Sky has displayed the usual paranoid business approach to customers leaving. In the process damaging the brand and providing some terrible memories for its customers.
People who have wanted to leave the Sky service have been trapped in sales conversation for over an hour, while the customer service team tries to sell them more products and stop them leaving. This is hard for many people to stand, and some give in and sign up for more services. Its a little like holding on to someones leg when you get dumped - it doesn’t build respect.
An example of this was relaid by Gavin Hackwood from Newport, South Wales in the UK. He attempted to leave Sky through the online chat forum. Apparently after after 90 minuets and even moving to a phone call, his request was denied. Many others have reported similar experiences.
In response Sky have said that they need to confirm with customers over the phone that they want to end the service. Which is not an uncommon practice, but having to experience this for an hour seems excessive.
Concerned people are suggesting ‘Hacks’ to get around this paranoid customer service system. Some recommend saying that customers should say they are leaving the country, others suggest sending a letter and following up with cancelling your direct debit. Some financial services advisors have suggested doing all possible communication mediums, following up with a phone call and keeping every paper trail that is made, oh and also asking Sky for the recorded phone call you had with them (which is possible with Data Protection rights in the UK).
What I find amazing out of this approach is Sky’s misunderstanding of how Closure Experiences work. Firstly, Sky are in denial that people leave services (a common mistake companies make). You and I know everything ends, so why do companies fail to make it a good experience at that point? Secondly they are making sure that the experience of leaving is so awful that the customers remember it over any good experiences they might have had. According to psychologist and author Daniel Kaheman “people judge experiences based on their Peak (an intense moment of the experience) and at their End. Rather than a total flat average of the experience.” - the Peak End Rule.
If you only have 2 potential opportunities - the peak and the end, to provide the customer with a good memory of your service you should make the best of both of them. Sky has ensured its customers have a terrible ending experience. So they can almost guarantee they have a bad memory of it. You don’t need to be a graduate in Branding to know that won’t help build a customer base in the long run. Sadly, so much of business is about the short term numbers and metaphorically holding on to a customers leg while they attempt to leave, might just make them think twice, but they won’t respect you for it.