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General Small Business Tip: Don’t Make It Difficult For Customers To Cancel A Service


Image Credit: Freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles

I know I normally focus on attracting customers, but after an experience I had today with a company (not naming names) I am going to give some advice on how to handle people who don’t want to be a customer anymore. I know you hate to lose a customer, but it’s better to let unhappy customers go so you can focus on keeping your current customers happy. You will also make more room for new customers that can turn into loyal customers. So here are my tips about what to do when someone says they don’t want to be a customer anymore.

Don’t take it personally.
It is difficult not to be emotional when someone says they don’t want to do business with you anymore. After all, your business is your baby! You’ve bled, cried, sweated, and lost sleep to make your dream a reality. How dare they say they don’t want to do business with you. It’s not your fault. They could be having money troubles and can’t afford your fee. They could be changing directions in their business. They could have outgrown you. Maybe you have already solved the problem they hired you to solve. There are a lot of reasons why people cancel services. Many times it is not personal.

Don’t make your customer go through extra hoops to cancel their service.
Whatever you do, don’t make your customers have to go through ten thousand steps just to cancel your services. If you are an Internet based service provider, have a way for people to cancel available online. Don’t make them have to call a number and get put on hold for 20 years just because they decide to cancel their service with you.

frustrated woman
Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/imagerymajestic

Don’t add extra gotchas.
When your customer asks to cancel service, cancel it right then. Don’t wait an extra month so you can bill them for service. Cancel right away. It is better to lose that payment for next month than to make someone irate. It’s one thing to lose a customer because of circumstances. It’s quite another thing to make the person upset because of sneaky business practices. Bad news travels faster than good news. People are slow to post good reviews, but quick to post rants.

Do ask what you could do to improve.
If you get a chance to speak with your customer before you guys part ways, ask what you can do to improve your services. You will be surprised at how open people can be when you give them the chance. You never know, you may be able to keep this person as a customer if you can accommodate the suggestions you are given.

It’s tough to see customers leave, especially if you have grown attached to them. However, the way you handle yourself when customers leave make a big difference. Your former clients could be a great source of referrals for you.