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There are 50 ways to leave your lover …

How hard is it for a customer to leave?

Do you make them go through a big argument? Do you refuse to let them cancel online? Do you give them a hard-sell sales pitch? Do you charge an abusive cancellation fee?

The exit experience is fundamental to how your brand is perceived. If you make it awful, you will send that former customer out with a horrible last memory and a fresh, nasty story to tell all their friends. That exit story will be the one best remembered and most shared.

Example: You cancel a membership at your favorite gym. You love the place, but you’re moving. They give you a hassle about the contact. Yelling, screaming, etc. For the next 10 years, when you talk to friends in your old neighborhood, you don’t tell them how much you loved that gym. You tell them how rude the gym was on the last day.

Example: You switch cable or phone providers because someone offers a better deal. Your old provider gives you a hard time. Instead of leaving you with a, “I might come back someday if you improved service or price” — they burn the bridge. You swear never to return, ever. And you tell everyone.

There is only one way to deal with a customer who wants to leave:

  1. Ask why they are going. If it was a problem, offer to fix it.
  2. Wish them the best, tell them you are sorry to see them go
  3. Tell them that you would be honored to welcome them back someday.

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  1. David wells March 28, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    Great post andy!

    Instead of phone companies abusing us with cancellation fees they should focus on why we would want to leave in the first place.
    Comitting highway robbery on your exiting customers is just bad business.


  2. Elizabeth March 29, 2010 at 12:50 am #

    Very true. Love your 4 points. Why do some companies assume if they abuse you, you’ll want to keep doing business with them? Forget that. They are just ruining their professional reputation with horrible customer service.


  1. When a customer or member decides to leave « PSST! Word of Mouth Marketing for Banks and Credit Unions - April 9, 2010

    […] Sernovitz posted on this recently and I felt it was a relevant topic for banks and credit unions, who see customers/members […]

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