This is a guest post from Stephen Ward, who writes at Project Paradox.
Although many frugality experts decry the need for television, my wife and I enjoy it too much to give it up. That didn’t stop me from getting a better deal, though! Just the other day, I called up my provider to get my rate reduced. It took about 15 minutes on the phone to get a rate that was 15% lower. Here’s how I did it:
I armed myself with a better deal. Facts are powerful negotiating tools. My first step was to go online and find a comparable offer by a competitor at a cheaper price. In my case, I found another cable and high speed internet package deal that was $26.86 cheaper than my current monthly bill. I made sure to write down the specifics, including the name of the competitor, the product in question, and where I’d seen it.
I called the service cancellation line. To be honest, I had no desire to go through the hassle of canceling my existing service and signing on with a new provider (whose rates would no doubt end up being higher than advertised). However, I gave the distinct impression that I was shopping around and considering alternatives. I was immediately forwarded to the customer retention line.
I was courteous. Service agreements such as these are business contracts. I simply explained that I had seen a better offer and wanted the best deal. I also explained that I was happy with my current service and wanted to give them the opportunity to match the competitor’s price. All of this is just good business; getting belligerent or making it personal only gets in the way.
I cut through the counterpoints. The representative to whom I spoke tried to convince me that the competitor’s service was inferior and that they could reduce my price by downgrading me to a lower-tiered product. I politely affirmed that I was satisfied with the competitor’s offering and didn’t want something of lower quality. Remember: this person’s job was to satisfy me, but actually giving me a better deal was a last resort. By indicating that nothing but a price reduction would do the trick, that’s exactly what I got.
I accepted a reasonable resolution. After the representative agreed to put me on a promotional discount, my monthly bill was reduced by 14.83% for the next six months. Granted, this didn’t match the competitor’s offer, but it was plenty to make me happy paying for a service I wanted to keep anyway. I might have been able to get more by continuing to haggle, but failing to compromise is just bad negotiating.
So there you have it — not a bad return on 15 minutes of work! Remember, a willingness to negotiate a better deal is your first step to getting one, whether you’re talking about the television bill or anything else.