Customer Retention

I’m sure you’ve read the Comcast horror story about customer retention; if not, give it a quick skim.

I contrast that with the Quicken Bill Pay service I recently cancelled. They were polite, assuring me immediately that they’d cancel my service, add a free month so I could transition bills as needed, and welcomed any feedback I wanted to offer. Only then did they ask why I was leaving, and if there was anything they could fix that would change my mind. Once I said, “no,” they immediately processed the cancellation as promised. I was off the phone in minutes, with a very positive feeling about the company.

As a result, I’d do business with them again, if I had need. Comcast? Shudder. I’m glad I don’t have coax in the ground out where I live, so I can’t even be tempted.

But the Comcast story is a good one when it comes to considering pay incentives. Management guru Deming was famously anti-incentive, and the Comcast story is pretty much the reason why. Incentives always have a downside, and it’s virtually impossible to develop an incentive program that doesn’t have a downside, sometimes major ones. You can’t blame the rep in this one, because he was doing exactly what Comcast trained him to do and paid him to do – it’s just a shame that the company’s parting shot to a customer was to virtually ensure they’d never come back.