How to Lose a Customer in a Single Phone Call

How to Lose a Customer in a Single Phone Call

As a customer, I’m pretty loyal–if I’m treated right. If not, I’m the type of customer who will take immediate and sometimes drastic action. If pushed, I will move to the competition, even if it takes a fair amount of work on my part.

Cox has provided my cable, phone, and internet service for more than 5 years. Recently, I checked my monthly bill online and was shocked to see that it was $20 higher than usual. It only took me a second to find the source of the additional cost: one 20-minute call to Canada.

One of my clients is located in Canada. So, I need to be able to call her without being subject to an exorbitant charge.

I readily admit that I didn’t know Canada wasn’t included in my unlimited calling plan, so I don’t dispute that I need to pay the extra $20. My mistake, my loss. But I still wanted to do something about it.

I checked AT&T Uverse pricing online. Canada IS included in their plan. Then, I called Cox–not to demand a $20 refund–but to ensure that my future calls to Canada would be affordable. I did mention Uverse, but not in an aggressive or threatening way.

What happened? They said they can’t offer a Canada plan to customers in San Diego. There was nothing they could do to help me.

What I heard:

  1. Even though you subscribe to one of our most expensive packages and you’ve been with us for a long time, we don’t value you as a customer.
  2. Go ahead and switch to Uverse. We really don’t care.

Thanks for the suggestion, Cox. I’ll schedule the installation right away.

Smart companies delight their customers instead of pushing them to the competition. Now Cox will have to spend even more marketing dollars to replace me than they did to acquire me.

Not smart.

Check out Seth Godin’s blog post: How should you treat your best customers?