Walking Over Hot Coals to Keep a Customer

I cancelled cable. No more Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, TLC, or Lifetime Movies (kidding!). It's all gone.

I've never made a better decision.

It was 7:52pm. I called Comcast eight minutes before they closed - the tail-end of everyone's shift. I realize it's like walking into a retail store minutes before closing, but I wanted someone to pick up the phone.

Will picked up. He was my age - maybe younger. I requested to cancel my TV services. Will explained that, with Comcast, things were always cheaper in bundles. That, in fact, I was saving money with my current bundle. I was paying $130/month for cable, the HD box, the service fees, and a sneaky Showtime charge. I asked Will how much my bill would be for just the internet. $62.95/month.

How to deal with cancelled customersDon't you want basic cable? Uh, nope.

"Will, would you cancel cable if it meant you'd save almost $1,000?" I asked him. He was silent. "Well, yeah, but then you don't have any TV."

Me: "Will, I don't have time to turn the TV on. I haven't watch TV, let alone Hulu or Netflix, in six weeks. Why should I pay for something I'm not using, ya know?" Will: "Yeah - I understand that. But, are you sure you don't want basic cable? It's only an extra $9.99/month." Me: "Yep - I'm sure. Just cancel the whole thing." Will: "Ok. Is there anything I can do to keep you purchasing our TV services?" Me: "Nope. If I find I need it in the future, I'll give you guys a call. Please go ahead and cancel the TV subscription."

And that was it. Will took my cable down. I haven't missed it one bit, but the entire phone call made me think.

So Many Businesses Walk Over Hot Coals to Save Customers

Why devalue your product to keep a customer? Should you chip away at it until they decide to pay a fifth of the cost?

There's something to be said for customer requests executed without push-back. I realize customers are invaluable. I realize a customer is worth a lot of money if they're with you for years. But, I would have had a much better experience if my account was cancelled the first time I asked for it. That's customer satisfaction.

Don't overlook your cancellation process

Many companies have cancellation rates as high as 30%. For a company with 3,000 clients, that's 900 people each year. Empower your team to let cancelled clients leave with a smile on their face. A lot of them don't want to be sold to. Just cancel their account. If they need your product or service in the future, they'll come back. I've done it myself a handful of times.

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Do you let customers cancel when they call up or do you have a down-sell or up-sell process? Has it worked? Let me know in the comments below.