You WILL Lose Customers

Stephanie wrote in to Less Meeting today with the following, disappointing request:

I am writing in to cancel our subscription. Should you wish to discuss our reasons for canceling or need any additional information, please feel free to phone/email me. Otherwise, kindly cancel our account and refund our purchase price.

What to do?

We could kindly say “No” as it states in our ToS. But does that ever result in a positive customer experience? The reality is that the  policy is little more than CYA and rarely gets used.

Or we could oblige, sending over a full refund ASAP. Sure that would leave no room for complaint, but we’d still have an unsatisfied customer, not to mention the lost revenue.

Ask “Why?” to Give Yourself a Second Chance

OR, we could do neither. Who said we have to cut off their Less Meeting access right away? Why not take Stephanie up on her offer, laid out on a silver platter, and dig deeper into what their issue was?

And so we did just that.

Stephen got on the line with Stephanie and started working his magic. After 5 quick minutes on the phone Stephen learned that Stephanie’s boss had had “one of those days” and Less Meeting was the unfortunate recipient. Furthermore, the frustrated feelings had already started to pass by the time Stephen got on the phone.

With some smooth customer service skills Stephen wrapped up the conversation with a plan to give Less Meeting another chance, some tips & tricks to solve the specific pains that’d come up, and a scheduled follow-up in a few days to make sure they weren’t ready to cancel after all.

Ask “Why?” to Help Customers Rethink Their Options

When you ask “Why?”, you start a constructive conversation. A conversation that can actually get to the root of issues so that you can take action to fix things.

  • If there’s a bug, you can fix it.
  • If they’re having trouble adopting your product, you can setup a webinar to show them some hidden benefits one-on-one.
  • If it’s missing a key feature, you can show them a workaround while adding their input to a public forum like GetSatisfaction.
  • If cost is an issue, you can come up with a creative discount, or billing option.
  • If they’re making a knee-jerk reaction, you can delay till it passes.

And if cancelling truly is the best option for everyone, you can make sure their final experience with your company leaves a great taste about your product. But no matter any of the above, if you ask “Why?” you can keep a satisfied customer.

PS – Customers almost always cancel immediately after a payment. So with subscription models this gives you an entire billing cycle to make things better for your customer.

Extra Credit: Ask “Why?” Five Times

Not satisfied with simply asking why? Try asking why five times to uncover the true cause of your dilemma.

Read more about the “Five Whys” technique and its origins from the Toyota Production System here.