Have you ever visited a friend and when you are about to leave he grabs hold of your feet and begs you to stay. He even offers you another free beer or cake, or promises to behave. He didn’t mean to be rude or ignorant. He would even give you money to stay a little longer. He won’t let go of you, hide your jacket and cling on to you as hard as he can. He follows you down the driveway begging you to stay.
I bet most of you have not experienced this. Most of you have probably received a hug, a thank you for your visit. Please do come again, I am looking forward to seeing you soon. If you have experienced a friend that won’t let go, did you want to come back? No? How do we part with friends and family? (Well the loved ones) Then why are most businesses acting like the first example?
Depart as friends
Binding contracts, following the rules, arguing about small amounts of money, refusing to give further service because the customer is leaving. All this is creating a negative impression confirming the customer’s beliefs that leaving was the right decision. How many of your old customers would like to return? How many are you losing for a lifetime?
If a customer leaves, help them, find solutions for them and even try to recommend a preferable competitor whom might meet the customers’ demands. Thank them for doing business with you and wish them the best. Inform that they are welcome back at any time. Make sure that leaving you is such a pleasant experience that they are amazed. This is your last chance to give a good impression of your company. Make sure it is a good one. Who will your customer think about when their next business partner is messing up? What if you call them in about a year and they say we left because of… and you can reply with; “Yes we knew that was a problem; however we have fixed those issues now”. If you let your customer leave you as a friend, he might return as well. And that is the ultimate goals in farewells. Make sure you leave an impression that will help your customer to return.
Behold the future
Do you want customers that might return or customers who will never return? This is your choice. Your customers might need your services for a lifetime, if you cut the lifeline you might end up with moving your unhappy customer to your competition. If they hate you they will be happy with mediocre service from the competitor and never return to you even if you manage to change your customer service level to amazing. Because they have become locked in a principle: I will rather stay here eating shit from A then ever going back to B. Customers who are leaving you have been willing to do business with you. They might leave for a bunch of reasons. Make sure that they will leave with a positive experience in the end and they might come back.
Amazing customer service might create evangelist that spread the good word about your company and draw new customers. But evangelists do not need to be happy as with so many things in life there is grades of passion. Hate is a feeling that can grow strong. If you can’t make happy evangelists, make sure not to make unhappy evangelists that will do whatever to bring you down. Today it is easy as well. Twitter, Facebook, blogging and other social media can spread news about your company fast. It is more important than ever to part with a smile and good wishes. – And welcome them back later on.
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