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Breaking Up is Easy to Do

July 2nd, 2014 by Troy Newport

We’ve all been through breakups.  Sometimes you think things are going along just fine, then WHAM your S.O. tells you to shove off.  If you really cared about that person you probably asked a few questions.   What went wrong?  Is there something we could have done differently?  Is there a chance to make things work out?

You would expect the same thing from a company when a customer tells them to take a hike, especially if they truly valued that customer’s business.  I have told this story many times over the past several years so I thought it was time to write about it:558914_17615479

When I moved to Florida years ago I opened an account with a large bank.  Over time I regretted that decision and thought about changing to a small local bank or maybe even a credit union.  But change sometimes seems more inconvenient than just sticking with the status quo, so I stayed where I was. 

Enter my need to buy a new car.

Just as I began looking for a new car, I received a well-timed email from my bank promoting a 4.9% APR car loan (which was pretty good at the time).  The email said I was receiving the offer because of my excellent credit history.  So I took the time to meet with a loan officer.  The woman who processed my application seemed short on time and not particularly interested in my business.  But I got through the appointment and was told I would hear from their loan department by email.  After several days I received the email, but it informed me I did not qualify for the 4.9% rate.  Instead they were offering me a 7.5% APR?!  Considering my credit was spotless and they initiated the whole thing with a “pre-approved 4.9% APR” email, I couldn’t understand why now I only qualified for 7.5% APR.  I contacted the pleasant loan officer I originally met with and she flatly said that’s their decision and there’s nothing she can do about it.  Did I want to move forward?  No, I told her, I’d like to consider my options.  She abruptly ended the call and didn’t seem to care.

So I went to a small local bank, opened an account, and within the first week I had a car loan approved at 2.9% APR!  I promptly called the big bank and closed all my accounts and credit cards with them.  When I went to the bank to close my account they didn’t seem to care I was leaving.  To this day I have never received a correspondence asking why I chose to no longer do business with them.  I suppose when you get too big to fail you don’t have to care how you treat your customers any more?

Overall this is a lesson for any business, big or small.  Sure, bad customer service seems endemic in certain industries or when dealing with larger corporations.  But it doesn’t have to be that way!  Apple is known for their customer-centric service, and they are both large and a technology company.  If your company doesn’t pay attention to customer experience and service it will be very easy for customers to break up with you.  And if you act as though you don’t care they are leaving, they will never come back even if they find the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence. 


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