So in the last few weeks I’ve experienced two examples of inane customer retention policy which basically goes something like this. As soon as the customer looks like he is going to leave, start spamming him with emails, snail mail, and phone calls to try to get him to stay.
The first example is register.com. I’ve recently started to transfer all my domains away from register.com to save some money. As soon as I started this process I began to get phone calls and emails advertising special deals on the domains that I had yet to transfer. Then I got some snail mail offers on a domain that is in a different register.com account, but obviously has the same contact info as the account I’m transferring domains out of. I had received a few email offers in the past but for the most part, had not heard much from register.com in the last three years. That is until I started to transfer away from them. Then they annoyed the hell out of me. This only confirmed my decision.
Second example is First National. We just bought a new house, so we’re looking for a new mortgage. We went to several banks to see what we could get and one of them was with First National. Our current mortgage is with First National. For the past two and a half years we have had no advertising from them; No email, snail mail, nothing. That is until just the other day when we applied for a new mortgage. Sure we had received account statements now and then, but other than that, I had never communicated with this bank at all. We just made our payments on time and never heard from them. I actually really liked this relationship. They lent us money, we made our payments, and we didn’t bother each other. But now, when it looks like we will be cancelling our mortgage and moving to another bank for our new mortgage, they start to send spam telling us how great their service is, resulting in an annoyed customer who will likely not go back to them in the future.
I’m no customer service expert, but here are the two questions I want answered:
1) If you know a customer is leaving, is it really good to be burning your bridges by annoying them? Especially with things like domains and mortgages, which I’m sure I’ll have need for more of in the future. Thanks to all this spam, I likely will not be going back to either of these companies in the future because of this.
2) Shouldn’t customer retention be an on-going effort for a company? Why just react to signs customers are leaving you? Why not be building a customer relationship over the long term? I don’t mind the occasional offer or ad from a company I have a relationship with, but being barraged in a short period of time will likely put off most customers. Isn’t when a customer has decided to leave exactly the wrong time to be telling them how great your company. I wonder what percentage of people actually change their minds once these ads and offers get sent out. I know I didn’t change my mind. In both cases, they just bothered me and strengthed my resolve to find other companies to deal with.