If your mobile phone bill is draining your wallet each month, you may not need to switch carriers to get a better deal. Most mobile providers are interested in customer retention, so you might be able to negotiate a better rate for your existing service provider. With a little patient persistence on your part, most mobile providers will work to retain your business by yielding to your reasonable request for a reduction in rate.
Negotiation Preparation Tips
If you intend to make the call to ask for a lower rate, you should ensure that you have the upper hand in the negotiation. When you call, most companies direct you through a series of automated surveys that help determine which department is best-suited to handle your issue. Make sure to say the word “cancel” when you are in these automated menus, rather than “customer service.” Your call is likely to be answered by a retention specialist who will try to talk you out of canceling your service. This is exactly the representative with whom you need to speak. Customer service call center employees are unable to make changes to a mobile rate, so speaking to one would result only in time wasted on hold.
Polite Presentation Counts
Be polite with the phone rep. The people who answer calls are not those who set your contract to high monthly payments, so expressing anger during the conversation will only make them happy to close your account. Inform the phone operator politely that you intend to close your account with the company. The representative will remind you of how long you have been a customer — the longer you have had service with a company, the more eager they are to keep you, especially if you have a record of timely payments. Keep in mind that both you and the person with whom you speak have the same goal in mind for your call: Keeping you happy with the same mobile provider is the desired result.
Carrier’s Opening Offer
When the representative asks why you wish to cancel service, simply state that you cannot afford the charges. You needn’t come up with some emotional story or excuse: The mobile company is highly unlikely to pull your tax information and deny your claims. In most cases, the rep will say something to the effect of, “Let’s see what we can do.” This is where negotiation begins. The first offer made is usually an insubstantial nod to your plight, but it is not a deep discount by any standard. Often, you will be offered a six-month rate that matches the introductory price given to new users. Decline the offer and politely inform the representative that you need a permanent reduction in your rate or you will simply not be able to afford to keep your mobile phone service.
Final Offer and Acceptance
You will almost certainly be placed on hold at this point in a call. You may need to speak with a supervisor, so be prepared to reiterate that you cannot afford the offer on the table. This is the moment in the call where your service provider will actually attempt to retain your business. You will likely be offered an unadvertised rate that is quite a bit lower than any you find with a competing service. Accept graciously and enjoy your savings.
by Jaye Ryan, a freelance writer who loves to write about cheap mobile phone contracts on behalf of MobilePhones.org.uk.