How to announce you're removing or downgrading product features

Disappointing news is disappointing news, people see through most attempts to try to spin it. However, along with being clear about what's changing, you can paint a full picture of the features you still have, so they can weigh everything in their decision about your product.

Written by: Sapphire Li, BA

Communications specialist, 8+ years writing and copywriting for companies
First step: be clear about what's changing

Rewritten and original email: Brim Financial's notice they were increasing their card's foreign exchange fee from 0% to 1.5%

When Brim Financial announced they were increasing their card's foreign exchange fee from 0% to 1.5%, many customers went online to say they'll be canceling their card. Their Mastercard still offered decent cashback on a handful of stores and Boingo's Global Wi-Fi perk which may be reasons for some customers to keep their card at no annual fee. However their email mostly mentioned which features were being downgraded so customers may have focused on this to decide what to do.

While their email served as a legal notice of the changes, you can be clear about what's changing and what other features you still offer, while satisfying legal requirements.

Here's a rewritten email as an example of what you can do and the original email they sent for comparison. Note: this rewritten email is based on publicly available information as of 06/18/24 and only meant to show this approach. It's not exactly what they could have sent since we do not know all of their legal requirements.

Rewritten email Subject: Upcoming changes to your Brim Mastercard
Hello {First name},
Thank you for being a Brim customer. There are important upcoming changes to your:1
・Brim Mastercard® Cardmember Agreement (the "Agreement")

・This governs your use of your Brim Mastercard credit card account (the "Account") and your Brim Mastercard credit card (the "Card").

・Brim Rewards Terms and Conditions (the "Rewards T&Cs")

・This governs your participation in the Brim Open Rewards Program.

What is changing?2
The new foreign exchange fee will be 1.5%.3
・This is lower than many other cards, which charge 2.5%.
You'll earn 1 point for every $2 spent (equivalent to 0.5%).4
・You'll still receive higher cashback from our partners such as 3% for Apple.com purchases and 4% cashback for Microsoft.com purchases.

When will these changes take effect?
These changes to your Agreements with us will take effect 60 days from the date of this email, for purchases made on and after May 18, 2024 (the "Effective Date"). 5

What perks will I continue to have?6
・You will have access to Boingo's Global Wi-Fi:7

・Over 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots in airports, hotels and cafes around the world
・Twelve 90-minute sessions a year on flights from Aer Lingus, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, Virgin Atlantic and WestJet.

・Up to $500 coverage for the loss, theft or damage of your mobile device.
・No annual fee.
・View more perks here.

What legal details do I need to be aware of?8
・These changes apply to your account whether or not you currently have an outstanding balance.
・If you have an outstanding balance on or after the Effective Date, it means you have read, understood and agreed to these changes.
・You can find the meanings of capitalized words used but not defined in this notice in the Agreement.
・View more details on our Legal Documents page, under Notice of Change.

Do I need to take any action?10
・No actions are needed from your side. You can keep using your Brim Mastercard normally, with these changes in mind.

Have questions or need help?10
・You can call us toll-free Monday to Sunday 8am to 11pm EST at:

・ Canada and the US: 1-000-000-0000
・Elsewhere: 1-000-000-0000
・Email us at: {redacted}@brimfinancial.com

Sincerely,
The Brim Team
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1.   If this email serves as a legal notice, it helps to format the agreements that are changing in a bullet point list, compared with going over it in a paragraph which can be harder to read.

2.   Structuring the key points in your email in a questions and answer format can make it easier to scan and understand them.

3.   It helps to format the changes in bullet points so they're easier to read. You want to make it as easy for customers to understand what's changing as possible. If they misunderstand or don't fully read it and make decisions about your product based on this, it might be on them, however it will lead to more grievances and complaints for you later.

4.   Again it helps to explain what's changing in the easiest to understand way. In this case, "earn 1 point for every $2 spent" can be explained as "equivalent to 0.5%". This also lessens questions to support that could have been answered upfront, saving their capacity to solve other concerns and issues.

5.   It's important to be abundantly clear about when and how the changes will take effect. In Brim's case, their original email said these changes would take effect no later than May 18. However, it's unclear if they applied to purchases made before May 18, that are posted on or after May 18.

6.   Mention a few popular features and/or perks you still offer. Since you have been clear about what's changing, this looks less like an attempt to reframe disappointing news. Rather you're painting a full picture of what's changing and what's staying the same so they can weigh everything in their decision about your product.

7.   It helps to give a few examples of what the perk offers, than just naming them. Some customers may not know fully what they're getting out of it.

8.   Mention the other important legal points in a bullet point list so it's easier to read and understand. You want to make this accessible to people, so they have less questions for support you could have answered upfront.

9.   Be clear about whether or not they need to take any actions in light of these changes.

10.   Show you're ready to help if they have other questions.

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Original email Upcoming Changes to Your Brim Mastercard
Kyle from GrowthBadger's link building emailCompany  <[email protected]>
to Customer

Good Morning {Name},

Thank you for being a Brim Mastercard cardholder! We are notifying you of important changes to your Brim Mastercard® Cardmember Agreement (the "Agreement") which governs your use of your Brim Mastercard credit card account (the "Account") and your Brim Mastercard credit card (the "Card"). We are also notifying you about changes to the Brim Rewards Terms and Conditions (the "Rewards T&Cs") which governs your participation in the Brim Open Rewards Program.

There are two changes that will optimize the value you are currently receiving:

1. Your foreign exchange fee will be only 1.5%, while most other cards charge 2.5%, allowing you to continue to save on your cross-border shopping.

2. You'll continue to earn unlimited rewards with merchant partners and you will earn 1 point for every $2 spend, with no maximum.

These changes are amendments to your Agreements with us and will take effect 60 days from the date of this email and no later than May 18, 2024 (the "Effective Date"). All capitalized words used but not defined in this notice have the meanings given to them in the Agreement. These changes apply to your Account regardless of whether you currently have a balance outstanding. By continuing to use your Card or the Account on or after the Effective Date, or if you have a balance outstanding on your Account as of the Effective Date, this means that you have read, understood and agreed to these changes.

The upcoming changes can be found here: Notice Of Change.

For additional details please visit: brimfinancial.com/legal

You don't need to take any action as a result of receiving this update. Please continue to use your Brim Mastercard like you do today to continue enjoying savings and maximize your rewards.

For more information about these changes, please call us toll-free at: 1-000-000-0000 (from Canada and the U.S.) or collect at: 1-000-000-0000 (from elsewhere), Monday - Sunday 8:00 am - 11:00 pm ET or email us at {redacted}@brimfinancial.com.

The Brim Team

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