Did you know that the price you are paying every month for services like cable, internet, cell phones, and other subscription plans might be too much? It could take a simple phone call to get your bills reduced and help you save more money.
My friend Mike has been doing this for years and when he shared his strategy with me a few weeks ago I told him I had to share it with my readers.
Think you don’t have time to make the calls? Mike has been keeping track of this for five years and figures his hourly wage for these phone calls is almost $200! I’d make a few phone calls for $200 and hour, wouldn’t you?
Below is the “script” he uses when he calls to get his bills lowered.
If you are like me, then you make 1 or 2 phone calls per month with various companies to get your bills reduced, fixed, or cancelled.
I want to give you a simple yet unconventional approach that has nearly always worked for me over the years. This script is so good it even got my wife a brand new iPhone after she dropped it and had no Apple Care (Apple is notoriously stingy on credits to customers).
Step one is utilizing gethuman.com or the gethuman app to figure out the most efficient way to get the right customer service representative (CSR) as quickly as possible. Gethuman is the machete that slices your way through the phone tree. Also, make sure you have your account number handy and that you are an “authorized user” on the account.
Step two is going to the right department. If the goal of my call is to get my bill slashed, credited, reduced, or cancelled then I always go to the CSRs in the “retention department.”
Sometimes you have to say things like “cancel my service” in order to get to this department. The reason I go to this department is because in nearly all call centers this department has the authorization to give you the best credits, deals, freebies, or other incentives to retain your business.
Step three is rapport and attitude. No matter how upset you are, you need to shelve it and be very likable. Imagine having a job where people are upset with you all day and how nice it is when someone interrupts that pattern with an empathetic mindset.
Smile while you are talking to them. Ask them for their name and address them by their name. Find one thing that you can connect with them about during the duration of your call.
Step four is finding three things to compliment their company, product, or business. If you are immediately irate and launch into your complaint than the CSR is likely going to think that there is a low probability of retaining you as a customer.
However, start by building up their company or product with three specific things that you have enjoyed about their brand. This softens the blow of step five while still having the CSR lean towards you being most likely retain-able.
Step five is communicate your complaint, frustration, or desire to cut costs. Be specific about the core issues that you have. Recall that you have already built up the company, their brand, their product… etc. in step four – this gives you the right to say that they haven’t measured up to their own standards.
The CSR will be more inclined to agree with your complaints because you’ve already built up the company, brand, product, or experience. The magic phrase here is that “I am really disappointed with company name here and I expect better and I know you are capable of it.”
A helpful phrase to soften your complaint is, “I know this isn’t your fault and I am not upset with you, BUT…”
Note: If you have an actual tech support issue, retention will not be able to help you, but may be able to compensate you – but this will have to either be a phone transfer or a separate phone call.
Step six is be quiet and listen. The first rule of negotiation is that whomever speaks first… loses. Wait for the CSR to respond. Usually the CSR will respond with two or three things:
- An explanation of a policy that may have led to the bad service
- A quasi-sincere apology on behalf of the company
- An offer of some sort of refund, rebate, freebie, hidden/secret offer, one-time credit.
Step seven is actual negotiation. Sometimes CSRs will ask you what you want, try as best you can to lob the ball back into their court with something like, “I really don’t know, whatever is typical or customary for a circumstance like mine.”
Then wait and listen for their offer. If the offer is no good, then you can always say that it isn’t agreeable or acceptable to you and you can negotiate for more. However, if you spoke first, you will never get anything better offer than what you throw out there.
If all of these steps have failed, then there is the optional step eight.
Optional – Step eight is either asking to “escalate the phone call” or to hang up and start with step one with a different retention CSR.
Good luck with your calls. I keep a spreadsheet of my call logs to make sure that they are worth my time. My running five year average is $196/hour in credits, rebates, and/or other incentives.
I don’t make that in my job so these phone calls are still worth my time. The key is being able to get to the right human quickly, be winsome and efficient on the phone, and sticking to the script.
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