Our lives are full of fixed expenses. Things like our mortgage/rent, insurance, car payments, utilities (gas, hydro, water). There's also extras like cable, internet, home phone and cell phones. Most companies today offer bundle packages for all the extras. We are currently with Rogers, with a bill of approximately $235 a month for our internet, cable and cell phones. $235 isn't so bad, but with our finances being what they are, I wanted to see if we could get that down. Here's the breakdown of what we pay.
1) Internet- High speed express 60GB, 10MGH for $52.73/month
2) Cable- 4 PVR boxes (for free, it was a really good deal I worked out last year) HDTV specialty channels, Digital VIP cable for $79.63/month
3) Cell phone- Family plan, 100 pooled minutes, free between us calls, weekends free for $102.95/month
Plus taxes and occasionally cell phone overages that gets us to $235. So my first step was to call Rogers to find out if we could lower our payments. The first guy I spoke to was nice, but not very helpful. He basically told me that there wasn't anything they could do. So I decided to call their competitor, Bell. When I spoke to the woman I told her exactly why I was calling, I would be willing to switch our 3 services to their company if they could give me a better deal. The lady made a good deal for me, $58.80 for cable, $49.99 for internet and $67.80 for cell phones. Great, now I had my ammunition. So I called Rogers back and requested their customer retention or sales department (these departments tend to be more able to discount prices for you and make sure they keep you as a client). I spoke to a nice man named Brian. I told him straight out that we needed to lower our bill for the month and I told him that I talked to Bell, and although I really would rather stay with Rogers, I would switch to Bell if need be.
Brian was excellent, after about an hour on the phone with him he had pretty much beaten everything Bell was going to give us, and in most cases improved the service we were getting. Here's our breakdown as of next month.
1) Internet- Upped to extreme with 95GB, upped to 14MGH, 1 year contract and a 30% discount for the year which comes to $47.80/month
2) Cable- everything that we had before but he's giving us a 20% discount for a year $60.06/month
3) Cell phone- 600 pooled minutes, free between us calls, free weekends AND evenings, and 2500 text messages (that's where most of our overages came from) $10 off for a two year term and I have the option to upgrade both phones for about $9... totaling to $62.33/month
With all these discounts that brings our bill from $235/month to $170.19/month. That's a staggering $65 in savings... every month! That's $780 for the year! Ok, so Rogers only beat Bell's deal by $6.40 but all in all it decreased my bill by a lot more! Here are my tips for doing this yourself.
- Ask for the Sales or Customer Retention department. These agents have greater access to the system than your regular CSR (customer service rep).
-Be nice! I mean kill them with kindness. Before you give them your name say "Hi (repeat their name and write it down) how are you doing today?" then provide whatever info they were asking for.
- Tell them why you're calling and be honest. I'm going on mat leave, we can't afford the bill, whatever the case may be.
- Get ammunition. Call a competitor, do your homework, know what else is out there in the market.
- Be a little demur. Don't be a bull in a china shop i.e.: "I just talked to Bell and they are going to give me XYZ, you guys better do more or I'm leaving" That's probably not going to get you very far. (I hate to say it but I've seen a lot better results when women call as opposed to men.)
-If you don't feel like you have a good rapport with your rep, end the conversation, call back and try again.
- Tell them that you would really rather stay with them, but with the economy etc. "maybe you can help me out" (generally people like to Help others, it makes them feel good)
- Last but not least, ALWAYS ask to speak to the manager afterwards. The rep will probably freak out and ask you why so just let them know that you would like to commend them for being so great. Tell the manager what you liked about the rep. Reps have a really hard job, they are often told off my customers, so compliment them when it is deserved, and I wouldn't be surprised if they leave some kind of note in your account *good client* which might help you out next time you call.
Good luck saving!