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How not to build an unsubscribe process

This week I discovered a prime example of bad customer service when trying to unsubscribe from Lego’s newsletter. I thought it was worth sharing because, as you can see below, the process is not at all user friendly, compared with the much better process devised by book retailer Waterstones.

The problem for Lego is that it is likely to anger customers with the process it has designed, which is clearly not a good thing for any company.

Lego unsubscribe process 1

In the footer of the Legoshop newsletter, the text in the image above all looks above board. It is very good practice to include the address the email was sent to because many people have multiple addresses and they use forwarders or group mail boxes to receive email from all of them.

The unsubscribe instruction also appears to be simple. Click the unsubscribe link – but that’s when things go awry.

Lego unsubscribe screen - step 1 - asking you to subscribe, rather than unsubscribe.
When you click the link you are taken to a screen asking for your email address, and suggesting you want to subscribe. In order to unsubscribe, you have to first tell Lego your email address to get into their system, then tick a box to change your preferences. Fair enough, to a point, but this process takes several screens.

Legoshop unsubscribe process - second screen asks for your ageNow the poor subscriber, after giving their email address, has to put in their age before they can progress further.

Legoshop unsubscribe process - select countryStill not there yet. It asks you for your country.

Lego unsubscribe preferences screen
Then you are taken to a page showing the various Lego newsletters, and the one(s) you are subscribed to show as ticked. Now you can untick one or more, click Submit to update your preferences.

Now let’s compare this rigmarole with Waterstones. First, the email newsletter contains unsubscription small print that is fairly clear.

Waterstones unsubscription text for email newslettersThe email offers two links – one to manage your subscriptions and one to just unsubscribe. I don’t know why because they both open the same page, but at least the message is clear.

Waterstones unsubscription pageAs soon as you click to unsubscribe from within the email newsletter, Waterstones takes you straight to the page featured above. This page shows you the subscriber options, asks you to input your email address and then lets you say yes or no to any category, or you can make sure the general subscriber box is unticked.

One click to get there, less than a few seconds to unsubscribe. Why does Lego make you jump through so many hoops?

Further reading

See more examples of unsubscription processes.

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