So I was hoping to report to you today about all the money I saved by using “customer loyalty” as a way to get lower bills. Well, that didn't exactly happen. And in one case, one company tried to raise my bill.
This all started after I saw (yet, again) a few ads running that promised special savings to new subscribers for a company I do business with. And, I thought to myself “why is it always the new customer that gets all the breaks? Why not show some love to those who have shown loyalty?” I'm sure you've had this thought too at one time or another.
I figured it wouldn't hurt to give some of these companies a chance and see if they'd cut me a special deal too. After all, I've been with them for so long – why wouldn't they. Right?
So I picked a few out that might have a little wiggle room for discounts: my phone bill and cable. I decided to start with AT&T.
After a brief wait – Melody came on the line. I stated that my reason for the call was that because we've been with AT&T for close to 10 years now, we're hoping to see if she could help us lower our monthly bill.
I think what I was expecting next was for her to roll out some music – congratulate us and state how we've now qualified for their legacy rewards program where we'll only have to pay $10 a month going forward. That didn't happen.
Melody was hardly impressed with our loyalty. Thing is – there are millions of loyal customers just like us out there. We're really not unique.
What Melody proceeded to do then was to break down our bill – citing what we were paying on each phone (we have 3 on the plan) and listed out things we could change. We ended up cutting out a few things and dropping some minutes. All totaled, this got our bill lowered by about $25/mo. Not bad. But this wasn't exactly due to customer loyalty.
Next, came our internet, cable and landline provider: Comcast (what was that? I thought I just heard a collective sigh).
Mike in customer service handles my call. He's a nice fella and courteous. I again state my reason for the call and cite our loyalty – that we have been good to keep current on our bills and we'd like to see our payments lowered. Mike says thanks – but I sense he's as enthusiastic about our good customer status as Melody was.
After looking over the bill for about three minutes or so – Mike state's that we are eligible for a promotion of $109/month for the three bundled services. But reiterated that would go up to $129/mo after one year. Considering we pay about $135-145/mo, I thought this was a decent deal. I asked him if they would match a competitor, CenturyLink, at $99/mo. Mike stated he couldn't do that but forwarded me on to someone in their loyalty department who could.
Soon, I was talking to Chad. He got to the point of the call quickly and I stated my desire to have Comcast match CenturyLink.
“Yeah we really can't do that. That's their base rate and they tack on all sorts of fees and put you at a really low internet speed.”
“So, the best you could do is $109/mo as stated by Mike?” I asked.
Chad went on to state the $109 price was their base rate and taxes and other fees haven't been added on yet. He told me I was already paying about $100 for a base rate.
What? I had to make sure I heard him correctly.
“I'm already at $100 as a base?”
“So, you mean to tell me that the first guy was going to charge me $10 more a month if I signed up for your “promotion”?
“I guess so.”
I was a little floored. I know we're all human and perhaps Mike was having a tough Thursday. But, had I signed up for it, my bill would have – in fact – gone up! So much for customer loyalty.
I alert Comcast about this experience and to their credit were very quick to respond and apologize for the snafu (BTW – if you ever need quick assistance – use their Twitter handle at @ComcastCares. Pretty responsive).
So, in the end, my bill stayed the same at Comcast. Apparently my “base rate” is the lowest they have available.
This whole customer loyalty thing – I don't know if I'd try it out again. Most companies aren't too impressed with your status and quite frankly – you, we, are just a cog in their bigger system.
I'm still working on lowering my term life and car insurance rates – so I'll let you know if those were more successful.
Have you been able to use customer loyalty to your benefit to lower your bills?