Make it easy for customers to leave and more will stay

A few years ago AOL became the poster child for a special kind of customer abuse when a customer recorded his phone call to them as he tried to cancel his account. All he wanted to do was leave. All they wanted to do was prevent him from leaving.

But they had his credit card information and so they could make him jump through any hoops they wanted to prevent him from becoming a former customer.

Happily, for him and the rest of us, the news media saw the value in this as a story and it went viral. AOL got a black that lasted a long time.

But too many companies still operate this way. Some will cloak their policies in the guise of security. But I don’t buy it. Because if their process is secure enough for me to open an account online, then it should be secure enough for me to close my account the same way.

And that’s when you know a company is committing customer abuse, not customer service.

If you do business with a company and they make it harder to quit being a customer than it was to start, then they are abusing your rights as a customer. They are wasting your time in a misdirected attempt to keep you tied to them.

Someone in these companies had the incredibly unoriginal thought that making it hard to leave would keep more customers on the books.

When companies do this they are telling you, you don’t count. Their message is: “We are more concerned with our profits than we are offering you a valuable and relevant service or product.” They are making it clear where their focus is. And it’s not on you.

If they were focused on their customers they would not create time wasting processes that are inconvenient to customers. They would make it easy to leave.

On the other hand, companies that focus on giving customers a great experience from start to finish will be easy to leave. They’ll make it ridiculously easy to start doing business with them and to stop doing business with them. Because their goal is to help customers accomplish what they want.

When they do this more people will become customers and fewer will leave. Because they know this company is in business to help them.

How easy is it to leave your company?

The article was written by Kevin Stirtz