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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

Goodbye and Good Riddance

A few weeks ago, I received an email from one of my financial services providers.


I'll share exactly what it said, and how I interpreted each line...


"Hi DAVID."

Nothing says "form letter email" like a name in all caps, right?


"We've processed a request to take money out of your plan. If this was you, you don't need to do anything."


Wait... don't you want to know why I decided to withdraw money from my plan?


Because it wasn't just "some" money... it was all of it. I'm not a secret billionaire or anything, but there was a six-figure sum in that account, and I'd think the company would have tried to reach out on a more personal level to understand why I wanted to move this money... and perhaps see if there's anything you could do to keep me as a customer.*


"Did not expect this? Go to {website}. Once there, sign in to review your plan details or click Support to contact us right away.

Let me get this straight: you think there's a chance my account was drawn down to zero and closed without me intending for this to happen... and your recommendation is for me to log in to the website and click "Support" instead of calling me to verify the transaction?!?


That doesn't exactly scream "we care about you and your financial well-being."


But this is my favourite part of this entire short-but-disastrous email...


"Sorry, you can't reply to this message."


They may as well have said, "Goodbye, and good riddance!"



Now, there are times when expressing that general sentiment to a customer might be absolutely warranted.


Verbally abuse a member of the team?


Continually pay your bills late, resulting in the company incurring interest and bank fees?


Continually demonstrate you're not a very nice human being?


"Goodbye, and good riddance!"


In most other instances, though, it makes far more sense to replace "goodbye, and good riddance" with "we'd love to understand why you want to leave and if there's anything we can do to convince you to stay..."


Or even just, "we're sorry to see you go, but hope you'll consider us in the future."


But an email worded like the one I received only accomplishes one thing: it makes me feel good about my decision to switch providers.


Every single customer touchpoint is a part of your brand.


Even the "goodbye email".


Sometimes, especially the goodbye email.

 

* As it happens, I've simply decided to consolidate my various investment accounts into a single portfolio managed by a financial planner. The company didn't do anything wrong, other than fail to engage me over the last decade for anything other than mailing me my quarterly statements. But there's no way they could have known that without asking, right?

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