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- I’ve been able to save over $1,200 in two years by negotiating my recurring bills.
- I call my utility companies twice every year to chat with customer service representatives, highlighting my customer loyalty to get better rates.
- My go-to script also works when a service was not tendered as expected.
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I love talking with customer service reps.
Most people find that weird. Why would you like to be put on hold forever? Why would you like battling with reps only to be told that “there’s nothing we can do?”
Twice a year like clockwork, I make calls to the companies that charge me recurring bills: car/renter’s insurance, cell phone, and cable. And I look forward to it every time.
I look forward to it because I understand how to do it. Nine times out of ten, I succeed in getting what I want (and sometimes, more than what I want).
When I tell my friends about my mini-obsession, they say they’d love to do it too, but have no idea how. I’ve prepared an exact script for you whether you’re on the phone or on social media/email that has been proven to work with my friends and clients.
1. Be polite and jovial … the entire time
If you’re on the phone, the customer service rep will usually state their name and ask how can they help you. They will be more willing to go out of their way to help if you treat them like a real human (shocking, I know).
Here’s what you say: “Hello NAME, how are you? I’m doing great, thank you for asking. I’m having an issue and I would love for you to help me.”
By asking them to help, you’re immediately giving them an opportunity for a win. Their brain should go, “Help? Yes! I can do that! That’s what I’m here for!”
2. State your problem
Maybe you found a better insurance rate with another company. Or you discovered an exclusive offer your phone carrier is running.
Say something like, “I saw that you’re offering an unlimited data plan for only $5 more a month. I’d love to find out how I can take advantage of this offer.”
3. Show your loyalty
Companies are more able and excited to help you if you can demonstrate you’re a repeat customer. They want you to continue doing business with them, and for you to have a great experience.
My dad is one of the best negotiators I’ve ever met. When he negotiated his bills, he’d say, “How long have I been a customer with you?” To which they’d respond, “Twelve years, Mr. Dunlap.” “Twelve years! That’s a long time. How can we work together to make sure it’s 13?”
You can follow my dad’s script, or say: “As a [mileage plan member, a 5-year Verizon customer, etc.], I’d really love to continue being a loyal, valued customer.”
Not a loyal customer? Turn that into a potential win for them. “I’d really love for you to earn my loyalty and business today.”
4. Seal it with the zinger
You now want to offer them the opportunity to offer you what you’re looking for. Say, “I want to have a great customer experience today with COMPANY NAME. What can you do for me?”
5. Didn’t work? Don’t give up
If you’re ready to throw in the towel at, “Sorry, there’s nothing we can do,” think again. Companies know you’re already uncomfortable – most people will say thank you and hang up. You’re not most people.
Repeat steps two and three, expressing again your loyalty, and ask if there is anything they can do for you. Never beg, but now you want to be a bit more forceful. Remind them that you want to have a great customer experience today, and that they have the opportunity to make it happen.
I was once on the phone with a company for a half hour to get a $140 charge overturned. The customer service rep gave me about 15 chances to walk away by saying there was nothing he could do, but I didn’t stop. I was patient, calm, and kind (even when he put me on hold for 10 minutes.) In my persistence, I walked away with $140 back in my pocket.
6. Thank them
Sometimes they don’t budge. It happens. Keep your cool: Thank them for their time, and sign off. If you’re still not satisfied, use either an alternative method of contacting them, or wait a day and call back (I’ve often gotten to speak with someone else who was way more helpful).
This script also works for when something goes wrong (your flight gets delayed, a product breaks.) In 2017, I earned over $350 in miles, travel credit and perks by contacting an airline’s customer service (first, a major delay occurred; second, our seat-back screens didn’t work on our international flight). At a time when companies are putting more stock in loyal customers and airlines especially are scrambling to earn your business, politely demanding what you paid for just makes sense.
Using this script can be a great way to save hundreds on your annual bills, and is my favorite way of earning back some quick cash.
- Read more about saving money:
- I moved to South Korea to teach English and travel – and in the process, I paid off about $16,000 of debt and saved nearly as much
- I signed up for $1 million of life insurance before I ever had a family, and it sounds like a lot – but if I could do it again, I’d get twice as much
- Property values in my neighborhood are skyrocketing and friends tell me to ‘just buy already,’ but here’s why I won’t
- I’ve been an Airbnb host for a year, and while I’m glad we did it, I wouldn’t tell just anyone to try