Wednesday, July 29, 2009

(The Too Easy) Brand Break-up


A few months back I wrote a post about ending relationships with brands.

I suggested that brands showed their true mettle not just in the acquisition phase. But also when customers wanted to terminate the relationship.

Being able to say "goodbye" with grace and no hard feelings is a sign of a healthy relationship - both in the romantic and real world.

Well last week I got the chance to put this theory to test.

I "broke up" with my Health Club (Equinox in Soho).

Well, I was already for a fight...I had heard from a friend that they would give me a hard time.

Well much to my surprise, they didn't.

In fact they made it almost too easy.

The friendly girl at the desk upon hearing my request asked me to fill out a simple form.

She politely told me about the 45 day cancellation period, pro-rated my remaining week in September, and took quick payment for it on my credit card.

And that was that.

In less then 2 minutes, our 3+ year relationship was over.

Almost as an afterthought she asked me "why" I was terminating.

When I told her it was too expensive, she filled this in out on the form and actually agreed with me by saying... "tell me about it."

I don't know if I stumbled about the one Equinox employee who was not trained to fight to the death to keep a member.

Or if this is really there brand policy.

Or if I don't fit the profile of the typical Soho member (e.g 25 year old super model) so they were glad to be rid of me.

But it left me a bit perplexed. And strangely let down.

I was happy to not have to fight. But at the same time I figured my membership was worth a bit more to them. No?

Some attempt at price negotiation? A thank you for my years of patronage? A free water bottle?

Nope, nothing. It was like we hadn't been involved those past three years.

I think there is probably a happy medium between making it overly difficult for consumers to dis-engage and making it too easy.

That's my point of view. What's your twist?
Have you had a similar "brand break-up" experience?

3 comments:

  1. I'm surprised and interested. My company has a corporate deal with the Murray Hill Equinox. When I got my job, I got immediate emails from 2 Equinox sales reps. Then I got follow-up calls. Then follow-up emails. I told them I wasn't interested, but then a third rep sent an email -- then 6 months later, the deluge started again!

    I wonder which of our experiences was the anomaly?

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  2. Julie,
    I also broke up with Equinox recently. Not so easy for me - I continue to get e-mails and postcards inviting me back with special offers. Actually, it is done very well - not pushy. A good effort on their part, but I agree, they are expensive. I am currently enjoying my NYSC membership at half the price of Equinox. Brand new club in Dobbs. Maybe you will consider joining the gym in Dobbs??

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  3. Julie: I think it's about respect. When they try to block you from leaving, they show a lack of respect. But when they cavalierly say "OK, see ya" they also show a lack of respect.

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