Monday, November 15, 2010

Negotiating with a Cell Phone Provider

I hate talking on the phone. As an autistic, I find it weary work trying to figure out when it's my turn to speak, what the other person is saying, when the conversation is supposed to end, and who should end it. The only person I love talking to on the phone is my sister who lives in Canada. We blab for hours every single day.
My cell phone contract is running out, so on Friday I called my provider and badgered the customer service representative for exactly 93 minutes. It was hard because, as I said, I'm not good with the phone. Still, the hard work paid off. I have found that if interpersonal communications are hard for you, it makes sense to inhabit a different persona for the purposes of that one phone call or event. My sister is amazing at bullying cell phone providers into giving her whatever she want, so for the purposes of this long and painful phone call, I pretended to be her. Sometimes, she just calls them for fun and always ends up getting something out of them.
In the course of the conversation with my provider, I kept threatening to switch to their main competitor and as a result I got everything I wanted and more. This is what I'll get:
1. A new Blackberry Torch (free, red, no shipping and handling to pay, and it will be delivered today).
2. My monthly bill has been cut in half and the new conditions have been applied to it retroactively for the past two months.
3. A $200 credit.
In case you need to negotiate with your cell phone provider, here are some magic sentences that will help you get what you need from them:
1. "I've been a great customer to you for the last 2 years, but now I'm planning to switch to your competitor (do research online and find out who that is) and be a great customer to them."
2. "I'm sitting in front of my computer right now, and my browser is opened on your competitor's webpage. I have selected the phone and the plan I want. All I have to do is press the ACCEPT button. Should I do it right now?"
3. Never accept the first offer they make, no matter how good it sounds. If they made the offer, that means they'll give you more. Just say to whatever they are offering: "Oh no, that's unacceptable. Your competitor is offering me XYZ."
Nowadays, when there are more cell phones in the country than there are people, nobody should ever pay a dime for their new cell phone again, no matter how sophisticated and fancy it might be. Our cell phone bills should keep getting lower all the time because providers have no new customers to attract. All they can do is try hard to retain the customers they already have or tempt their competitors' customers away from them.
Remember, your cell phone company needs you a lot more than you need it. Good luck!

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Pagan Topologist said...

This is interesting. I enjoy very much talking on the phone, but I do not like cell phones at all. I think they are too small to hold comfortably, and I always imagine that the radio waves are doing terrible things to my brain. I do not have cordless phones on my landline for the same reason.

I think I told you once before that talking on the phone is more comfortable for me than talking face-to-face, since I do not have to try to decipher people's non-verbal cues, which I have a lot of trouble with.

Anonymous said...

I will have to give this pretending to be another person advice a try. That is actually what I do when the occasion demands that I be outgoing, and while it is quite tiring, it does work well. Thanks for the advice!