There are a lot of reality TV shows that are just hardcore, no-nonsense representations of people standing firm (usually) and making or saving money, sometimes by the handful! These shows also make you yearn to do the same. While you may not have the wheelbarrows full of cash to buy houses or lockers and turn them for profit, you may still be able to do the same with your cable bill. On top of this, the tactics presented here will require no monetary investment whatsoever. Follow these steps and you might just see a further reduction in your bill.
I warn you in advance that the following things I am sharing with you are hardcore tactics that I have successfully used to deal with several cable and satellite companies. I have even negotiated for friends by pretending to be them and making them very happy with the results.
Be Friendly and Respectful but Firm
You may have heard the phrase “kill them with kindness” or “honey attracts more bees than vinegar”. Contrary to popular belief, this tactic is hardcore.
Most people who try tactics such as we are about to embark on, fall down and resort to anger or hostility. This will blow you out of the water before you even get started, so put on your kind face and keep it there.
Additionally, various vendors have developed some really nasty ways of handling the “difficult” customer and they define the meaning of “difficult”. I guarantee their definition will be vastly different from yours and also have a lower threshold than you would think.
One cable provider has a policy that says they reserve the right to hang up on customers that use profanity with their customer service and technical repair representatives. They will put you subsequent calls in a holding loop of 30 or more minutes to cool you down and teach you a lesson before they finally answer the phone. If you continue this behavior or are really nasty, they will cancel your account.
Another company has a difficult and a “red” list. At the start of being difficult, your customer record is marked with a “difficult” tag and the representatives will be taking a microscope look at your behavior on all future calls. If you keep calling back over and over again, they will put you on the “red” list. Once you are on the red list, they will no longer take your calls in the customer service group.
If you ever get on any of these lists, go to an office that has real people and tell them your troubles and be really kind. They might get you off the list.
You have to have the latest in weapons in order to prepare yourself for a hardcore battle. No, I do not mean to go out and pick up a bazooka or a shoulder-fired missile – you need to arm yourself with the proper information. Good, accurate and up-to-date information is the most available ammo you need for the ensuing battle.
Get a copy of your latest cable bills and keep them beside you. Highlight your account number, address, telephone number and the last 5 digits of your Social Security number. You would be surprised on how many people draw a blank when asked for your address.
Now, get prices for similar services from competing providers. Get costs for various optional features, such as DVR, too. Do not forget to get both cable and satellite vendors. There is currently a war between cable and satellite providers and you can use this to leverage your position.
Watch the commercials on TV and see what your vendor is offering new customers. You can also search on Broadband Expert to compare the available competitors and their various packages and options.
Call your cable or satellite provider and tell them you would like to get a better deal on your service. You should already be armed with the special prices being offered to new subscribers. If you ask nicely, chances they will give you the introductory price. If not, tell them how long you have been a customer and you would really like to stay with them.
You can also tell the customer service representative of competing vendors and ask them to match or even beat the price.
Don’t fall for the trick of them throwing in a movie channel for free for six months instead of reducing the cost. You are not watching that channel now, so you don’t really need it. After all, your goal is to reduce your cable bill.
Here is a hard part: If you did not get any satisfaction, wait one or two minutes and call back. Chances are you will get a different representative who may have a need to save a customer for his or her monthly quota.
Even call back a third or fourth time during different times of the day a few days later. Try asking for their supervisor or manager. Above all, keep your smiley attitude in full control of the situation.
Please note that I am not telling you to make any threatening remarks. Saying “I’ll teach you a thing or two” and then asking for their boss may be considered a terroristic threat.
You don’t want your local SWAT team paying you a visit. They take these things seriously these days. Also remember about the “bad lists” because you don’t want to make this process any harder on yourself.
Here is how to successfully threaten your provider while staying respectful and cordial. Call up the number to disconnect your service or press the number for service disconnection.
You will be transferred to someone who has a lot more power. In fact these service representatives are trained to maintain existing customers and prevent them from jumping ship. They have the power and can use it if you are polite.
Calmly explain to them your dilemma, how long you have been a customer, and why you want to leave. You will already have all the facts and figures at your fingertips. You will also have your spiel down and all of this should flow smoothly off of your tongue.
Chances are the anti-disconnect rep will grant you a better deal. They don’t call them retention officers for nothing.
Please don’t misunderstand me by making protest placards and picketing your cable company. Don’t join any protect group either.
When I say “move on” that’s exactly what you need to do: Move on to a new provider and start saving money. After all, you collected all the competing vendors and know who has the best pricing.
An added benefit is you will be a new customer for them and you might even be able to use two competitors and get the better company for a really great price.
Are you ready to do it? Are ready to do it right now? If you have any anxiety, find a friend and ask them to play the representative with the difficult attitude. An hour or so practice will get you in shape and build up your confidence.
Now, go do it! Remember to keep your smiley attitude in control.