My unsuccessful attempt to cancel TiVo


I called TiVo this morning to cancel my account. But they saved me.

For the past year my wife and I have primarily used our Comcast DVR box to record TV programs. I love that it has a double-tuner and HD recording capabilities (TiVo didn’t have this at the time).

Our TiVo box is still active, but it’s hooked up to a secondary television at the house that we don’t use as frequently. We’d transfered all of our “season passes” to the Comcast box, so haven’t really been using TiVo anymore.

So I called today to cancel. They asked why I was cancelling, so I explained the circumstances above.

I half-expected them to tell my why TiVo was better – explain its great features (many of which Comcast doesn’t have, and my wife still misses), maybe even offer a free upgrade to the new double-tuner Series 3 box.

Instead, I was surprised when the customer service rep offered to cut my price in half. Instead of paying $12.95/month, she offered me $6.95/month to stay on.

Now, offering price reductions as a “save” strategy is nothing new, and is fairly common. But I was a little surprised that this was the first thing out of the rep’s mouth when I said I wanted to cancel.

A couple lessons here, I think, for both businesses and consumers.

For consumers, make sure you’re sharing feedback, concerns, even the possibility of cancellation with the companies you do business with. You never know when they’ll offer you an upgrade, a reduced price, a different cell phone, better plan, etc. to keep your business.

For businesses, make sure you’re not using price reduction strategies too aggressively. If you ask a couple questions and better understand “why” your customers might want to leave, you might be able to save them with a less-costly upgrade or change to their subscription that, in the long run, is far more profitable than a significant price cut.