Do It Right For Your Customer, Even If It Means Canceling

wpid-photo-nov-11-2011-1228-pmMy pup, Miso, is a member of the PetSmart Banfield (@Banfield) Wellness program. The program is designed to cover shots and vet visits plus discounts on flea treatments and medications. Miso and I are pretty happy with this program–the vets are friendly, he remains healthy and I don’t have to worry. Plus, my pocketbook stays full since it’s fairly inexpensive. What also makes this program wonderful for constant movers like me is that it’s located within Petsmart. And, there is a Petsmart in just about every town.  When I moved from San Diego to Philadelphia, it was so easy to change his “home hospital” to the local store. The price per month stayed the same as well.

Then, I moved from Philadelphia to New York City.

I knew I’d only be in NYC for one year but I still felt it was a safe idea to change his “home hospital” to the Manhattan location.  Sadly, the positive service levels Miso and I knew and appreciated took a downward spiral. However, it was one year so I pushed through it.

Flash forward to Miso’s final check up at the NYC store. They tell me, “Your plan will be increasing on your annual renewal date because you changed your home hospital to our store.

Oh, I wasn’t aware of this. How much of an increase?

“Well, we charge about double here in NYC. You’ll pay almost $28 more for the same service.”

“WHAT? Why wasn’t I told about this before? What can I do?”

“No clue why you were not told, sorry. Better call our customer support to help you. We can’t change our prices.”

Since I was left with no help, I reached out to their call center and spoke to a woman who was very attentive and kind. She told me flat out the best thing I could do would be to…

C A N C E L. 

Yes, she told me to cancel. She cannot modify the pricing either, since I don’t have a new home hospital set up yet and doesn’t want me to stress about paying extra when I have already moved from that location.

She then assured me that, even if I cancel, Miso’s paperwork will still stay on file.

Then, once I move and find Miso a new “home hospital”, they can restart the service at the lower cost again, pull up his file and go from there .

So, I cancelled.

While I was pretty disappointed in having to cancel, I was thankful for their honesty. And, for not being stuck in paying extra for something when I didn’t have to.

We do everything for our customers. We have their best interest in the forefront of our minds. And, if it means helping them cancel due to things out of our control, then we’ll do it. We want the service to work FOR our customer, not against them. Making an unhappy customer remain with us and not doing anything about it will only fuel them to them RUN at the first break in the fence.

PetSmart did a great job helping customize the experience to meet my specific needs. For that, Miso and I will continue to be customers.

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Jenny Dempsey is the Social Media and Customer Experience Manager for NumberBarn.com. With over a decade of customer service experience, Jenny has been recognized through social media channels as a thought leader. She is co-founder and a regular contributor on the Customer Service Life. When she’s not helping or singing to customers, she is studying to become an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Be sure to check out DempseyWellness.org and follow her on social media!

5 comments

  • Sometimes saying NO is the best thing to do for the client. By letting you go, PetSmart actually saved a customer. How amazingly thoughtful of the CS rep to give you an honest truthful straight forward answer to help YOU first. Customer service is all about doing the right thing for your customer even if it means taking a loss financially. One of your best posts Jenny, but you always have amazing posts. Thanks for your story. Miso is so cute!

    • I agree with ya–it’s all about putting the customer FIRST, no matter what. And the sure as heck did save a customer by letting me go. What’s that saying, “If you love something, set it free” that somewhat sums it up? And wow, best post–I’m honored! 🙂 Thanks for the Miso compliment too–I shared it with him and now he’s strutting around like he owns the place. Well, he practically does but even more so now!

  • Another argument against dumb policies, corporate silos, and treating new customers better than current ones.

    Glad to hear a rep was at least able to help you find a work around.

    • Why is it that companies treat new customers better than old ones? This seems to be a common theme. If you’re with a company for a long time, the only way I’ve noticed to get “special treatment” or any extra appreciation is when you say you’re about to cancel.

      • It’s usually a sign that customers aren’t valued.

        You can measure when you offer a deal to sign up new customers.
        You can measure when you offer a deal to keep a customer.

        But, how do you measure the impact of doing something nice for a customer you already have? It gets a little trickier, and many execs are wary of hurting their revenue for no good reason. It’s short-sighted for sure, but I believe this is why it generally happens.

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