Six ways to lose a $12,000-a-year customer

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Using personal experience, Lior Arussy provides six handy tips on how to destroy a relationship with a brand loyal customer.

Yes, I finally said goodbye after years of not getting the value from my cell phone company. They finally convinced me that paying in access of $12,000 will not impress them one bit or make them care to retain me as a customer. Like any other bad experience the best you can do is learn from it. So here are the lessons to take if you want to ensure that your $12,000 a year customer will leave you.

  1. When a customer complains, try to cross sell – I have raised several times my disappointment with my old device performance. I pointed out the ineffectiveness of the device and all they could come back with was buy an expensive new model with 2 more years of commitment. No accommodation was offered despite the average of $1000 a month spent I had with the company.
  2. Do not keep accurate records of the customer requests – every time I will call my last conversation or other important information was missing and therefore their employees implied that I was lying. (For the record I called the company a total of 3 times in the last 12 months).
  3. Blame the customer and refuse to take responsibility – During my last call with the company I complained about increase in charges. I was told that my international calling plan was not activated on my account. I was shocked, since I make multiple calls internationally. I referenced a call in which I specifically requested for the plan to be applied to my account. No record of such a call appeared in their CRM.
  4. Take customers for granted – Even if I did not ask for the international plan, which will practically reduce my costs, one would assume I would want one. Why wouldn’t I? A real customer focused company would have made the efforts to reach out to me and inform me of the applicability of such a plan to my account. My cell phone company did not.
  5. Disregard customer dissatisfaction – when I did not renew my 2 year plan and chose to go to a month by month payment, no one bother to ask why? No interest what so ever was shown by the company why such a high paying customer is shifting his commitment? One cannot have bigger writing on the wall, but only if you care to pay attention.
  6. Ignore threats to leave the company – I made it very clear during my last call that I am not happy and seriously consider cancelling my account after spending over $12,000 in the last 12 months. This threat did not seem to impress them. No retention call followed or any retention attempt made.
I HATE BEING TAKEN FOR GRANTED. I HATE WHEN THE RELATIONSHIP IS ONE WAY AND ONLY WORK WHEN IT IS GOOD FOR THE COMPNAY. I ESPECIALLY HATE BEING TAKEN FOR A RIDE AND NOT BEING NOTIFIED ABOUT MORE SUITABLE (AND AFFORDABLE) PLANS. I VIEW THAT AS A BREACH OF TRUST. 
It is a sign of a one- sided relationship. Trust is a funny thing, when you break it, it is like a delicate piece of china, it is very difficult to rebuild. Very tough to earn trust and even more difficult to regain it. I have no interest in spending my money on untrustworthy companies. I took my business elsewhere. Goodbye T Mobile.
Lior Arussy is the president of Strativity Group a global customer experience research and consulting firm. Arussy is the author of five books including Customer Experience Strategy – The Complete Guide From Innovation o Execution (4i, 2010). Follow Lior on Twitter @LiorStrativity

About Lior Arussy

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