Don’t you want to know why service has been cancelled?

Customer service reps should care!


It was the call heard around the world. You know, the customer who called their cable company to cancel service.  The customer service rep wanted to know why and the customer wouldn't tell them. This conversation was going on longer than the customer expected so he recorded the remainder of the call, which went on for 15 more minutes. The call went viral with apologies from the cable company. *(If you haven't heard it, the link is at the bottom of this blog).  This garnered tons of press and conversations from customer service experts including my friend and colleague Shep Hyken's blog.

However, this blog isn't adding to THAT conversation, but to examine what would you rather have, this tenacious customer service rep that desperately wanted to know why you are leaving, or the customer service rep who completely didn't care?  

Let me explain. 

I have many talents, none of which includes keeping a house clean and orderly. One of the luxuries I afford myself is a maid service that comes once a month to do what I am frankly too lazy to do. For one year, we faithfully paid this service to come into our home. There were always two people cleaning and they always did a pretty decent job.  Then, we noticed that the four hours turned into three hours and they weren't as thorough as they could have been.  Then, suddenly the last time they came they cleaned our home in 2 hours and they were all done. Upon inspection, we realized that they just didn't do the kind of job we were used to, and it was no longer worth the money. 

When the customer service agent called to confirm our next cleaning, I said I would like to cancel the service.  Her response?

"Oh, Okay."

And she hung up. 

Reallly?  Don't you want to know why you just lost a customer who paid you regularly for over a year? This cleaning also included a landscaper who came the same day as the maids; I wonder how he felt by having one of his regular customers cancel?

A couple of weeks later, I got a call from the service.  Ah, yes, finally, someone is calling to say how much they missed us as customers and how much they wanted us back and they would be willing to do something for us to get our business back.  But, no.  It was the same customer service rep who called to schedule our next cleaning.  I reminded her that we cancelled the service. Her response?

"Oh, Okay." 

And she hung up again.  Frankly, I don't expect people to stay on the phone with me for 15 minutes grilling me on why I'm cancelling the service, but why not at least try to find out why I was cancelling.  If they asked, I would have told them and they could have resolved it by sending me two new people to give them one more chance to make things right. Then, I would have said

"Oh, Okay."

I guess the answer to the question of what would you rather have the tenacious bulldog who won’t let you off the call without an answer or the apathetic rep who couldn’t care less would be something in-between.

From your realizing she has to quit being lazy and clean her own house motivational speaker, Marilyn Sherman

*For the call heard around the world: Recorded call by customer


Marilyn Sherman, CSP is a Front-Row Leadership Expert helping people get out of the balcony and get a front-row seat in life. For over 20 years she has inspired audiences with topics on Visioning, Goal Achievement and having a No More Excuses attitude! Check out her fun, dynamic style at

Marilyn Sherman, Owner UpFront Presentations - Helping people get a Front-Row seat in their life!
9030 W. Sahara Ave #444
Las Vegas, NV 89117

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  1. Ideally, I'd prefer a rep who has enough emotional intelligence to ask the question in an empathetic, caring way that encourages someone to open up. BUT, that wasn't your question. My question to you, Marilyn, is why you call yourself lazy for contracting out the cleaning. I'd call that a smart move as your skills, talents and abilities as a motivational speaker can be used better elsewhere. Like writing this insightful blog. :-)


  2. GREAT perspective, Marilyn! And yes, yes, yes. There is definitely a middle ground and I want the customer service rep that you describe – who asks why with genuine concern and desire to keep a customer.  AND, I'm also with Colette on this one. You are a traveling, working, talented motivational speaker! You can't AFFORD to hire yourself to clean your house!!! 

  3. You guys are great.  Thanks for helping me let go of that idea that I have to clean my own house. As always, I appreciate your validation!!!

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