Let me start off by saying that there is a time and a place to ask for a discount. And what you’re asking for has to be reasonable. That being said, A LOT of people leave money on the table and walk away thinking that they got a good deal, and learning how to ask for a discount will save you hundreds, if not thousands.
Having worked in customer service when I was younger, I had people ask for a discount all the time, as a result, I’ve gotten used to walking in retail stores and asking to see if they are discounting anything. You’d be surprised at how often the people at the cash register will mark down something if you ask. It doesn’t work every time, but it works often enough that its worth the effort.
Instead of talking about general practices, I thought I might show how I deal with my telecommunications company.
Some background: I’ve been with this company since 2002, I have every service that they offer, and most of my services are high end. I don’t call to get credits for every little outage, and I have my bills setup on pre-authorized so I always pay on time.
Now these facts would put me in a different category than most clients. For 1, I spend close to $400 a month with them, so when I call and ask for things, they normally comply. That, however, should not stop you from asking for discounts. I haven’t paid full price in years.
How to ask for a discount
The trick is rather easy, and you can do it if you follow the steps below.
1) Do an audit of your services. Look at what you’re using monthly, what services are you paying for that you don’t need/want, and what you would rather have. Have this handy when you call.
2) Do your research. This means that you need to call or go online to find other service providers. You need to be quite aware of what promotions are running and how much you could save, so that you know what you’re doing when you ask for a discount.
3) Know when your contracts are ending. This is key and will help you if you need leverage.
4) Know exactly what you want. This is key because sometimes people get confused and get sold things that they don’t need. Remember, you’re asking for a discount, not a mansion. Be firm, but realistic.
4) Call the main customer service number of your provider and tell them politely that you’re shopping around for cheaper prices. Now at this point most customer service reps will try to sell you on the features and benefits of what you have, or attempt to up-sell you.
5) Tell the customer service rep that you’re looking to cancel as you think you have found cheaper prices elsewhere, and ask for a discount for your monthly services.
6) Get transfered to customer relations or loyalty team.
7) Tell them the prices that you’ve found, a list of services you need, and ask them what they can do for you. DON’T LIE. If you something for $30, and you’re paying $35, tell them the truth. Most companies have resources where they know what the lowest price their competitor is offering.
8) Don’t accept the first offer that you’re given. More often than not, reps are measured by the amount of clients they “save” thus they have mutli-tier back pocket discounts. When they offer you something that’s close to what you want, but not quite there, tell them that.
9) Be reasonable. Asking to pay $20 for a $100 plan isn’t going to happen, but paying somewhere between $50-$60 is a possibility. You’re have to know the difference between how to ask for a discount/ lower monthly service, or something for free. I can’t stress this enough.
10) Be ok with being in a commitment. Chances are that if a company is going to give you 30-40% off your services they want you to stick around. Just make sure that the discount and the term are for the same length of time.
Key points: The discounts that you get are normally dependant on what you spend per month. A company would rather have you pay a little less then lose your entire account. Loyalty also gets really far with most companies. Again, the key being that you don’t harass them every other day. Companies keep track of EVERY SINGLE INTERACTION, and if they see that you called in for a $2 credit, the chances of you getting a bigger discount diminishes rather quickly.
Know that companies worry about churn, and usually go out of their way to retain customers. But that doesn’t mean that they want to hold on to the bad apples. Each time you contact the company it costs them anywhere between $10-$23+ depending on the nature of your inquiry and how specialized the person that you spoke to was. If you’re paying $25 a month and call 4 times a month….well you do the math. There was a story a few years back where AT&T let go of 1000 high risk/churn customers.
AND FINALLY, remember to be nice, and polite. You’d be surprised at how far that goes. I’ve had people give me things that I know they were not authorized because we got along.