We seem to live in a world where fewer and fewer companies are willing to do something for their customers out of a sense of service. Instead they have to be cajoled, coaxed and ultimately threatened before they'll take action.
A few months ago I suspended my membership of a subscription music site while I decided whether to continue. I'd forgotten about this until I got an email advising me that my latest payment had gone through successfully. I was understandably err "peeved", as it had happened without any warning. At the very least one would expect a reminder saying "your holiday period is ending soon. Do you want to renew?"
So I sent a polite email saying that I had expected a reminder and hadn't intended to renew, so I expected a refund. What I got back was a reiteration of their no-refunds policy and an invitation to go to their website to cancel my account.
My response was simply "then expect a charge-back from my credit card". Now, no company likes a charge-back. It makes them look bad to their credit card company. It makes them look high risk. Above all, get too many charge-backs and your fees go up.
Surprise, surprise, the company refunded my money within a few hours of my email.
The thing is, now I can't ever go back to them. For one thing they really annoyed me by making me jump through unnecessary hoops. For another, I'd now feel foolish going back after having to make such a fuss to leave. So if, at some future point in time, I decide I'd like to rejoin a similar service, it will have to be with another company.
So ask yourself this. What recovery strategies does your company have in place when things go wrong. Do you treat the customer as though they are always right? Or do you automatically treat them as though they are wrong?
And how much is that costing you in terms of repeat business later?
Selling to past customers is much easier than finding new prospects and having to go through the whole "know, like and trust" building with a stranger, after all, past customers have already paid you money, they already know, like and trust you. But it's only easy if those past customers aren't annoyed at you. Because at that point you've lost that knowing, liking and trust.