How To Lose A 5-Year Customer Over $3

Lynn has been using Terminix four times a year for five years, but after Lynn’s recent experience on the phone with them, no longer. At the center of the dispute is a $3 increase in the service. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s not really about the money. It’s how they treated Lynn when our reader asked about it. And that, my friends, is how you lose a customer who has been with you for half a decade.

Lynn writes:

I have been using Terminix for 5 years. They come quarterly to spray around the house and it effectively keeps the cockroaches and other bugs from showing up inside the house.

Their service is not cheap — $75 each time. But they’re reliable and they’ve got a great online system where you can schedule the visits and pay your bill.

Terminix came by last week for their regular service. The technician left a bill: $75. A few days later I went online to pay. The balance due was $78.

Now, this happened before. Maybe a year ago, I saw my bill come out to $78. I called the local office and asked why I was charged $78. The representative said it was a standard price hike. I said I was not notified of this. She said she’d go ahead and bring my price back down to $75.

So this time I called, and again, asked why I was charged $78. Again, I was told it was a standard price hike. I said that the bill the technician left was $75, and even if there was a price hike, why was I not notified ahead of time?

There was a long pause…like 30 seconds, where I thought the call was disconnected. I said “Hello” a few times. Then the lady came back and said, “So you’re disputing THREE dollars?”

Hell yeah I’m disputing $3. WTF?

“Yes.”

“Well, you’ll have to talk to the technician about it. He’ll call you when he can. He’s really busy.”

Hangs up.

OK. This has a very, very easy solution.

I called a local competitor. They offered me $70 per quarter service. I signed up.

I called Terminix the next day to cancel. When I was sent to the cancellation desk, I explained what happened. The representative offered to match the $70 and cut my current bill in half for the trouble.

Too bad this didn’t happen yesterday. No deal.

Does Lynn sound unreasonable? Let’s put it the other way. “So you’re willing to risk a 5-year customer’s loyalty over THREE dollars?” Who seems silly now?