Monday, 11 February 2013

A Plethora of Cancellation Options / aka “I Got A Deal”

Our November post about TV media packages took us back to the cancellation story… There's more that gyms could learn from this, particularly after recent bad press about clubs not letting people out of contract.

So do you know anyone who has tried to cancel their Satellite TV/broadband/other subscription? It's simple enough to downgrade (at the end of the month), but terminating your contract can be a very interesting process.

The alternatives that they have to cancellation are impressive and wide ranging. Ignoring contract terms for a moment, if you call to cancel, you could be offered 3-6 months discounted subscription, a special price on an upgrade or additional services… in other words, they'll do everything in their power to keep you as a customer.
You get put through to a specific cancellations department, where they know all about you; length of membership, previous purchases, usage patterns, etc. They run through a script to work out how likely you are to cancel, and what you are worth as a customer. They then have the full list of offer options, and won't let you cancel until they've exhausted all possible ways of keeping you. Are they on a retention bonus? Most probably!

It’s a "shot to nothing"; you’re calling to cancel anyway, so if they get you to pay anything at all for the next 3 months, then they're still up. The chances are that you’ll pay for at least another month full price after that, if not longer. You come off the phone happy that you've got a "deal" (although your better half might not agree when you tell them!)

In the health club industry, we have so much information about our members, but don't use it to our (or their) benefit. Of course, you don't want all your members on austerity discounts, or reduced prices to compete with the new budget club down the road, but wouldn't it be good to have a few more options up your sleeve when you're faced with a cancellation?

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