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?
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.
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?