And the Horse You Rode in On

This is an expression my Father on occasion used to describe someone claiming they could not help you (what is more, they don’t want to help you). The actual expression is “Screw You, and the horse you rode in on“, but the shortened version (“And the horse you rode in on”) is much more palatable in polite circles.

I had one of these experiences yesterday, talking to a very nice young woman from Rogers. I noted (in this conversation) that Rogers is offering a $10 “unlimited internet” option on their new bundles program, so I figured I’d call to ask whether I (a valued customer of many years (IMHO)), could avail myself of this self-same program.

No, no, no! Your Horse, not your Zebra!

No, no, no! Your Horse, not your Zebra!

The young woman while very sympathetic said that the deal was only available if I added my Home Phone to my Rogers bundle (however if I wanted to add it to my existing package that would cost an extra $30 a month). I mentioned Customer Retention more than once, hoping she might take the hint, however, she finally said, “they most likely won’t want to talk to you about this”.

In my humble view of Customer Service this is the same as saying, “Screw You, and the horse you rode in on” to a customer. I finally asked her to please connect me to customer retention, and she warned me again, but did try to see if they might talk to me.

Did she actually talk to them? Not sure, however she did finally come back and say, “Your current deal with the Internet is all they can do for you, so they don’t wish to talk to you”. I thanked the young woman for her help, but as a last question I asked what the penalty was for breaking my “great deal” early with Rogers, as I do have Bell beating down my door about their Fibe Program. She said it was $20 a month and the deal is until August 2014, I did a quick calculation and said, “…so about $260 to break this deal? OK, thank you.”

While I understand the message that I already have a good deal, and shouldn’t ask for more, responding to a customer with, “I won’t talk to you”, is really a slap in the face to anyone. Having someone from “Customer Retention” deliver this message would have been much more palatable to me, and I would have felt less annoyed by the response.

Did I expect to get this deal? Unless I asked I knew the answer was no, so I asked, but answering, “No and go away!” is a bit more than I expected. Am I saying Rogers is being unreasonable not offering me this deal? Absolutely not, it is within their prerogative not to give me any more deals, my issue is with how the message was delivered. Even unreasonable, needy customers must be treated with a level of respect by giving them a clear and polite response (even if the response is no).

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What is in it for me?

One of the nice things about having written over 2000 posts and being on the job for over 8 years now, is the fact that you have a massive back-log of stuff that my current readers may not have read, so here I give you a post that didn’t really get much notice back 7 years ago, note the style of writing.

Dear Reader,

So as you can tell I am a mercenary blogger and will do many things to make an extra buck or two (witness the ads plastered all over this BLOG if you are unsure of this), so let’s ask ourselves how we can put a few extra bucks in our pockets (and review a few of my initial rants), What’s in it for us?

  1. Stop paying those ridiculously high banking charges (remember?)
  2. Use some coupons when you shop (hey a couple of extra bucks is nothing to sneeze at)
  3. Get a Credit Card that pays you to use it. PC Financial has a nice one (if you like shopping at Loblaws that is), and gives you cash. AMEX and Costco have one that pays cash as well. For heaven’s sake don’t pay to get money back or points (like that CIBC Aeroplan Gold, only if you are a traveling salesman would that work).
  4. Join Petropoints or whatever other “I give you points for shopping here” program you can find (as long as it is free). I also am a member of the CAA, so I get money back for buying gas at PetroCanada
  5. Stop buying those bloody “Lattes” will ya? What’s wrong with the free coffee at work!

OK, so that is the rant for the day, put your money in your pockets!

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A Script for Customer Retention Deals

I did manage to get a good deal on the new iPhone after using pretty much the same script I have used to save money on:

  1. Cable Internet Fees
  2. Bell Landline phones
  3. Cable fees
  4. etc., etc.,

The scenario becomes quite straight forward however beforehand you need to collect some important information:

  • If you are an existing customer, how long have you been a customer? If you have been a customer in good standing (i.e. you paid your bills on time, etc.,) keep that in mind too.
  • Do you have viable alternatives to the service you are attempting to get at a cheaper rate? Usually if you are spread out across various companies you can make statements like, “I have Internet with Rogers, and they keep bugging me to move my phone over to them”, or “Bell Fibe keeps bugging me about how cheap and how fast their internet service is, and I already have Bell phone”, etc.,
  • You can do your own research and talk to competing services and get real “deals” from them, so you can make specific comments about what you have been offered by the competition.

Also keep in mind, if you are bluffing, you cannot let that come out, or you are screwed. I typically am not bluffing, in that I have no real allegiance to any of the major telecomm service providers in Canada (or in the world for that matter).

Step 1: Call Sales or Customer Service

Sh*te Vortex

Customer Retention Sh*te Vortex

You will have to make this call first, since we have figured out that Mortar and Brick Stores are No-Ops. I actually spoke to a Salesperson at the Bell Store and they are equally frustrated that they cannot offer any “deals”.  You must make the first call, be polite, and talk to this first person, ask what kind of deal they can give you.

Almost all of the time this first person can do nothing (I am being polite, this first person can do nothing for you). Eventually you will need to utter the important statement: “Can I please speak to Customer Retention group please?”. If they will not connect you, thank them, hang up and call back again a while later, and hopefully that person will connect you with the folks who can make deals for you. If you can’t get through after several tries, ask to talk to a supervisor, maybe they are the folks to talk to?

No-Fee Scotiabank Value Visa

Step 2: Customer Retention

Once you are talking to Customer Retention (or the supervisor, or the magic deal making person), you need to make it clear you want a better deal because:

  • You are a long time customer
  • You are coveted by their competitor

Or any other reason if you can think of one. It is important to get this person to give you a better deal (or the best deal) so you need to get them to think that you deserve a deal.

If customer retention simply restates the existing deal that the first person told you, this is the wrong person, and you need to ask for another person or their supervisor.

I have found that no matter what, the first deal you get from Customer Retention is not “The Deal“, ask for more! Keep pounding home the point that you are a desirable client, and you want more. Keep at this, pound away about how you want a better deal, and you deserve it.

Step 3: Close the Deal

After you have spent enough time (seems 30-60 minutes is average for me) and you feel you have a good enough deal from Customer Retention, you must close this deal! How do you close this deal? First, don’t just hang up and assume you have the deal, get all the particulars of who you spoke with:

  • Their Name
  • Their phone number
  • Any identifier code for this great deal so when you go to a Mortar and Brick store to consummate the deal, you get what you deserve.
  • The exact amount that this is saving you (see if they might even fax you that information , or e-mail it to you)

I have seen more than one “great deal” go sour, when you show up to close the deal and suddenly the deal has disappeared like a fart in the wind (e.g. the person who gave you the deal is no longer available, thus the deal was never written down).

When you close the deal, get it all in writing, and make sure it is the deal that you wanted (don’t let them make small adjustments that might not be to your advantage).

Sounds complicated? Not really, but I have found that remaining polite throughout works best, you can still sound annoyed but there is no reason to be impolite, simply restate your point with a bit more emphasis (not yelling, just a sterner tone).

Did I miss anything here?

 

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No_Op Storefronts

Yesterday I was out Christmas shopping with my wife and I went into a Bell store to ask about whether I could get a better deal than the one that I can read on Bell.ca for one of the new iPhones, and I was told effectively, No. Now this has happened to me more than once, where I have walked into a Bell, Telus, or Rogers store and I get told that the folks who work in the store are not allowed (or cannot (or even worse will not)) try to make a better deal with an existing customer (which in the case of Bell Mobility, I am (I have been with them for more than 5 years, which I view as a very long-term client)). They can try to make deals for new customers, but not for existing customers.

No-Op

Storefront Locations are of Little Value

Throughout my life I keep coming back to things I learned when I was a young programmer and one of the interesting assembly language commands I come back to is the NoOp (which meant no operation, or do nothing).

What is the point of a NoOp? Well in low-level programming there were needs to sometimes fill out programs or simply have the processor do nothing for a command to let things settle down (yes, settle down is a technical term). In my grammar NoOp became synonymous with Do Nothing.

The Storefronts for most of the major Telecomm companies in Canada have become NoOps : they are simply there for folks who don’t like doing things on-line (and for folks who don’t like calling the Bell Customer Service line). I can go in and buy something (that I could just as easily buy on-line) or I can talk to someone about a problem (which I can do over the phone).

This means that the only way I can get a better deal for an iPhone or any other Bell product will be to call their Customer Line, and then point out that my contract is up in 2 months and that Telus (and Rogers for that matter) are calling me to offer me better deals to have me use their services (i.e. Customer Retention).  I can’t even get a better deal going to a 3rd party such as the Future Shop or Wal-Mart, so it begs the question why are do these Mortar and Brick establishments exist?

 

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One Phone Call and $1200 Dollars Later

As I mentioned last week in Have You Spoken to Our Customer Retention Agent, sometimes a single phone call can save you a lot of money, but first you must make that phone call.

On Friday, I re-read the comments on my posts, and saw that more than one of my commenters said they call Rogers every time to get better deals, so I went to refresh my memory about how much I paid to Rogers for Cable and Internet access, and was astonished to see how high my rate was (and was annoyed with myself for not doing something about it sooner).

It was all quite easy, I called, and once I found the right person to talk to (after 3 different transfers), I got a young lady, who said she could help me out (this is after the first young man I spoke to actually did say, “… it sounds like you are thinking of changing your Cable service, you should talk to our Customer Relations team…” (I kid you not, a bright young man)). I started with how I have been a long time Rogers customer, the young lady then corrected me and said, “Sir you have been a customer since 1991″ (wow that is a long time), so she got on my good side pointing that out.

Typical back and forth discussion about what might and might not be possible, and then the all important, “… I am going to talk to my supervisor, may I put you on hold sir?“, part of the game, and 5 minutes later she returned (my guess is she went to the bathroom and got a cup of coffee, but I can’t be sure of that), I was told that because I was a long time customer and because I have both Cable and Internet with Rogers, I was going to get a $50 a month discount.

This discount only came unless I agreed to a 2 year contract, but over that contract I will then save $1200 on what I am currently paying, so I am not complaining, that is for sure. I also tried to get something free on the Cable side of things, however, she wouldn’t budge on that one (too bad I was hoping to get the movie network free for a month or two, but c’est la vie).

Yet another example of what can happen if you just say to your service provider or bank, “I don’t like the price I am paying for this service”.

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