I don’t usually look this happy when dealing with phone companies but here’s how to communicate with them so you get the phone service you need.
Whether it be cell phone, or land line, Blackberry or iPhone, no one is immune to the pitfalls of technology. What can be even more frustrating is communicating with the phone companies when your phone service doesn’t meet your needs. Here’s how to haggle and negotiate your way to better service.
Know your facts
Before you pick up the phone, know exactly what the terms of your phone service are. Sean Provencher, a Toronto-based entrepreneur who is well-versed in dealing with phone companies says that knowing your numbers such as how much you pay per month and per year is key.
“Use [these numbers] when negotiating and remind them how much money you bring them and how long you’ve been a good and loyal customer,” Provencher says. Pointing out how many minutes you use, how long you have been with them or how many of their other services you use can all play a part in the negotiating process.
Provencher also advises knowing your facts. If you’re experiencing problems with your service have the dates when the issues started, length of time and frequency to make your point that it has genuinely affected you.
Keep track of your calls, because getting results from a phone company may require more than one phone call. Track the times and dates of all previous calls, not to mention who you spoke to and about what, otherwise you’ll just go in circles.
Take what you can get
Although it may be money or a reduced bill you’re after, that may not be what you end up getting. Provencher notes that compensation these days mostly comes in the form of tweaks to your hardware or plan, such as monthly discounts, free services for a while or free handset upgrades.
Timing is everything
The best time to try to negotiate your services is when your contract (if you have one) is set to expire. Providers want you to sign a new one and may be more willing to throw in a few extras for that commitment.
Watch your attitude
Although you may be upset when you call staying calm and polite will get you further than rude and aggressive. It also indicates that you are an intelligent, rational person who is honestly concerned about your service. Getting upset and angry will likely only result in the representative disconnecting the call.
Know who you’re speaking with
If you’re not speaking with someone who has the authority to resolve your problem or offer compensation you’re at a dead end. As Provencher points out, the person answering the phone is likely not a manager, so clarify what their capabilities are and if they aren’t able to help you ask to speak to someone higher up. You will likely speak to several people before you reach someone who can help you, so don’t give up after the first try.
Do your homework
Know what other providers offer in order to get what you want. If they are hedging on agreeing to something you are looking for, point out that their competitor would only be too happy to provide the same thing.
Know where to focus
Poor service is the easiest issue to complain about because it’s very hard to dispute. What may not be bad service to one person is terrible to another. Items under warranty are a no-brainer as you have the proof in your contract of what you should be owed.
They need you
Always remember that any provider is a service that needs customers, and they want to keep your business. It may not hurt to remind them that you pay them a lot of money when asking for something so have these numbers readily available when you call.
Know when to fold
Know when to walk away and save yourself the hassle. Provencher advises if you have asked for the supervisor three times and they have refused to transfer you, you’re not likely to get any further during this call.
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