How Dropbox handles downgrades

By Ramy Khuffash

While going through the main user flows in Dropbox, one stood out to me.

Plenty of companies require you to contact support to downgrade from a paid tier to a free one and the rest tend to make you jump though hoops, but the way Dropbox handled it seemed very deliberate and I can only assume it's been tested rigorously.

Below, I go through how Dropbox handles downgrades, with some notes on what I liked & didn't like:

The first warning

Dropbox downgrade account step 1

When you start the process by clicking on "Cancel plan" in the settings menu, you're taken to the first warning. This is an expected reminder of what happens to your account when you downgrade.

You don't want to do this

Dropbox downgrade account step 2

At the bottom of the page that explains what happens when you downgrade, things start to get interesting. There are four options that you can continue with; the two most prominent being "Contact dropbox support" and "Change my Dropbox plan" (which only lets you upgrade or change the billing period).

The option to continue with the downgrade is de-emphasized. While I'm sure this reduces the amount of downgrades, it makes it seem like a more daunting decision, which is probably unnecessary. I can't imagine upgrading again would be that tough if I regretted the downgrade.


Dropbox downgrade account step 3

Now we're asked why we want to downgrade. Once we pick a reason (which is required to continue), we have to pick from a sub-reason. This is fairly standard practice, although more detailed than what I've come across before.

Overcoming your objection

Here's where I think it gets really smart. After you've told them why you're downgrading, you land on a page that gives your reasons not to downgrade based on that reason. I imagine plenty of time was spent talking with users and testing to learn all the reasons people downgrade and what worked to persuade them not to.

In this case, because we mentioned that we wanted to downgrade because of the price, they even use the opportunity to prompt us to switch to the annual plan!

That would indeed save us some money in the long run, but it would also be something they wanted us to do whether we were in the process of downgrading or not. Pretty clever, really.

I still don't like the fact that the option to continue with the downgrade is de-emphasized, but overall, I think this objection handling approach is smart.

Now we've managed to downgrade our account, we can sit back and reflect on that process.

What I liked about it is it didn't involve contacting support, but gave Dropbox enough information to know where they could improve. When balancing the user experience and the business goals, I think this is almost the ideal setup for self service cancellations. The objection handling part is super smart and very well done.

What I didn't like was the de-emphasizing of the buttons most people probably wanted to click. After reading all of the information and reasons not to downgrade, I don't think I should be made to feel like I'm still clicking the wrong button.

Overall, this was an impressive flow and there's clearly a lot of thought going into it.

If you want to see the full, annotated recording of this user flow and hundreds more, you should sign up to Page Flows.

Get user flow videos of proven products in your inbox at most once a week