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April 17, 2013 by frugalfamilyblog

So the other day I was paying some bills and noticed that the price of our internet service had gone up… again.  The price increase was only three dollars more each month but this was the third time the bill had gone up since our promotional price had expired.  So I called to pay the bill over the phone as I usually do and accidentally chose the “billing” option instead of the “payment” option.  I decided to go with it instead of going back through the automated system all over again.  When the guy picked up on the other end I politely told him I would like to know why my bill had gone up again and asked if there were any more affordable options.  He politely informed me that my promotional price had expired and offered to double my speed at no charge for the next six months (after that time it was going to cost an extra five bucks a month), but we already had the base-level package and there was really nothing else he could do other than transfer me to speak with a specialist.  I agreed and went through the whole thing again with the “specialist,” and once again I asked if there were any other options in my area.  He put me on hold, took a few moments, and came back on the line to inform me that he could give me a $10 monthly discount and double my speed for the next twelve months!  So of course I agreed, paid my current bill and waited a few more minutes while he finalized everything.  After all was said and done, I had spent twenty minutes on the phone but had saved one hundred twenty dollars and doubled our internet speed for the next full year!  Not a bad return on a twenty-minute investment!

Here’s what I learned:

  1. Be polite – Have you ever heard the saying “you’ll catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar”?  I work with the public daily and let me tell you… if someone is rude to me, I don’t feel especially eager to go out of my way to accommodate them.
  2. Be persistent – How far would I have gotten if I had just accepted that I was now going to be paying more each month… again.  Or how far would I have gotten if I had accepted the first guy’s answer of “there’s really nothing I can do”?
  3. Be patient – I don’t enjoy sitting on the phone explaining myself over and over again hoping that it won’t be a waste of my time… but patience is a virtue.

So go ahead give it a try with your internet company, cable provider, cell phone service or whoever… there are actually entire departments dedicated to customer retention.  Remember it’s your money; make them work for it. Don’t just give it away!


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