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An interesting customer relations idea: Rewarding customers BEFORE they leave

Many of us have had the experience of cancelling a service with a large company, be it an ISP, telephone company, satellite provider or similar, only to have the process dragged out by them offering several "retention deals" to get you to stay: Extra features, free months of service and so on.

They do this, of course, because monthly customers are good revenue - Once a customer is set up, they are pretty much maintenance free (In the ISP world, for example, the vast majority of support costs for a customer occur within the first three months of service - after that, it can be years before the customer calls again, other than to pay their bill.) Naturally, when the company hears that you want to leave, they'll do quite a lot to keep you, including offering high margin, low cost 'freebies' to keep you interested in the service.

So this should beg the question: Why would a company wait until a customer was so dissatisfied with their service as to be at the point of quitting before trying to retain their business ?

Understandably, business have, well, a business to run: They can't go calling each customer on a monthly basis, just to see if they're happy. HOWEVER: There is nothing stopping a company from, say, taking a random sampling of three or more customers each month who have been with them for more than, say, two years and give them a call, saying

"Hi, Mr. Smith, this is Mr Jones from YourISP; I'd just like to say thank you for being such a good customer of ours for so long and I'm calling to let you know that next months' bill is on us! Thank you again!"

If the telephone isn't your thing, you can do the same through email or through (gasp!) snail mail, too.

The term "churn" is often used in industries that involve monthly payments - A certain amount of churn definitely is inevitable. However: That does not mean there aren't some easy and inexpensive ways to reduce that churn. Offering your customers little thank-yous like a free months' service, or perhaps a free trial of a new add-on or what-not, not only increases their experience with your company, but increases the likelihood that they'll tell other people about how happy they are with your service.

I think we can all agree on the benefits of that happening.

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