Every year, I get on this kick to review all of our expenses and then see what I can do about reducing or even eliminating some of them.
So, I went at it last week to see what I could do to reduce some of them. Most of our recurring expenses are fairly low considering what we have paid in the past. For example, our cable bill was eliminated after we cut the cord last year (no, I don't miss cable.. except maybe for the Golf Channel). We also went to an MVNO provider for one of our cell phones, cutting our phone bill even more.
I decided to do things a little bit different. Instead of just calling to see what our providers could do to lower our bills – I figured I would see if I might be able to use our customer loyalty to get any “deals.”
A lot of times companies only reward new customers. But how about the faithful?
Before you try the customer loyalty card
I think there are a two things to keep in mind before you try and use the customer loyalty angle to get a bill lowered or a one-time reward.
- Have been a long-time customer (more than a year or two)
- Have paid your bills on-time
If you can't meet these requirements, your leverage with using customer loyalty will be diminished.
What customer loyalty got me
I have tried using customer loyalty before. And at that time, it wasn't as lucrative as I thought it was going to be. Generally speaking, companies pay a lot of money to lure in new customers because (it seems) most of us tend to stick around once we're on board. And in some cases, changing to another provider is out of the question because there isn't any competition in our area.
In my experiment, I stuck to a few perimeters:
- Remained polite and respectful. I have often found that treating the other person as human being to be a far more useful negotiation tactic than getting hostile or belligerent.
- Used the chat feature online if available. Most of us hate to get on the horn and try and negotiate anything. I wanted to make it an easier method to duplicate if I could use the chat feature if available at a provider.
- I got to the point. Say what you want and get on with it.
- Tried to let them make the first offer. A rule in negotiation is that you generally don't want to be the first one to make the offer.
- Only leveraged customer loyalty to get a deal. I seriously wanted to see how far loyalty would be rewarded by different companies and not muddy the waters with other reasons for lowering my bill.
- Contacted at the end of the week. Thursday or Friday are good options. Folks are looking forward to the weekend and may not be as grumpy.
So, with that, I got to it. I roughly spent about 2-3 hours on the chat-line (did have a couple interesting phone calls with the utility companies that I hope to share in a different post) to get these offers. I hope it helps you score some deals too using loyalty.
My first goal was to see about getting something in return for our year-long streaming service use. I started with Netflix. They have a very handy help page where you can chat directly with a representative
They asked right away what I was chatting about and I indicated that I was looking for some type of customer loyalty reward for being a faithful, paying customer.
It didn't take them long to make an offer.
So, a month free for just asking if they had a reward for customer loyalty. Not bad.
That's $11 saved.
The next streaming service I approached was Hulu. We generally don't use these guys as much (don't believe their content is as fresh or good as Netflix).
Hulu also has a chat feature that you can use. To navigate to it, go to HELP > CONTACT US (at the bottom of the help page) and then you'll find the chat option at the top of the page.
I selected “Billing” and then got connected with a representative.
“Hello. I've been a loyal customer of yours for awhile now. Wondering if you might be able to offer a discount to reward my loyalty?”
The representative wondered if there was a specific promotion that I was referring to. I replied that I was just looking to see if they might reward my customer loyalty.
After a few back-and-forths, the representative wasn't able to offer anything.
You win some and you lose some! I guess I might try the other departments if I had to do this over. Perhaps going through the “Account” department?
SAVINGS TIP: I save upwards of 20% on Hulu by shopping discounted gift cards that are offered at Gift Card Granny. The best deals range from 19-19.8% off on their cards there. Great deal if you are looking to save on your Hulu membership.
Since my wife is still with AT&T, any savings I can get with them is a bonus. Being a premier provider, they tend to also be one of the more expensive options for cell service out there.
In the past, I have had success with getting out bills lowered there. But since this is a post about customer loyalty, I only had that angle.
I logged into my account and found their chat feature (SUPPORT > CONTACT US > WIRELESS (MOBILE) ). They also sometimes will display a chat button in the lower right-hand corner when you're on the Support page.
I've found AT&T to be pretty receptive to one-time loyalty rewards in the past – and this was no exception.
When I got a representative I asked about any customer loyalty rewards and they shot me off to customer loyalty. The rep on the line was super helpful and quickly came back with an offer to lower next months bill by $25. Since our bill is over $100 (with two phones), I found this a fair offer.
I thanked them and was on my way.
$36 saved so far.
Allied Nationwide (car and home insurance)
Next on my list to call was our insurance company. In the past, I have generally contacted our local agency to see what they can do about lowering our rates – and they've been very helpful to get all the discounts we qualify for.
Since they didn't have a chat feature online, I got on the horn with their national office and inquired about any customer loyalty offers.
I have only had good experience with Nationwide Insurance. They helped us through some pretty tough house insurance claims that were weather related – and have always been helpful when I've been on the phone with them. The agent I talked to was extra helpful and cheery and spent a lot of time on the line with me to see if there were any other discounts we could quality for.
You may want to ask your Nationwide insurance agent about SmartRide. It's a device the insurer sends you to put in your car to check your driving habits. They only collect certain driving habits and after a day or so of using it, you ship it back and if you've shown yourself to be a good driver, you can get a discount. This was not offered in MN yet.
While there were no savings – they did provide a lot of useful advice.
Comcast's customer service experience has gotten a lot better. You can tell their getting tired of being on the “most hated companies in America” list.
After logging into my account at Xfinity, I located the contact us link at the bottom of the website (look in the footer). There it was an easy step to find the chat option:
There was a little wait to get a representative – but I once I got one, I relayed the reason for the contact.
And after a few exchanges, the representative was able to offer me a one-time credit to my account of $10.
The next day, we got an email and our bill had been lowered
$46 total saved
All in all, not bad
I did try our utility companies as well – but you can imagine their response to my question. “Customer loyalty, what?” It was worth a try.
I'd say that for a couple of hours of work, this isn't bad to save a few extra dollars – and I didn't need to wait very long on the chat-line. This is an easy way to get rewarded for your customer loyalty.
Have you ever used customer loyalty to get rewarded or lower your bills? How did it go?
Unfortunately Netflix told me that this does not exist despite my being a member since before streaming existed.
Sometimes it depends on the rep. You could try again. Tell them you just want a one-time free month or two (this is what I tried).
I just tried to get a discount for loyalty rewards from Netflix and they declined.
They said they would push on the request for future consideration.
I might try again. Sometimes it depends on the rep.
I’ve always just called Comcast to get on some type of promotion, but after reading your tip I just did the online chat and asked for a one-time loyalty credit. They asked how much I was asking for so they could ask their supervisor (which surprised me) I said $25 to be safe and they came back with $15 which they said was the maximum. To go one better, I’m going to make a note on my calendar and try again in 6 months.
I have Sprint and have received $25 for a billing issue as well as for as a retention credit. I was also able to get credited a few times for those “recovery” fees they have on your bill. $1.99 and $5 another time but its like work to debate over those. I just did it because I dont like how these companies are always nickel and dimeing you. I’ll probably just stick with going for the $25.
For insurance, Im not sure if loyalty really pays. I had a direct policy with 21st Century for years. My homeowners/auto policy kept jumping higher every year so I got pissed off and started shopping around. Geico came in the lowest by a wide margin. I think many insurance companies cut you a better rate when you are a new customer. Also, I read where Geico is really trying to gain market share so they are probably offering better rates to get customers.
I challenge all my expenses. You’d be surprised what discounts you can get just by asking and putting in a little effort. Thanks for the tip!
Excellent Arrgo – glad this worked for you and you were able to get some credit!
Just read this and chatted with AT&T. After chatting didn’t yield any results, the chat rep patched me through to the Customer Retention Rep.
They lowered my monthly bill by $40 per month going forward and didn’t lower our data at all!!!! Wow! Thanks for the tip!! I’m really happy about this.
Great to hear Chris! Yes, glad you mentioned customer retention (sometimes called loyalty dept) – they’re often your best bet for getting bill lowered.
Cool approach. I hate taking to customer service on the phone. The chat feature makes this much easier. Plus, you don’t have to work your way through multiple menus on the phone, only to get transferred to another department when you finally get to speak to someone.
Thanks for sharing!
Yeah, chatting is so much easier and like you say – you don’t have to go through all the channels.
Just called Netflix and got my next month free. Thanks!
Interesting. I’ve used similar steps when a contract is up for renewal but I never though about just calling and asking for a discount, I’ll give it a try.
Love to hear if it works for you!
I like the online chat option. I am calling Comcast like every 4 months to change my package….one time they offer HBO for free and I watch all of my HBO shows…then I switch it up and they offer Showtime for free. Back and forth and bam- I never have to pay for the premium channel.
Good to see it works with the other services too (Netflix, Hulu, etc.).
Nice post and keep them coming!
I agree. It seems CS folks on chat are a bit more agreeable. :)
Oh man – that’s slick! I wouldn’t have ever thought of doing that, haha…
This is an AWESOME experiment. Mr. Picky Pincher and I were just debating which recurring expenses we could cut, and I didn’t even consider asking for discounts. I’ll need to try this out. :)
Thanks MPP! Please let me know how it works out if you try it.