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I am sure many of you have heard about the recent customer service debacle involving Comcast over the past week. In case you aren’t familiar with what happened, a customer called into their service center attempting to cancel his service after almost a decade. He was transferred to a customer retention department and, unfortunately, was connected with a person who did the exact opposite. The customer’s patience during this call is amazing. The Comcast representative hounds him for almost 18 minutes (only 8 of which were recorded) repeatedly asking the same questions in his efforts to either keep the customer or understand why the customer was leaving. The customer eventually succeeded in getting his services cancelled, while the Comcast employee succeeded in doing more harm to his company than good. You see, this customer recorded the conversation and posted it online. Since July 14, over 5 million people have listened to this recording. Countless articles have also been written during that time period.
I’m fairly certain that you’ve all come across a dissatisfied customer or two. Every so often, we all meet a customer (or client) that is not going to be happy, no matter what we do to handle the situation. I understand that the Comcast representative was simply doing his job. He was persistent and obviously passionate about his company. My impression was that he literally could not understand why this customer would want to leave. He wanted that explained to him and the customer wasn’t having it. He politely declined to answer that question multiple times.
The customer’s perspective is quite the opposite. He and his wife had decided to switch to a different provider for reasons he chooses not to disclose. He simply called in to cancel their service. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like they had incredibly bad service during the 10 years they were with Comcast. At one point, the call center rep even asked him what he would do when he wasn’t happy with his new provider. To which the customer replied that he would call them back and restart their service.
Through the actions of this call center rep, and a customer with a recorder at hand, over 5 million people have now listened to this call. While it’s hard to believe that this is a typical experience, it only takes one extraordinary experience to make a huge difference. If that experience is good, wonderful things happen. If that experience is poor, there is always the chance that our always-connected world makes your business a celebrity – but not in the way you want to be known.
Great companies realize that great experiences can create more business for them. They also know when it’s time to say goodbye to a customer who wants to leave. Providing a great customer experience is absolutely important to customer retention and loyalty. Smart business people also realize that providing a great customer experience for someone who doesn’t want to do business with you anymore can be just as important. That last impression can be vital.
How you say goodbye is just as important as how you say hello.