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Have you Spoken to Our Customer Retention Agent?

Written a while ago. Remember to ask for what you want or you will end up with a mediocre deal (at best). Don’t lke this advice? Have you spoken to my Customer Retention Agent?

Written when my wife needed a new phone. She has been using a Telus pay per use plan, which has served her well, but Telus has realized that this plan doesn’t make them enough money, so they are changing it to make it less good.

I am constantly  disgusted by how existing customers for most service companies are treated like cockroaches, and I am even more annoyed by the fact that the “store” for the service company cannot do any “deals” for you either.

Yesterday we walked into the Telus store. The nice young lady gave the same deal that anybody who walked in off the street could get. If you want an iPhone 4S (yes the iPhone 5 is coming out soon, so there should be good deals on the 4S, at least that is what we thought). I was ticked off by this, since my wife has a “credit” with Telus of $180 (where credit does not mean real money, or even usable money) but there was no way to use this “credit” to make the deal any better. I tried a few ways to reflect my annoyance without being rude. Finally the young lady said those magic words:

“… maybe you should call our Customer Retention Agent section on the phone to see if they can give you a better deal…”

I thanked the young lady and we left.

In that one sentence I learned a few things:

  • Telus does not seem to empower their sales people in the store to do much for their customers. Bricks and mortar stores are mostly useless.
  • Deals are out there, but not in the store.
  • The best deal can be had only if you thread to leave Telus. This I got from having to talk to Customer Retention, not the regular on-line sales people. Thus, she must threaten to leave Telus before my wife can get a good deal.
iPhone 3G
No She Got an iPhone 4S at the end of it

My wife and I pieced together all the information needed to call Telus. We could then talk to their Customer Retention group, to get the best deal. My wife did most of the talking and managed to get a fantastic deal. She got her “credit” back and a $100 more on top of that. Off we went to the Telus Store to execute this “great deal”.

Executing the “great deal” that is where all things went a little pear-shaped, because as I said, the folks in the store have no power. My wife wandered into the store, gave all the details of the master plan. The salesperson at the store then attempted to execute the “great deal”. She had to call in to “head office” to make it all work, and at that point the wheels fell off.

Luckily my wife had all relevant information about the chap who gave her the “great deal”. Whomever was on the other end of the phone did not want to honour the “great deal”. An hour and a half later, it seems like Telus may have honoured the “great deal”, but we cannot be sure, until we see the first bill. I am less than impressed by all this flim-flammery that the Telus Customer retention group and the Telus Store have executed.

Is This The Best Deal Customer Retention Can Give ?

My advice is whatever deal you might get over the phone, you will need to get the name of your rep and some kind of identifying number for them. That seemed to be the only thing that might have salvaged my wife’s “great deal”.

Anybody else with a similar Cell Phone tom-foolery story out there ?

Feel Free to Comment

  1. And this advice works for dealing with various phone providers and even credit lenders over the phone. Ask for their retention department when you mean business; this shows them you are serious.

    1. Problem is in Canada (at least) many call centers are refusing customers access to customer retention, claiming the group doesn’t exist? This is the issue when you have very few competitors.

  2. I think perhaps the best solution is to record all your calls with them whenever you’re negotiating a change in terms of your contract (make sure you inform them that you’re recording the conversation). Even better than citing the name of the sales rep (who may or may not still be working there) would be playing back a recording of them agreeing to the terms.

  3. The Telus customer retention folks lied to me about the call display. So I was in the store, and they set up a brand new Bold 9900 and I insisted on reading their contract before signing — sure enough, no call display. They called up customer retention and she called me a liar. So I bid them adieu; they were mad because they’d already activated a phone. By the end of the day, I had activated a new Bold 9900 at FutureShop; I got the call display and another $50 off the handset price. I paid $113 (incl HST) for the handset and my bill is $50 a month plus HST. I get:

    — 200 minutes local
    — 100 minutes LD
    — unlimited talk with My10
    — unlimited texting
    — 1 gigabyte of data (always remember that BlackBerry handsets are WAY better than iPhones and Androids for data usage)
    — voicemail 3
    — call display

    1. Yeh, and that is where I really don’t get the whole Service Industry and some of the folks that work there. It doesn’t matter if you THINK your customer is a liar, you can’t actually say that to them, without them leaving, yet they continue to think that is in their job description (i.e. alienating potential customers and acting like an ass).

      Good on you for a great deal!

  4. Another piece of advice I can offer is to go to Costco. Since they sell phones & plans from all the providers you can compare; and Costco (through Wireless, etc.) has already done a lot of the negotiating for you and usually has some pretty good deals – potentially Costco credit but money’s money! And they’re resellers so they don’t have to tow a corporate line.

    The other thing is to do your shopping at the beginning of the school year (end of August) or during the Christmas/boxing-day season when there’s already a lot of good deals on the table that the sales-droids can offer you directly.

    And finally, when you call, ask to talk directly to retentions. No matter why you’re calling, for any issue talk to retentions.

  5. When I was with Rogers (not for cell phone, but for cable, home phone and internet), I had to deal with this all the time. I wouldn’t even bother talking to the regular sales people who pick up the phone. But you can’t usually connect directly to customer retention/customer relations. To get around this, whenever I would call, I would tell whoever came on the line that I was just speaking to customer retentions and I got cut off – can you please reconnect me? Doing that, the front-line phone person never hassled me and I got put right through to the only person in the company who actually has any power.

      1. The average person definitely doesn’t know this. I know tons of people who were paying full price for services at Rogers and now have deals because I shared what I learned with them. Rogers rewards those who care enough to learn the system and takes advantage of all those who don’t.

  6. It’s not just a Telus thing, I have experienced similar issues with Bell and Rogers. Canadian telecoms are notorious for awful customer service. I don’t trust the stores so when I get a “good deal” from Rogers (which is not often) I try to put it through with the rep on the phone and as you said I take down all the info. It might also be a good idea to record the conversation and let them know you are doing so.

    About 8 years ago I had 4 phone lines with rogers and the repo offered me 3 months of unlimited talk on all 4 lines……I got my email after the 1st month and it was over $1200! Apparently the rep had never made a note of it on file and no longer worked there. After two weeks of fighting they agreed to drop it down to $300.

  7. Oh I agree with you on getting the deals with some of these companies. You are correct when you say no one but retentions can give you a good deal. Threatening to leave is a crappy way to make customers stick around to give them a good deal. We’ve done it before only because we DID get a better deal with another company. That’s when ours stepped up to the plate. We do this every year, look for better deals, and negotiate. It always works out but what a pain in the arse it is. Cheers Mr.CBB

      1. I think it’s because there are so few of the providers, they must be in cahoots with each other and know that eventually you’ll be back, you don’t have much choice! It’s the one thing I’ve never understood, why only the good offers are made to NEW customers and nothing to retain the loyal, paying customers. If anyone ever figures this out, please share.

      2. Actually, I think they do think they try and keep their customers. They just don’t tell their customers they’re doing it so we don’t notice. And of course it’s subjective.

        Part of the problem is with e-billing I only glance at my total to make sure it’s okay and then save the PDF without looking at it (unless the total is off).

        Have you ever read the messages that come with your e-bill?

        I just noticed I’ve suddenly got unlimited local calling for the last two months! Not part of my package, no idea why it’s there, I’m guess it’s a “gift” to keep existing customers (particularly, existing customers who never exceed the minutes already in their package, but I digress).

        Rogers did that too in the past – sent me movies coupons (to theatres that didn’t exist in my area, but again I digress) and other retail discounts.

        So I think they think they’re trying to be “nice” to existing customers. But I’m not sure they’re getting it.

        1. The only deals I get from Rogers, is a cheaper subscription to Chatelaine?!? WTF? However, your point is well taken and I will watch my bills a little closer to see if I am getting some benefits done to me.

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