We all pay our cable bill each month, and each time the rate goes up, we cringe. Paying bills is part of life, but seeing those bills go up is torture.
Before you get so frustrated, you feel like you need a third party involved, or bill negotiation service, remember:
The truth is – your cable bill is not a ‘fixed expense.’ Let’s be honest: each time your cable bill mysteriously goes up, so does your level of frustration.
Seeing companies like Comcast, Verizon, DIRECTV, and others advertise lower rates to new
customers is demoralizing. And I’m sure you’d agree: no one likes to overpay on their bills – and I mean NO ONE.
Give these three steps a try before you hire a bill negotiation service:
There is no better time to lower your cable bill than now!
To help you maximize your success (and savings), here are 3 tips to get you started:
1. Talk only to the retention team
Often referred to as the customer loyalty department, the reps in this department are the last line of defense for a provider, like Comcast, to keep your business. They have a lot of tools at their disposal, and many different offers and promotions to entice you to stay.
To maximize your offers:
- You must start your conversation by stating “I wish to cancel my service.” This won’t be true, but these words will unlock your best savings. These reps have their calls recorded, and many times they can’t offer you their best deals, unless you state you want to cancel.
- Before calling – do your research. WhistleOut.com is a great resource to learn about providers in your area, and shop plans and pricing. You can then reference this information (use as leverage) during your call.
2. Be Nice (and yes, I know that’s hard)
The reps in these departments are yelled at all day. They may have just got off a tough call, and if you are nice, polite, and personable – it will go a long way. I know, that this may seem counter to what you’ve experienced when negotiating other items like at a car dealership, or demanding you get your way at McDonald’s.
I have found retention team members respond best to kindness – wouldn’t you! Keep your cool, and remember the folks on the other end of the line want to help you; so be friendly, and it will go a long way.
Some things to note:
- If you’re flexible when you can call, try M-Th 9-11am. Call volumes can be lower at these times, and reps will have more time to work with you during these times.
3. Don’t accept the first offer
This is important, as retention teams are trained and graded based on certain criteria, and grading metrics. Like you’d expect, they start low, and work their way to a better deal.
If you have a target price in mind, or you want to get back to advertised rates: ask for it?
Why should my neighbor pay less than me? Why should loyal / longer term customers pay more, and new customers pay so much less?
Remember: you don’t have to pay more unless you do nothing.
Some suggested things to say:
“My bill is too high. What can you do for me? Then say: What else can you do for me?”
“That does reduce my payments, but doesn’t really get to me a payment that I’m comfortable with. Can you do anything else to help?”
“That’s not really what I was looking for, and isn’t competitive with other providers in my area. Is there anything else you can think to help lower my bill?”
”I pay my bill on time every month. I would hate to have to cancel my service, is there anything else that you can do for me?”
But be persistent:
Call back and talk to another representative. Some reps will be more helpful than others.
You may not know, but many reps are given a weekly budget. I’ve heard it can be $300-800 per week of discretionary funds to help retain customers (another reason to be nice).
If your agent has already used those dollars up on another account, calling back can definitely make a difference. It may take a few calls, but find an agent that has some room to work with you. I’ve also heard that those budgets generally reset on Monday/Tuesday, so calling early in the week could pay off.
But for sure:
A one-time credit is possible. If you’re not offered one – ASK for one.
“My budget is really tight, are there any one-time credits you could offer to make this months bills easier for me pay?”
Hate the pressure of haggling?
Here’s a pro tip:
So that you can feel more comfortable negotiating, shift your excuse to your spouse. This puts you and the rep on the same side. Here’s what to do:
- Call retention
- State you want to cancel
- When asked why, say “my spouse says the bill is too high.”
- Go on to say “ well, if the bill was lower, I could go back to my spouse, and see if the new pricing makes him/her more comfortable.”
This indirect approach is non-confrontational and allows you to more comfortably talk with the customer service agent.
Remember, lower rates are available, but you do need to ask (and fight for it). Of course, if you don’t want all the hassle, feel free to connect with me here. And be sure to check out my blog. Good luck!!
What do you think? Were these suggestions helpful? Let us know by leaving a comment.