Ask Your Customers Why They are Leaving, Don’t Hold Them Hostage

Earlier today, I set about the daunting task of going through my emails and unsubscribing to those that I don’t find useful, relevant, or simply don’t have time for.  I receive close to 135 emails daily, so I perform this task every few weeks.

Most of the emails are very easy to unsubscribe from.  They have a link that automatically unsubscribed me with a note telling me they were sorry to see me go.  I thought that was a nice touch that added to the customer experience.  I always say – the last impression is just as important as the first impression.

What frustrates me to no end is that there are a few newsletters that make it virtually impossible or throw so many obstacles to unsubscribing from them that I sometimes give up, then groan each and every time I see their new emails come in.

When I click to unsubscribe, I’m taken to their main website.  Then I have to go the member area where I have to sign in.  Then I have to go to the profile information which directs me to my account settings and read through all of that rigameroll (yes, it’s really a word) to figure out how to unsubscribe.  It’s just plain craziness.

If your customers don’t want to do business with you, don’t irritate them by making it impossible for them to leave.  Would you really lock a customer in your store and make them go hunting for the keys in order for them to leave?  Unless you are looking to spend time in your neighborhood jail cell for kidnapping, of course not.  Then don’t do the same online.

If your customers want to leave, tell them that you are sorry to see them leave, and let them go.

Now, if you are truly business minded, you will see this as a golden opportunity to gain some insight as to what you are or are not doing to keep them from leaving.

Perhaps they don’t have a need for your product, service, or information.  Perhaps you contact them too often or not enough.  Perhaps they find your content not of the quality you promised them.  Yes, sometimes it’s painful to ask the questions and get honest feedback, but wouldn’t you really want to know if you need to step up your game rather than have people leave and not know that all you needed to do was put in some extra effort?

2 Replies to “Ask Your Customers Why They are Leaving, Don’t Hold Them Hostage”

  1. That is such a great analogy! I would be more than irate if someone wouldn’t let me leave their store.

    It gets me so very irritated when I can’t get off those lists either. I guess they figure that if they can throw every obstacle they can at us not to leave, we’ll give up and still see all of their ads and promos. Ugh! I just hit delete and don’t even bother reading them.

    Very good post. I agree with Frank – you should send this to those you were unsubscribing from.

    Sophia says:
  2. It may be helpful for those difficult-to-unsubscribe companies if you would send them this blog article. It may ease future efforts for others who will unsubscribe sometime later, and it may provide opportunity for the company to examine its overall customer-service practices.

    If a company can provide reasons for customers to spend more worthwhile time on the web site or in an actual store location, customers will want to stay involved. Keeping them from leaving seems like a negative and last-ditch approach when compared to creating reasons and opportunities for them to become additionally involved.

    Frank M. says:

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