By now you’ve probably heard the recording of the Comcast representative showing everyone how not to retain a customer. As first reported a couple of days ago on Mashable, AOL Product Manager, Ryan block made the fateful call a week or so ago to cancel his service with the provider. At first I thought it was a prank. Sadly, I was wrong.
For more than eight minutes this person provides the blueprint for what not to do and why salespeople get such a bad reputation. He’s not a salesperson. He’s a boiler-room heat merchant who doesn’t even deserve the attention he’s already gotten.
But, in his infinite stupidity and lack of professionalism, there’s something to learn here: how should you handle a customer who has decided to change suppliers?
In my book, “The 10 Essential Habits of Sales Superstars: Plugging Into The Power of Ten”, I acknowledge we will all lose accounts at one time or another. There’s no way around it. But, how you handle that lost customer goes a long way to determining if you will ever have a chance to do business with them again.
How do you leave them? With your head high and as a professional? Or as this guy did—probably resulting in hundreds if not thousands of others cancelling their service just because of this recording?
I highlight the fact one should never make it difficult for lost customer to return—in fact, make it easy. Never make them swallow their pride. Here’s what I use almost verbatim:
“John, I hate that I let you down. I realize it wasn’t an easy decision for you and I’m sorry I put you in that position. But, if you find out the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side, all you have to do is call me and I’ll be ‘Johnny-On-The-Spot’ ready to pick up where we left off and I assure you I’ll do a better job in the future.”
Now, what have I done? I took the blame whether it was my fault or not and gave the customer an easy entre to return. He doesn’t have to grovel or crawl.
Do you really think you can argue them into staying? Highly unlikely and if they do, what kind of mood are they going to be in?
Customers are going to leave. But, many of them will come back if you give them the chance and leave them with a professional attitude.
Just be professional—unlike our friend on the tape.
NOTE: Comcast has issued a statement condemning the representative’s actions (like they had a choice) and say it is not indicative of the manner their representatives are trained. (Let’s hope not)