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How was your exit?

I canceled one of my wireless lines, because my wife switched carriers. They took care of it in 10 minutes, and told me she was welcome to return any time. No sales pitch.

I canceled a credit card, because they raised the rate to 29%. They spent 20 minutes on high-pressure sales tactics before they let me quit.

I downgraded another card from platinum to gold, and they gave me a refund on the spot and took care of it in ten minutes.

I canceled a gym membership because I moved out of town, and they made me pay for the balance of the year.

-> Which companies am I going to return to?

-> What am I telling my friends, their future customers?

-> How can you tell customers "hope to see you again soon" instead of "goodbye"?

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  1. David Rich January 11, 2009 at 1:44 pm #

    Great post! Customer service and creating a good impression goes full circle. From the entry, maintenance, and exiting. I like how you made the point of how you treat customer’s on the way out affects the future.
    – David Rich

  2. Gary January 11, 2009 at 4:58 pm #

    Andy, you hit it right on the head. Companies charge for all kinds of things, not even realizing what damage it does. I once went into a Wells Fargo bank to close my account because they kept charging a fee for everything. And honest to god, the teller told me there might be a fee to close my account…..

  3. Erica DeWolf January 11, 2009 at 9:09 pm #

    Great article, and it hits me hard this week, as I stayed at a hotel in Orlando this past week and was very disappointed, since there were all these hidden fees involved…$12 a night for parking, $10 / day wireless internet (hard to believe its not included everywhere!). The thing is, the hotel was nice, with a beautiful pool and a starbucks in the lobby, as well as right across the street from CityWalk (Universal). I would have gladly paid the extra 22 a night if it was included in the base rate, instead of being surprised by it later.
    They don’t get a positive recommendation from me. I was scared to do anything for fear of being charged!

  4. Sean Cheyney January 11, 2009 at 11:03 pm #

    Fantastic post. I couldn’t agree more. While I see this often in my personal life, it’s amazing how much I see this sort of thing in my B2B transactions.
    Case in point… I just switched my multivariate testing solution because of a much better integration with the rest of our back end systems. There was going to be a 1 month overlap in solutions. Our sales rep assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem. When she left the company, the executives at the company refused to let me out 1 month early from a one year contract despite the large amount of positive PR I had given them.
    The result, I tell everyone not to use this company for multivariate testing or an of their other products. I certainly will never go back to them.

  5. Katie Konrath January 19, 2009 at 12:30 am #

    I had a similar painful experience when I left my last gym membership. I was going overseas to grad school (a fact I had told them when I joined, but they had failed to note), but when I called to cancel my membership, Gold’s Gym demanded that I not only pay a $100 cancellation fee for the “privilege” of quitting, but also that I show them my actual letter of acceptance and receipt of deposit to the European school to prove that I was not trying to cheat my way out of my membership.
    The gym is really close to my house, convenient, and has basically everything I want. Had they treated me with respect, I would definitely have joined right back up again as soon as I came home. But will I ever go back there now? Not a chance!
    And every time someone mentions joining a gym to me, I’m very quick to share my experience and tell them where not to go.
    It’s amazing to me how little some companies care about how their former customers perceive them.

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