9 Confessions Of A Retentions Representative

Retentions representatives are the cellphone company’s last line of defense between you and freedom. One brave retentions representative has come forward to teach us how to craft a direct, earnest request that will lead retention reps to do your bidding. Rivaled in effectiveness only by executive customer support, retentions reps are empowered to strike down nuisance fees and bargain liberally, all to keep you as a customer. If you were ever tempted to threaten your cellphone company with cancellation, this one is a must read.

I have been reading your site almost daily for a few months, and have seen where “insiders” give useful info to help get problems solved – and I have also noted where your site has advised readers having problems with their cell phone provider to contact the retention department…having been in the retention department for a small regional cell phone company for the past year, I wanted to share with your readers some tips to help them get what they are looking for. (I tend to get long winded, so feel free to edit out unneccesary content)

Basically, there are two reasons that people call retention, they either A) actually want to cancel, or B) want something, and feel that we will give it to them.

If you’re in group A, a few things to make the transition go easier…

1 – Please be aware that the annoying questions that I’m asking about why you’re canceling, and what carrier you’re going to are obviously not for my good health. You are not required to answer the questions, but if I want to keep my job, I am required to ask them. If you don’t want to be asked the questions, it would be best to port your number to your new carrier, in which case you don’t even need to speak to the carrier you’re porting from, just bring your account number, and password on the account if there one, to the new carrier, and we’ll be done. Anybody else – this is your opportunity to air any greivences you have, and have them heard by the higher ups…however, if you are leaving, don’t expect any courtesy credits for past inconveniences, etc.

2 – If you’re wanting the ETF waived, please be advised that we are well trained and versed on the contract, so if you’re arguing breach of contract, please have the copy of the contract with you, and be specific as to what you’re fighting. As a rep, I’m required to basically argue the contract with you until you ask for a supervisor. So, if you don’t like the answer, you can either ask to speak with the supervisor, or ask the rep if they can ask the supervisor on your behalf. Depending on your situation, either method has the possibility to get the fee either waived or prorated – note, though, if you want to talk to a supervisor, your best course of action is to call between normal business hours, b/c the appropriate supervisor may not be available otherwise.

(Ed. If you are trying to avoid the ETF, read our scripts for using materially adverse changes to escape your contract.)

3 – Even if you’re not trying to fight the contract, you may want to take a look at it before you cancel – I know our company has a statement very visibly in the contract stating all cancellations occur at the end of your bill cycle. My advice would be to check on these things before you call to cancel, or port your number out so there are not unexpected bumps in the road.

Now, if you are calling because you want something, a few things to keep in mind.

4 – Your actual situation has little effect on the decision made. We look at multiple things, but I would say that the equation is a little like this: 40% account history/ARPU (average revenue per unit), 40% the actual request and 20% would be your situation and/or demeanor/attitude. Now, I know from reading this site, that most consumers feel like their attitude/deamenor, and the way they treat the rep should not have an effect on the outcome. In a perfect world, my friends, it wouldn’t, but as much as reps may seem like robots, they’re not. They, like you, do not react well when somebody is swearing and screaming at them or telling them what they will do. Be straight to the point – a long drawn out story about how the phone got busted is not really helpful, although saying “I broke my phone, and don’t have insurance, and buying a new phone is more costly than the cancellation fee” will probably get you far since it is honest, and makes sense not only in terms of the business, but for you as well.

5 – Call retention only when you really need to. We’re happy to help you, however, we do keep good notes of when you call, and what we did for you. Calling retention consistently when you want something or when something goes wrong will get you branded a frequent flier, and our management may note the account that no more retention efforts can be made on your account. That being said, there are other options out there.

For legitamit billing issues, try the general customer care staff, or your local retail store first. Escalate if need be, but honestly, there are of course times that people make mistakes, and these need to be fixed. Please try with the responsible party first, then, if there’s no resolution, even after escalation, then retention is the place to go. But don’t jump there first.

For upgrade fees/rebates, try asking your salesperson when you go to purchase the phone. Yes, we know the upgrade fees suck, however, if one company does it, and is making money off of its customers with it, then other carriers have to follow in order try to stay competative, so please don’t ask why would we charge you the fee – it’s nothing personal, we’re just trying to stay in the game. Ask your sales rep about waiving the upgrade fee. This, like other things will come down to account history, and ARPU. If the sales rep declines, tell them that you’d like to cancel, so you can bring your service to another carrier, since most carriers waive the inital activation fees to attract new customers. At this point, they can put you in contact with retention – expect a little bit of a fight from the rep, though, since these fees are industry standard, though ultimately, it should not take much to get done. This may not work every time, and is most effective when the account is in good standing.

If your carrier has a payment services department, or a branch of billing allows you to make payment arrangements or get extensions on your bills, they may be able to get you onto a plan that’s no longer offered to new customers. Just tell them that you’re having a hard time paying your bill, and you were wondering if they had any older plans that might fit them better, or be less costly. They may, or they may not. This also works if you’re paying for text/pictures or data access, but don’t need the unlimited packages that most carriers are switching to, but still don’t want to pay per use.

6 – Do your homework. We understand that there are people who call who are really not interested in canceling, but want to get something out of the carrier. Just do us a favor, and be direct. There’s nothing worse than somebody calling in saying “what can you do to keep me as a customer?” The reason that’s so highly offensive, is mostly because it is a time waster. You’re wasting your time, and mine…because if you say that, I’m left guessing at what you really want. Do you want a phone for cheaper? Do you want your bill lower? Do you want a different phone, but don’t qualify for an upgrade yet? If I don’t know what you want, I’m left offering you things you don’t really want. Please do us a favor. Indulge us. Be direct. If you want the phone for cheaper than what it’s offered at, you could say something like “I really like the razr (or whatever), but can’t see myself paying the ______ for it” Please don’t say that it is free with Carrier X, especially if it isn’t. If it is, we will usually try to get on their site, and explain how free once can cost you over the course of the contract – this isn’t what you wanted to acheive, you want the phone for free, regardless of whether or not you’d pay more monthly with Carrier X. If you want the bill lowered, and find a better deal, and want us to match, let us know, if you want the bill lowered, but have done your homework and the plan you’re on is at or lower than other carriers, don’t make up a deal that’s too good to be true. It’s better to just say that it’s too much monthly or something to that extent.

7 – If you don’t want to sign a contract, your options on equipment are much more limited. You have a couple options from this point, though: You can go on a prepaid service, no contract, and often with carriers that do postpay services as well, the monthly rates are close to the same, you could see if we can give you the two year pricing on a one year contract, if you’re okay with a shorter contract term, you could also see if they’d be willing to credit you a portion of the phone, (but don’t expect it free without a commitment to stay with the company) or, you could ask the rep if they can find how much the company pays for the phone, and offer to pay that amount. Contracts are basically how ensure that we make up the discount given on the price of the phone and a given line (especially a shared line) doesn’t become profitable until we’ve made that subsidy back – which can sometimes be over a year into a two year contract. If you’re offering to pay what we pay, even if you stay only 3 months, it is essentially pure profit, and a pretty good business deal. You can also ask about refurbished phones, but we usually have to buy those, too, and for more than you think, so a lot of times, those won’t be done if you’re out of contract since we can’t be sure we’re not losing big sending it to you.

8 – Be reasonable – and be willing to negotiate. We are a for profit business (duh). To that end, we will try to find a course of action that fits both the customer and the company, but if you’re not profitable, asking for something that’s over the top, or have a history of escalating/calling retention to get what you want, then expect that your options may not match what you want to acheive – but we might be able to work something out with you. Also – with this one, admit fault when you’re at fault – what I mean is, if you or your kid sent and received 3,000 text messages, but you didn’t have a plan to cover it, it will go a lot further to say, we did this, we did not realize it was not covered, I can’t keep the service if I have to pay for that – rather than trying to say it was a problem with the phone, or that the texts were not sent or received – those types of answers will only be met with resistance and the rep trying to explain to you how it happened – same goes for roaming charges, minute overages, or anything else that typically is unable to be credited as it is presumed to be in the control of the customer.

9 – Be aware of the return period. If you don’t like the phone within the first 14 days, return it and find one you like, if you don’t, please don’t call us 8 months down the road saying this phone is a piece of junk it doesn’t do anything, etc…you chose the phone. If it’s broken, lost or stolen, or if you are at least a year through the contract, we may be able to help you with a replacement, but we don’t often upgrade early in the contract because you don’t like the features of the phone you chose. Also, please be aware if the phone is lost/stolen/damaged, that we are under no obligation to replace equipment, so if you’re hard on phones, as much as it might be a ripoff, insurance might make things easier on you.

I’m sorry if this is too long winded, but hopefully, some of the information might assist your readers.

Are you an insider with helpful information? Consider joining Whistleblowers Anonymous, our super-special exclusive club for people like you. We offer chips, dip, and personal redemption. Confidential membership applications can be submitted directly to our tipline for immediate review.

Comments

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  1. dawime says:

    …so please don’t ask why would we charge you the fee – it’s nothing personal

    Of course I would ask why random fees are being charged. I don’t care that the other guy does it, there is no real reason to charge some bogus fee.

    You yourself go on the next 2 sentences to say you can ask for “upgrade” fees to be waived. Its nothing personal till its your pocket book they are reaching into and seeing how much can get away with.

  2. TheUncleBob says:

    Well, this person obviously isn’t with Verizon – as they do not charge upgrade fees. I thought AT&T was the only carrier that does (although my knowledge is limited, so I could be quite wrong).

    I should note, there are some indirect Verizon Agents that charge an “upgrade” fee – but that’s the store and they’re pretty much allowed to charge whatever they want. Go to a Verizon Retail store, online, telesales or an agent that doesn’t rip you off with “upgrade” fees…

  3. HOP says:

    thank you for the info

  4. Pro-Pain says:

    I have Sprint. You people wouldnt believe how good my plan is. All I did was call retentions ONCE and got offered the sun and the moon to stay. Then again, I was VERY nice and undemanding…

  5. stageright says:

    #8 is huge. I worked at the OLD AT&T Wireless for about 9 months when I was stuck in a city because of a family issue. People would call all the time with a long, drawn out story (killing my stats!) about how they didn’t do whatever (even tho the calls or texts were to a number they call every single month?) and demanding I take the “fraudulent” charges off.

    Please, don’t insult the rep’s intelligence – they get these calls ALL the time, where you place one maybe twice in a lifetime. They know the game a LOT better than you.

    On the rare occasion someone called with the “So I had no idea this was going to cost me this much, what can I do?” story (woo hoo!) I’d tell them to relax, I’ll take care of them. Look at what plan would have covered, offer to back date it, move them to the new plan, BAM – no more $3000 bill, customer now has new plan, explain call back next month to move back to old plan.

    Most reps LIKE to help – they’re in a thankless job with little opportunity for promotion. They were hired as “customer service” then trained as “preventer of customer service”. They know this. The one bright point of their day, usually, is when they get to get off the phone feeling like they actually HELPED someone.

    When you call and immediately start in with the attitude of “I’m calling the robo-minion of MegaPhoneCorp and it’s me against them!” the rep knows they aren’t going to get that fun “I helped someone!” feeling, so it’s a GREAT call to “toe the line” and make sure you impress your boss by not giving an *inch* more than you absolutely have to.

  6. Eilonwynn says:

    I just went through this with Telus – Took about an hour of negotiations, but I got most of what I want (new phone with no cost, as my old phone was dying), and they got what they want (2 year contract instead of a 1 year contract i’d then hang onto for 6 months after that.) On top of the phone and to make up for the 2 year instead of one year part, they threw in $10 off my bill for the entire term. Fine by me. The thing i’d most reccomend is to be willing to actually negotiate. Write down what you WANT, and then write down what you NEED, and be willing to meet somewhere in the middle.

  7. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    “For legitamit billing issues try … or your local retail store first”

    Useless. In my experience with both Verizon Wireless and Cingular (AT&T), the retail stores only sell phones and service. The instant you need actual customer service, like fixing a billing issue, they throw around the words ‘no authority.’

    Try them if you want, but make sure you get the manager’s name and store number (not phone number, but store number), and then call the 1-800. Finally, you can complain to the mall. I complained to the mall authrity about poor service with Cingular….and got some names/numbers higher on up. You might have to be persistent, but you must always be polite.

  8. monkeyboy13 says:

    @ConsumerAdvocacy1010: Sometimes there is a difference in stores by location. I had an issue with my verizon bill and went to the store in the mall. They stated that they only did sales, and had no billing services there. Verizon’s stand alone store did have the access needed to help me. It seemed like the stand alone store are staffed well for service, but the mall stores only have people who can sell and close the deal for the level of traffic they get through there.

  9. Pro-Pain says:

    Sprint retail stores are the most useless places I have even seen. Long wait, employees doing nothing but chatting amongst themselves, untrained techs. It’s really sad. They couldn’t even begin to help you with anything but paying your bill.

  10. losiek says:

    First, thanks for the great info! I always had this strange feeling you guys are not robots, now I’m sure ;-) Unless you are a robot, who claims not to be? ;-)))

    A few nitpicks:

    1. Re: “Please don’t say that it is free with Carrier X, especially if it isn’t” – well, sorry, this is your own game. When we, mortals, subscribe to new services, you guys advertise these “free” things as if they were free. So now, when we upgrade, you are trying to say they cost $X000 over the course of contract? Bummer! You changed our perception, so now we have full right saying the company X offers it for free.

    2. Re: “Call retention only when you really need to”. The reason why people call retention (disclaimer: I do not) is because your normal support sucks. Not your specifically, the entire industry. Being on hold for hours, not getting simple matters corrected… I’m not surprised people reach for bugger guns.

    3. The Pro-Rating ETFs game sucks. Why would your company not change the contract for them to be pro-rated in the first place? IMO answer is simple: you are still making more $ the way it is, meaning more suckers pay than not. And so thanks for treating us customers like suckers, and hoping we will behave like ones.

    4. Re: “what can you do to keep me as a customer?”. Well, again, you are victim of your own game. You hope we will sign up for “free” that is not-so-free really, we hope to get something from you we did not know it exists. Be open and honest, stop making us pay $300 for phones that cost you $100 (wild guess here on my part, but margin is high I’m sure), stop making us pay ETFs, we will stop asking for random benefits. I view this as a fair game!

    At the end, let me bring a story of my own. I had problems with T-Mobile giving me decent options for handset upgrade, even though I have been with them to the tune of 6 years at the time, last few were 2 lines in 1 account to be specific.

    At one time, I went on business to Australia. I knew it’s $2 a minute, but had to call – it was business. And so, I got that $800 bill that I promptly paid.

    Came back and thought to myself: well now I’m good customer seeing how I paid $800, I will ask for an upgrade now. Called T-Mobile. You know what their answer was? “Yes, $800, but it is mostly roaming charges, so we did not make money on it…”. I could only say: Come again?

    That all being said, I appreciate the information and your work. You being our last line of defense often helped and got us going together further.

    Cheers!

  11. sventurata says:

    Telus outlets = likewise. Although I really like Telus (and their retail employees), it would be nice to have some level of in-house tech support, especially for those of us who only have one phone and can’t use another line to call tech support. :(

  12. “Now, I know from reading this site, that most consumers feel like their attitude/deamenor, and the way they treat the rep should not have an effect on the outcome. … They, like you, do not react well when somebody is swearing and screaming at them or telling them what they will do.”

    I think what most of us ACTUALLY object to is the attitude that some reps (not you) have shown here where they say “If you’re an asshole, I get to be an asshole back TO EVERYONE WHO CALLS EVER.” I’m pretty sure most of us understand the idea that CSRs are willing to go farther for someone who’s nice than for someone who’s shouting obscenities.

    What I object to (and what I think most people object to) is:

    1) CSRs who’ve flat-out said that because SOME customers are rude, the CSRs have the right to be rude to EVERYONE who calls and therefore we have no right to expect courteous and professional customer service.

    2) CSRs who think badly-behaved callers excuses their bad behavior in return TO THAT CALLER, which it doesn’t — people who have contact with the public are paid to be professional about it, even when the public is being an asshole. They don’t have to be nice, but they do have to be professional.

    (And let’s be honest, people frequently call customer service when they’re stressed out or in a personally difficult situation, and they may snap at the CSR, or burst into tears, or repeat themselves or be unclear — because they’re stressed. If you can’t cope with stressed customers whose behavior is less than “tea with the queen” standard, CSR is the WRONG JOB.)

    Not that I would ever shout obscenities at a CSR (and when I am at the end of my tether and I realize I’m being either emotional or short-tempered, I do try to say, “I realize this is not your fault, I’m just very frustrated,” to the CSR I’m talking to). But the right answer to an abusive customer is to be calm and professional and, if necessary, extricate oneself from the situation. Not to shout obscenities back or mock them or whatever.

    And most of us have had customer service-type jobs at some point in our lives, whether that’s retail sales or phone support or whatever, so we do know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of customer abuse and we’re not unsympathetic to that sucking.

  13. bravo369 says:

    Basically #2 should be say don’t even bother talking to the rep, ask for a supervisor immedieately.

  14. yasth says:

    @losiek:

    1. Re: “Please don’t say that it is free with Carrier X, especially if it isn’t” – well, sorry, this is your own game. When we, mortals, subscribe to new services, you guys advertise these “free” things as if they were free. So now, when we upgrade, you are trying to say they cost $X000 over the course of contract? Bummer! You changed our perception, so now we have full right saying the company X offers it for free.

    I think the insider was mostly saying don’t bring up things that will become a research battle. After all retention reps are trained to convince people. Give them an opening, and it is their job to go in their and explain that over the life of the contract you are losing money, or worse to look it up and find out you are a liarmouth.

  15. yasth says:

    @bravo369:

    Basically #2 should be say don’t even bother talking to the rep, ask for a supervisor immedieately.

    Don’t do that, really horrid idea. You won’t get a supervisor, and it marks you as a bad apple. Sometimes even though the court vizier can’t help you, you still must explain everything to them, that you may get the chance to explain it to someone who can help.

  16. deepsprint says:

    Very well written article.

    One thing about Sprint retention you need to know: If you call retention and get something (free phone, large charge adjusted, etc) you get marked as “Saved” and the rep you spoke to gets points towards her commission. Then you cannot be saved again for 180 days to discourage what the writer above called “Frequent Fliers”. If you call retention again in less than 180 days to get a free phone you will be told no because you are asking the rep to give you something (a chunk of her budget) in return for nothing (the points you are worth to her).

    This does not apply to legitimate billing issues. If you have a problem it will be fixed regardless of the rep getting points or not. I’m talking about the game of crying wolf and threatening to cancel if you don’t get a free phone. That bird will only fly once every six months.

    So if you’re in the habit of asking for retention for every little thing because the service is so much better than what you get from the off-shore call centers, don’t be surprised when you are told no when you need something substantial like a free replacement phone.

  17. bravo369 says:

    @yasth: I understand what you’re saying but the CSR said in one of them that the customer should be upfront in what they want from the CSR. likewise, the CSR should be upfront if I need to talk to someone else to resolve something. If I want the ETF waived and you are not authorized to help me then don’t waste my time and put me with someone who can help. Last thing I want to do is argue with a person for 20 minutes and then have to ask for a supervisor and start over again.

  18. Pink Puppet says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: When I was a CSR for Sprint, I stopped being helpful the second someone started behaving inappropriately with me. I was fairly good at my job, and sweeter than sugar to the ill-bred S.O.B., but nothing in the job says I have to take verbal abuse.

    I don’t know, maybe something about curse words seems to just render me completely incapable of problem-solving beyond the most basic level. Particularly where good will credits were concerned.

  19. b612markt says:

    awesome post! I am a loyal Verizon customer and will probably stay with them forever. However – I wanted a new phone. The LG Voyager was $369 in the store, $299 online. I called Verizon and asked for a bigger discount, and got the phone for $250 and a $50 MIR – making the phone $200! All I did was ask nicely!

  20. sam1am says:

    Interesting article, but I have one note.

    Companies do not charge MORE money to “stay competitive.” You can’t say “we’re only charging this nonsensical fee because company X does it too, and we want to stay in the game.” That doesn’t make any sense.

    It’s not like if you stopped charging nonsensical fees customers would leave in droves or be less willing to sign up with you.

  21. TechnoDestructo says:

    “courtesy credits for past inconveniences?” The only “inconveniences” I’ve ever gotten from a cell phone carrier were billing errors.

  22. cde says:

    @sam1am: You’re obviously new here. Go look at the Airline posts. When one raises a fee, they all do.

  23. Parting says:

    @Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler: You can dial 1-866 number for free from any Bell paid phone for free, and get to tech support. It still means you have to walk, but look at the bright side, you get to exercise :)

    I tried pretty much all companies, and best support was from Telus for PDA phones or billing problems. (I remember my encounter with Fido with horror, bad phones, rude customer service, my first phone was with them)

  24. Parting says:

    @TechnoDestructo: She means mainly people calling with demands to compensate for XYZ event that happened. (Ex : a girl called demanding that she’d be compensated for her day of work, because her alarm didn’t go off on her cellphone – heard it from a CSR I met)

    Legitimate demands have nothing to do with courtesy. When a billing mistake is made it’s not your fault. However, whatever consequences you can get from malfunctioning/no service, isn’t provider’s problem, as per terms of your contract).

  25. vuze says:

    Any suggestions on how to get out of a contract with U.S. Cellular? Got a year left and want an iPhone bad….

  26. bloodguy says:

    The submitter probably works for US Celluar. I worked for them for 11 yrs myself. Two in the CS capacity.

  27. Charlotte Rae's Web says:

    thanks for sending this in.

  28. iskandertime says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: Wow, yesyesyes you are right. All jobs are customer service jobs, by the way. Thanks for posting!

  29. loueloui says:

    @bloodguy: I would guess AT&T. I got a look at their screen when I went in to one of their stores last week. Your account is plainly scored for profitability, ‘churn’ and some other stuff.

    Why should my account have a score, much less have it be available to every Joe Blow in the company? Nothing says ‘We just want your money’ like being rated for profitability.

    Also, I do a lot of consultancy work for call centers, and there is the potential for abuse from both sides of the line. While some customers have a legitimate beef, a lot of people just call in to get something for nothing.

    The biggest problems arise from companies where the upper management implements truly idiotic and arbitrary rules for the reps. Often these people do not understand what it really means to offer good service, and how to fix problems when they do happen. Severely limiting what the reps can, and cannot do will save money in the short run, but affect consumer sentiment, and cost you many customers. This is why Sprint yo-yos between their stingy retention policy, and giving away the store.

  30. dragonfire81 says:

    @sam1am:

    Actually companies can and DO charge more money under that guise. Let’s say you’re running a business and have 3 major competitors. All of your competitors raise prices, you gain some customers, but in the end you decide to raise your prices anyway and you can justify simply: “If I raise my prices to near the level of my competitors I won’t lose much business since if my customers go elsewhere the rates will be equivalent and I can make more money by raising my rates.”

    It’s dirty, but it happens. Anything to make a buck.

  31. oakie says:

    @vuze: YES!

    go pay your goddamn ETF like you agreed to do when you signed up for service, then go see an AT&T retail outlet or purchase online.

    everyone who buys a cellphone and service should be well aware of the contract terms. if you do not take the time out to research what you’re getting into before signing the agreement, you shouldnt expect a HIGHER level of service or special exceptions. if anything, you should be slapped for being an immature twit.

    i agree with the OP. great article, and it really SHOULD be common sense. it seems that with any service industry that deals with primary communication like internet, telephone, television, etc, that customers seem to think they’re entitled to preferential treatment or that they’re doing the business some “great favor”. it’s a service that YOU want, and they have laid out their terms… it is up to you to choose to agree to those terms or find a competitor with terms that you can agree to.

    but for christ’s sakes, i wish people would live up to the contracts they signed rather than abuse a lot of the information Consumerist has to offer to benefit their own greedy desires.

    if someone doesnt want a contract or the risk of paying an ETF, why not sign up for pre-paid service? they dont offer the phone you want? too bad… it’s called being reasonable with your demands. but of course it all goes back to self-centeredness. some of you idiots should have been slapped around more by your parents… especially people who yell and swear at CSR’s simply because you’re getting exactly what you signed up for.

  32. matt314159 says:

    I was in contact with a Sprint Retentions representative just this morning. I think the key to getting great service through retentions (and I’ve done this with credit card companies, our VOIP carrier, our Cable company, as well as Sprint) is to be genuine, direct, friendly and respectful to the agent you’re speaking with. The quicker you can develop a rapport with them, the better the outcome. Don’t jabber on trying to make all kinds of meaningless smalltalk, but at least call them by their name…little things like that seem to help a lot.

    This morning I called in because Sprint eCare directed me to…apparently they were unable to accommodate my request, so they shuffled me off to retentions. I briefly explained what was going on to the agent and he said, “well, usually people I speak to in this department are calling to cancel, is this the case?” I got the clue, so I kind of coyly said, “well depends on what we can get done here today” at which point he really opened up and started talking to me. He said, “that was pick3 you wanted to add, correct? Can you hold a moment?”. I said “sure, take your time, I’m not in any hurry”.

    He came back on the line, asked me to name off the three numbers I wanted for the pick3, then had me hold for a second more, and said, “okay, now how about two more numbers?”….I said “wait, are we adding pick3 or pick5 to the plan?” He said, “I’m giving you pick5″. I asked if there was any kind of recurring monthly charge for that, he said, “nope, I’m setting you up a monthly credit to take care of it all for you”. So for a 10 minute phone call, I got Pick5 added to my account for free. And I was only fishing for Pick3!

    I know it’s a small thing, but it really made me appreciate my experience with the agent, and because of that, I am more than happy to share it with others.

    I hope Chris got his points for “saving” me. :)

  33. Wimpkins says:

    Good info…

    BUT

    Whatever, it’s the same situation the carrier across the street.

    I love how it’s called a contract, when I’ve had no chance to negotiate anything in it.

  34. Jim says:

    @sam1am: I keep hearing “we’re just trying to stay competitive” from gas stations too. Same thing. While I realize profit margins are slim (allegedly), charging me more so you can stay in business sounds like it isn’t my problem. If you can’t stand the heat…

  35. Jim says:

    @matt314159: I hope it actually happens. Beware the billing error!

    Actually, Sprint’s retention dept. is the only division I don’t have a beef with that I know of. When my first contract expired with them, I didn’t want to pay $150 for the “free” phone, so I called from the Cingular Store, told them what phone and plan Cingular had in front of me. “Match or cancel?” They beat the offer and kept me. Sprint still sucks, but I didn’t have to change which circle of cellular hell I am in.

  36. kamel5547 says:

    @TheUncleBob: “small regional cell phone company ” Probably means something along the lines of US Cellular, MetroPCS, Alltel or some other variant. I think T-Mobile charges an ‘activation fee’ for phone upgrades (or did, its been a while). It may not be called an upgrade fee but that is essentially what it is.

  37. Transuranic says:

    Can I just point this out:

    “If you don’t want to be asked the questions, … you don’t even need to speak to the carrier you’re porting from, just bring your account number, and password on the account if there one, to the new carrier, and we’ll be done.”

    My Spidey-sense rings out whenever I hear that.

  38. Nytmare says:

    @oakie: You’re a hypocrite. You are criticizing people for swearing and insulting CSRs, while you yourself are swearing and calling us names in your very own post. You ought to make up your mind whether or not swearing and insulting other people is acceptable behavior.