Saying Goodbye Should Be Difficult

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 3rd Class Ryan C. McGinley , edit by Joe Goedereis, FCR

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 3rd Class Ryan C. McGinley , edit by Joe Goedereis, FCR

One key step in moving to a new state is canceling a variety of services in the old location and starting up a new set of services in the new location.  This means a handful of goodbyes – some sad and some not so sad.  I wasn’t at all sad to say goodbye to my cable company or the California DMV.  Here are a few folks I was quite sad to say goodbye to.

My Mechanic

Prior to the long drive to Oregon I took my cars to Jeff, my mechanic, for a final inspection and oil change.  Jeff has been an amazing mechanic and I was sure to say goodbye and thank him for his service over the past nine years.

My Insurance Agent

I also had to sign up for auto insurance in Oregon and while I was still able to stay with Farmers Insurance, I had to find a new agent.  I called Bennett from Sandra MacDonald Insurance, my agent of twelve years, to cancel.  I again felt compelled to thank him for his years of service.

My Veterinarian

I took my old, blind chocolate lab to Jeff Reh of Rancho San Carlos Pet Clinic for one last check up before moving.  Jeff had been our vet for nine years and his entire office was incredible a year ago when we had to put our dog Bruce to sleep.  Again, I said goodbye and thanked him for being a terrific veterinarian.

Why Goodbyes Should Be Sad

There are a few things about these goodbyes that make them noteworthy.

Goodbyes are difficult where a human connection exists – Throughout the course of my time as a customer of my mechanic, veterinarian, and the insurance agent, I built a relationship with people, not a company.  We shared experiences together and they knew and remembered a little bit about my life and what was important to me.  I was more sad to say goodbye to the people I had built a relationship with than the company itself.

Goodbyes are difficult where trust exists – Trustworthy mechanics, insurance agents, and veterinarians are often hard to come by.  It’s not uncommon to feel like these businesses are trying to get you to buy services you don’t really need.  In my case, they earned my trust every time I dealt with them, and their pricing was fair and always took my financial needs into account.  My vet often told me about less expensive human medication I could give my dog.  My mechanic never up-sold me extra services he wasn’t convinced I really needed.

Goodbyes are difficult because of quality service – My insurance company was always always extremely responsive, friendly, and thorough when I needed to get clarification, make a payment, or make a change to my coverage.  My mechanic called me Mr. Jeremy, never charged me more than he quoted, and always finished my cars when he said he would.  My vet knew how important my dogs were to me and always treated them with the utmost care.

As I said goodbye to Jeff, Jeff, and Bennett, I found myself grateful to have worked with these people and sad to say goodbye.  I think that says something about how to run a business.  Building a trusting, human connection with your customers, and coupling that with a quality product and friendly service is a recipe for a great business relationship.

No one ever likes to lose customers, but there are many cases where it’s necessary and inevitable.  When business and customer service are done the right way, these goodbyes should be difficult – and there’s something right about that.

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Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience at FCR, the premiere provider of outsourced call center and business process solutions. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service and experience professional. He is co-founder of the Customer Service Life blog and a regular contributor. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

2 comments

  • Just reading this post made me tear up. Parting is such sweet sorrow. But wow, you sure did build some great relationships with these companies and you summed this all up so well with your noteworthy reasons. I am looking forward to seeing if you’re able to make connections like this in Oregon. In the meantime, I’m going to start saying HELLO to your mechanic here pretty soon. 🙂

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