
  6. Number of declined pledges updated that month, or deleted or lowered.

This could all be anonymous or it could be in detail. But this info would be a HUGE help for me in where I focus my messaging and time to try and reduce and resolve declines every month. Having it in one report would be more scalable instead of trying to use the dashboard and the patron manager to try and figure it out.

Or we could start to build a decision tree around the data, if the patron never opened four or five emails about payment status…one action would be taken…where if they opened the email but did not click the link they could get an email with a more “direct” subject line…“Please click the link in this email to…”

I think the overall data across creators might yield some insights for patreon as well.

I’m not sure if I am making sense here, but if this sounds like something other creators might be interested please try and rephrase what I am saying.

Please let me know if you have some questions about this, but I think this is a great chance to find some ways to empower creators around declines.

-Drew

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I definitely agree. We find it quite an administrative task each month to try to get a hold of the declined patrons and get them to take appropriate action. I know Patreon always says that they email the patrons, but some of them indicate that the email from us is the first they’ve heard of the problem. There is also a problem of some patrons attempt to resolve the issues and find themselves unable to get it straightened out, which is very frustrating for us to hear, but that’s perhaps another issue . . .

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hi @dearestscooter and @FutilityCloset, thanks for the thoughts. I moved them into a new topic as this seems more of a feature request and I don’t want the conversation to get lost in the other one which is more focused on the issue last week.

I know we could do a better job at letting you know what Patreon does on an average month when payment is declined. To do our best to collect past due bills we:

  • Retry billing daily
  • Email patrons to let them know there was an issue with billing and to reattempt
  • Place a banner on their Patreon page prompting them to update payment info
  • Restrict access to patron only content until past due bills are collected

This article has all this info and a bit more.

As for the monthly report, I can definitely discuss this with the product team.

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Thanks Mindy!

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Every patron i’ve ever messaged about this says they never had a notification from Patreon. This is why I always message every single one of them. But sometimes they never reply or never fix the pledge.

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My lost patrons haven’t come back… I would like you to insist in any possible ways. You know, it is too hard to get new patrons to lose them so easily!
And I really think it is your job to explain them, apologize, etc, and persuade them to come back, not ours. It is more serious when you do it. And you are also losing money!

Thank you!

I finally emailed all my declining patrons yesterday, and all the respondents so far tell me that they had absolutely zero idea they were declining all these months (some of them years)! Very strange. I believe Patreon when they say they contact our patrons (I feel this must be true, since some patrons do eventually sort their payment method out on their own. But the people declining repeatedly for long periods of time haven’t been getting (or noticing?) emails from Patreon. I wonder if it’s because they were patrons from a longer time ago (meaning maybe Patreon started doing the decline emails more recently, and maybe it’s triggered by an initial decline rather than one that’s already been declining? Not sure).

I have a question now: How can I tell if a patron has updated their payment method? I am in the patron manager looking at declined status patrons, but would that tell me who has fixed it, even if the next charge cycle hasn’t happened yet?

many of my declined patrons also never returned. They say they contact them but I doubt it. They also say they retry to collect the money, but the patron manager showed they hadn’t retried a bunch of them for several weeks and after a month they stop trying. They point out all the extra things we could do, but don’t offer any help on their end when they caused the issue. It’s frustrating the customer service side of it is so poor.