How to win back my business


This past weekend I finally signed up for Google Desktop. For those that haven’t tried it yet, Google Desktop is essentially a sidebar of “widgets” that sits on the side of your screen, and give you easy access to things like sports scores, stock prices, news headlines, etc. Many companies (and most of the major portals) are offering a flavor of widgets, but I was impressed with the ease of use from Google.

Problem was, come Monday morning, I noticed that performance on my laptop had taken a dramatic turn for the worse. I ultimately targeted Google Desktop as the culprit, and uninstalled the program.

But here’s where things got interesting. As soon as the “uninstall” application completed, I was sent to a Google page asking me why I decided to uninstall. One of the options was “it slowed down my computer.” Once I selected this option, I saw the following message from Google (paraphrasing):

“We’re very sorry that you experienced this problem. We may contact you if we have any questions about your particular problem, or if we have corrected the issue.”

First of all, this was the first time I’ve ever been surveyed by the maker of an application I’ve uninstalled from my computer. It was a simple, one-question survey I was happy to answer.

Even more impressive was the follow-up message. I was a happy Google Desktop user until the overall performance issue popped up. If Google were to solve the performance issue, I’d likely install and use the application again.

How would Google have known this was my issue if they didn’t ask? And how would the typical past customer know that they’ve fixed the very problem that initiated the uninstall if Google wasn’t able to follow-up?

Your past customers aren’t gone forever. If you know enough about your customers to understand 1) why they left, and 2) what it would take to bring them back, how could you use that to your advantage?

And aren’t the “prodigal” customers often some of our best evangelists?