Client attraction. Business growth. Pretty profits.

The List Building Opportunity: When Is It Over?

BefoWhen does the list building opportunity endre you read this post I want you to tweet me and answer when does the list building opportunity end?

A. When the visitor decides whether or not to subscribe.

B. Once a person has subscribed.

C. Never.

D. Other… (please explain).

To answer this question let me share a story from last week.

If you’ve been looking at my Facebook newsfeed recently you couldn’t miss that I’ve just turned 30 (after all we did celebrate with a pay what you want offer (PWYW) on Seductive Guest Blogging – PWYW is over but the course is AMAZING value).

And what does the family of a business-owning, 30 year old who has been routinely decluttering for two years and has a terrible internet connection give her?

The ultimate gift list… flowers (always brightens a girl’s day), an ‘I want to be a millionaire’ piggybank and a FASTER mobile broadband device. They truly outdid themselves this year. Way to go Price clan.

Admittedly I was a little reluctant to give up the old month-to-month, no contract option I had been using for the two previous years. To start with it was half the price of the new provider and until recently had been almost fault free (you tend to make small allowances for super cheap options).

The new connection is great and after renegotiating my mobile phone contract I’m paying the same total per month as the old combo. Yay.

But this isn’t about the new provider; this is about how the old provider managed to ensure I’d hate them forever in the space of one phone call. Yep, despise with such passion the steam coming out my ears could melt diamond. And make sure I’d never help recruit new leads or clients again.

Having checked the terms and conditions on the provider’s website regarding their cancellation process, I rang to cut off both my plans. Yes, I had two accounts with them after a positive initial experience.

The phone call went along these lines:

Me: (hanging on waiting for them to answer the call)

Me: (becoming more and more frustrated – still waiting)

Rep A: (Usual introductory spiel)

Me: Hi, it’s Caylie Price. I have two month-to-month accounts I’d like to cancel.

Them: (Confirming my details). Is it correct you wish to cancel your account?

Me: Yes, I want to cancel both of my accounts. I have two accounts.

Rep A: Let me confirm that. You are saying you’d like to cancel to accounts.

Me: YES.

Rep A: Ok, let me check you have two accounts…ok, I can see you have two accounts.

Me: (You don’t say). Yes, I want to cancel both accounts.

Rep A: Can you please tell me why you want to cancel your account?

Me: I have organised an account with a provider that is able to offer a must faster connection.

Rep A: Why not keep these accounts as a back up?

Me: I have other options available if I need a back up. Please just cancel the accounts.

Rep A: Are you sure you don’t want to keep one as a back up?

Me: I do NOT want these accounts. Pleeeease cancel them.

Rep A: So you want to cancel both accounts?

Me: I’ve been telling you that from the start. Please cancel both accounts IMMEDIATELY.

Rep A: Ok, I will have to put you through to the cancellations department.

Me: You mean to say you can’t cancel it?

Rep A: Ma’am we have a dedicated department. Please hold and I will put you through now.

Me: (On hold for several minutes. My grandmother is listening and sure I’ll blow my top any moment now).

Rep A: Are you there Caylie?

Me: Yes.

Rep A: I’ll put you through now. Is there anything else I can help you with today?

Me: No. I’m in a hurry. Put me through to the person who can cancel my accounts NOW please.

Rep A: (Clearly surprised) I will put you through now.

Me: (On hold again).

Rep B: (Usual introductory spiel.) How can I help you?

Me: I just want to cancel my accounts.

Rep B: Let me have a look here. Ok, so you have two accounts.

Me: Yes, I want them both cancelled.

Rep B: Can I ask why you want to cancel?

Me: Why are you asking me this? I’ve already explained to the last person. Please cancel them both NOW.

Rep B: Wouldn’t you like to keep one as a back up?

Me: NO. Please cancel them right now.

Rep B: What are you going to do for internet?

Me: I already have other internet connected.

Rep B: But you’ll need a back up.


Rep B: What if I offered you a really special de…

Me: (Before he finished) I do not want any accounts. No deals. Nothing. All I want is to cancel them NOW.

Rep B: Please hold while I look at your contract.

Me: I am NOT CONTRACTED. It’s month to month. I’ve checked your terms and conditions. You can cancel it immediately.

Rep B: I see here you are not contracted. Would you like to keep these accounts until your new connection is in place?

Me: I’VE ALREADY EXPLAINED I have a new provider and internet connection. Just disconnect the accounts.

Rep B: I’m just checking your account and I can cancel the accounts because you are not contracted. There are two days left in billing month. Would you prefer to ring back tomorrow and keep using the accounts until then?

Me: NO.

Rep B: You will lose 5.6 gig on one account and 3.2 gig on the other if you cancel now.

Me: (Extremely peeved by now as the T&Cs say you keep access to remaining gigs but totally beyond caring by now). Just cancel the accounts IMMEDIATELY.

Rep B: Ok, please hold while I cancel the accounts.

(30 secs later) Caylie, please hold.

(30 secs later) Caylie, please continue to hold.

(30 secs later) Please hold.

(30 secs later) Please hold.

(30 secs later) Please hold.

(30 secs later) Please hold.

(30 secs later) Please hold.

(30 secs later) Caylie, please continue to hold.

Me: (They ought to be glad they weren’t in the same room. I was ready to kill someone by now. Nan was highly amused by my frustration and shocked that my anger was still reasonably well contained.)

Rep B: Ok, the accounts are cancelled and all remaining data removed. Was there anything else I can do for you today?

Me: No.

Rep B: Now if you wish to reactivate at any point in the futu…

Me: (Bang. Phone hung up).

For two years I’d been perfectly happy with the service. For two years I’d happily recommended them to my clients and friends. For two years not only was I subscribed to their service, I’d been encouraging others.

Now think about your business and your subscribers. If you’ve got a membership program; you’re recruiting subscribers, converting subscribers to clients and they are paying for access your expertise. Hopefully, throughout this time they are singing your praises and encouraging more people to subscribe.

If they choose to leave, don’t harass them. – Click to tweet

Sure ask them why for the purpose of better serving your remaining members but then be grateful for the opportunity you’ve had to support them. Thank them for working with you and leave them grateful for such a pleasant, thoughtful experience.

You’ll keep your list building opportunity. Your former client will be happy to share their positive experiences plus help recruit new subscribers and buyers.

Which approach will you take?

A. Be a nagging imbecile.

B. Create a grateful supporter happy to spread your word.

Former clients WILL help grow your mailing list and client base IF you treat them right! – Click to tweet

I think you know which option will work.

4 Responses to The List Building Opportunity: When Is It Over?

  1. bahahahaha – I just moved house and I totally get this. Of course, I’ll opt for the nagging imbecile every time. No wait – that’s just usually who is serving me!

    • I don’t understand how SOME, not all, business owners miss this. I might have come back to them in the future if I’d left on good terms but there’s no chance now. Simple but not obvious apparently.

  2. Thank heavens I have not had that kind of an experience yet Caylie and I pray I won’t.

    10 years ago, I cancelled my credit card because I was going overseas to work and the Central Bank limits made using the card unviable – not to mention the regulations.

    Luckily I hold an account with the bank and the cancellation went through peacefully. I had just one call from their credit card department to inquire the reason for cancellation and no harassment. When I returned to India, I applied again and am back with the credit card branch of the bank – earning points and getting free gifts. That is what service should be, especially when competition is tough for new business.

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