Kristin Zhivago has an awesome post on her blog titled Gone! The reason customers leave. I would strongly recommend that anyone who touches a customer (sales, tech support, product management, professional services, executives) read it.
I had written last year about how customers are lot more tolerant of a vendor’s mistakes or shortcomings if the vendor keeps them informed. It is nothing but courtesy, professionalism and respect. One of the companies that I respect a whole lot in this regard is CitiCards. Twice in the last 5 years, my credit card has been compromised because of data theft at two retail stores. They proactively called me up, put my account on hold so that no fraudulent charges get made using my credit card. Do I sleep well that they are looking out for me? – oh ya ! Do you think I will ever switch credit card vendors? – oh No! Do you think I will talk great about them and recommend them? – you know the answer to that.
Doing this takes a whole lot of effort and the will to make it happen. Unfortunately companies are busy chasing new dollars, that they forget the adage “Bird in hand is worth two in the bush!”.