Adam from Free Press sent us his tips for lowering his cable bill. Using these strategies, Adam reduced his monthly bill from $190 to $90, and added three movie networks, a sports package, and two additional boxes.
1. Go to the Source. When going through the prompts, never call anywhere but the discontinue/reduce services department. Typically this will take you to the customer care department, the people who have the ability to actual do something besides offer you a triple play bundle you probably don’t want. Until changes are made to the current system of retention marketing, this path is your best bet.
2. Make Your Case. After giving them your account number, frame the discussion by mentioning how long you’ve been with them and the amount you’ve been paying. I mention all the interest I’m receiving from competitors and that I’m sick of seeing my rates go up. Remember you’re calling to provide them with an opportunity to continue getting money from you each month.
3. Focus on Price. Don’t call and say you want free HBO. Instead call to ask what can be done to lower your bill. The first thing they will probably do is throw in free HBO. Remind them that you had called to lower your bill, but that you appreciate the concession. If you used to pay significantly less bring it up and mention a particular figure.
4. Get Specific. Make sure to have your bill in front of you and mention specific services. The rep is taught to mention any deal you’re already receiving. Your job is to mention all the services you’re paying full price for. Don’t be afraid to go line by line. You’ll be amazed that all of sudden a deal that simply didn’t exist two minutes ago has magically appeared.
5. Express Your Displeasure. It probably doesn’t help to kick and scream, but be stern. Ultimately, it is up to the rep whether you receive discounts so be upset with the service, not them. I’ve also found they are in better moods in the morning, so call early.
6. You Are Human. Don’t be afraid to remind them of this. Try to get the rep to relate to your problem. Discussing some personal experience that provides another perspective on the frame you’ve built will help. Mention that your roommates or spouse doesn’t know all the specifics; they just think that you’re paying too much.
7. Lock Em In. If you get a deal make sure you know the duration and see about making it longer. It is best to keep track of this because if you let your deals expire, your bill skyrockets. Nonetheless, some of my most effective calls have come after a big increase. You gain much more traction with a bill increase or service outage than just a random, “fed-up,” call.
8. Find a Friend. This could be the most important tip. When you find a responsive rep, stay with them. You’ll know when you get a good rep because when they put you on hold the next thing you hear is the list of deductions to your bill. They recognize that the script and tactics they are given don’t always work and sometimes the extra mile is needed. Get their name and extension and ask for them next time your bill increases. It saves you time and energy and you won’t need to lay all the groundwork again. They know why you’re calling.
9. Persistence Is Key. I still come away empty-handed sometimes, but mostly it is because I’ve been connected to a poor rep. Call back later and hopefully you’ll get someone who recognizes the type of customer their dealing with.
10. It’s Worth the Effort. I have saved my roommates and I more than $2,000 since I moved in two years ago. Not because I have any particular talent but simply because I force the issue.
(Photo: Todd Kravos)