If you’ve been with your carrier for a while, and your account is in good standing, there’s a good chance you’re paying too much for service each month…
There are better deals to be had... but you have to know who to talk to.
And it’s not your local store or the customer service department.
You need to speak to someone in Customer Retention.
In this guide, we’ll cover who these people are, how to reach them and exactly what to say to unlock the secret deals you won’t find anywhere else…
Let’s dive in!
Before we get to the tips, there’s some preparing you must do.
These steps will help you understand what you need in a plan and the options available from other service providers.
We’ll use this information to shift the power to your side during negotiations.
Get Ready to Take Notes
This process might take a few calls...
To succeed, you’ll need some information.
So grab a notepad, fire up a spreadsheet or break out Evernote so you can keep everything organized as you go.
You’ll also find a cheat sheet at the end of this guide if you’d prefer to use that instead.
Take A Good Look at Your Bill
Log in to your account or dust off those envelopes and take a look at your monthly bill.
Note your usage, what you’re paying and anything you might not need.
You can also see if there’s any features missing you might want.
Don’t use most of what you pay for in your plan? You might find some serious savings by following our Guide to Reducing Your Mobile Phone Bill.
If your plan fits your usage already, then keep reading to uncover added savings...
Research Competing Offers
With your usage and needs covered, take a look at competing carriers. See if they offer any promotions at a better rate than your current plan.
Our plan comparison tool makes it easy to compare your options without juggling 20 tabs or digging through endless pricing pages.
Note how much you can save with your carrier’s competitors…
Some might even give you credit on your bill or send you a prepaid card with a sign-on bonus.
We’ll use this information in our negotiations later.
Just remember, big carriers might not match what a smaller carrier, regional carrier or prepaid carrier can offer.
Getting Past the Gatekeepers
Getting the most savings on your bill means going beyond customizing it to fit your needs…
It also means getting past the first line of support at your carrier. Past the gatekeepers.
While customer service agents (and even their supervisors) might help with minor things, they’re not authorized to hand out the best deals.
They’re just filtering out the basic issues and trying to make people happy as quickly as possible.
Remember: be polite but firm...
...The agent on the other end of the phone is a person too.
Getting angry, being rude or treating them poorly won’t help you—in fact, it might give them a reason to hang up. Then you’re stuck starting over.
Start by asking if they can help with your bill…
Something along the lines of:
“Hi [Agent Name]! I’ve been with [Carrier Name] for X years. While I’m happy with my service, my monthly bill is just too high for my budget. Is there any way we can lower it?”
They’ll probably place you on hold…
Get used to this, you will be listening to a lot of slow jazz and soft rock hits…
The agent will come back and say one of two things:
“I’m sorry… you’re already getting our best rates and your plan fits your usage. Is there anything else I can help you with?”
“We can save you a little money by [X], [Y] or [Z]. Does this sound good to you?”
REMEMBER: No matter what this agent offers, the answer is always NO.
Why? As good as the deal might appear, any retention or loyalty deal is likely better!
This is where you jump in and get your ticket to customer retention.
Say something like:
“I appreciate your help [Agent Name]. This is a good start, but still not quite where I need my plan to be. Is there someone I can speak to about cancelling my service? I hate to go, but if you can’t help, I’ll need to switch providers.”
They’ll likely place you on hold again and transfer you...
The Main Event: Negotiating with the Retention Department
Agents in the retention department have one job: try to keep you on as a customer.
Sure... businesses have to balance profits with what their customers want...
But it’s always cheaper to keep a customer with a discount than to find a new one altogether.
This means that retention agents hold the keys to the best deals on offer.
Again, remember to be polite but firm.
You’ll start with recapping your discussion with the previous agent,
“Hi [New Agent Name]! I was just speaking with [Old Agent Name] about lowering my monthly bill. I’ve been with [Carrier Name] for [X] years and I really want to stay with you. But the cost is just too much for me…”
Then sprinkle in the information we gathered earlier…
“[Other carrier] is offering [Plan Details] for [X] per month. I can’t ignore a deal that good. Any way you can match it?”
If you get a “yes” then this is your chance to pounce and get the better deal.
But there’s a good chance that you’ll get put on hold while they look at options…
… then they’ll come back with something in the middle…
“I’m sorry, but we don’t offer a plan like that at this time. What we do have is [Plan Details]. Would that work for you?”
Again, decline and repeat the offer from another carrier…
You might find that they come back with a better offer.
If they don’t, it’s time to ask them to leave notes on your account and end the call.
You might need to repeat this process a few times before you get an agent ready to help you.
If they do make an attractive offer, don’t get too excited and say yes just yet!
There’s still one more step to the negotiations…
Documenting Your New Deal
Before you agree to anything there’s some information you’ll want to get first…
It will give you leverage if this good deal is too good to be true or something changes on your bill that you didn’t agree to.
Ask the retention agent for the following:
Their name and/or employee number
A direct number to reach them (or at least a direct line to the retention department)
An identifier code, name or other way to refer to this deal if you should need to call back or visit a retail location
The exact terms of the plan and the costs associated
The date and time of the call
If they’re willing to email you this information in writing, that’s best.
But write it down incase the email never shows up.
With your proof of the deal in place, agree to the deal and think of how to use that extra money you’re saving each month!
Wrapping Things Up
Hopefully, the agent is good on their word and you’ll see a much friendlier total when the next bill arrives…
If not, it’s time to break out your notes and get in touch with your service provider. You can either call in to customer care and ask to speak with a supervisor or head to your local retail location.
As with before, be sure to remain calm and respectful. Outline the information you collected from the retention agent and ask for a resolution.
With the evidence to back up your claim, you should have no problem getting things set right.
This Sounds Too Stressful… Any Other Options?
Spending an hour or two on the phone haggling over prices isn’t exactly exciting...
The US enjoys a growing market of services designed to help you haggle your monthly bills--including your cellphone bill. But here in Canada, options are scant.
The only company for consumers we could find is MyBillsAreHigh.
You can check out their details below:
|Company||How It Works||What You Pay||More Info|
|Sign up for a free consultation and they'll gather information about your current bills.||
If they cannot find you savings, you don't pay anything
If they do, you'll pay a portion of the total savings as a service fee. Exact totals will depend on the amount saved and complexity of your billing situation.
If you're a business, there's a few more options:
|Company||How It Works||What You Pay||More Info|
|You provide the information about your accounts and required features and they'll set to work optimizing your plans, auditing your bills and finding savings opportunities.||
Costs are not mentioned on their site. However, they offer a consultation to discuss details and outline expenses.
|PBC Communications Inc takes a look at your current accounts and bills, as well as past bills, to understand your needs. It then audits bills and looks for opportunities to save you money.||Costs are not mentioned on their site. However, they offer a consultation to discuss details and outline expenses.||PBC Communications, Inc|
|CMC and Co looks for opportunities in your existing bills to save you money. Services include bill audits, negotiation and price comparisons.||Costs are not mentioned on their site. However, they offer a consultation to discuss details and outline expenses.||CMC and Co|
The good news is that most companies won't charge you if they can't find you any savings. So there's little risk in checking your options.
Most also base costs around the amount they save you. So you'll never have to worry about spending more than you save. You’ll pay off the service and be pocketing more money each month before you know it!
P.S. If you still can’t find a deal you like speaking with retention, but find a good deal with another carrier, it might be time to switch. Our Guides on Getting Out of Your Mobile Contract and Early Termination Fees can show you what to expect and highlight tips and tricks for minimizing the costs of switching.