Sunday, 6 January 2013

Customer Retention or Customer Return?

A couple of weeks ago I finally switched gas providers and I've been dreading that call.

I know friends who have used the customer services exit call to secure a better, deal, but I just tend to feel under pressure to cave and having no intention of doing so, it's a tense, combative experience which tends to reinforce the less-than-positive view that drive me to switch in the first place.

Yesterday the call came.

I sighed, braced myself for yet another conversation dominated by short, terse, "no"s and waited for battle to commence, but it never came. Instead I got a polite, and business-like confirmation that this was indeed something I had initiated, and a thank you.

And now I'm even wondering if switching was the right call...

I don't know if this is something driven by legal changes or by a strategic rethink, but if it's the latter I can see its potential. I wonder what proportion of customers are persuaded to stick by those calls. And how long it is on average before they try to switch again, and how much extra it costs the company to give them those sweeteners. Will leaving the ex-customer not feeling battle weary (and perhaps slightly guilty) mean that if and when they get disillusionned with their new company they'll return because they at least had "good customer service"?

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