Recanting a Rant

Yesterday, I started to rant about the hoops I was jumping through to cancel an account. I am going to say that, on the surface, I was getting ahead of myself. Any company has a right…no, a duty…to know why a customer wants to leave. The best way to do that is to offer various avenues for the customer to offer feedback. Let them tell you via phone, e-mail, online response form, whatever makes them happy. Remember it is all about them.

So, getting back to my original rant, I called the company, as they required, to cancel my account. As I predicted, they tried to make me an offer to stay. Here’s the thing. The offer was a special deal for people that don’t really use the service that much. And it’s not offered as an option on their website. In other words, it’s an act of desperation to keep a customer on a continuity program.

When a customer wants to leave because they don’t see the value in your service, you either have to show them the actual value you are providing (which they didn’t) or make some other real change. But if the customer has to work harder than they deem necessary, there won’t be any value to them, regardless of what you do.

The customer comes first. And you have to meet his needs on his terms. Companies that are too strict in their one-sided agreements (like credit card companies and mobile phone providers) are going to see a high level of churn because the customer feels he is being screwed. That’s just the way it is. Treat the customer with respect and honor his wishes. If you wouldn’t put up with one of your policies, get rid of it. Chances are the people you serve won’t put up with it either.

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