This week I'm featuring a guest post from one of my favorite fellow bloggers, Tori, about how to save money with a simple phone call to customer service reps. Cutting costs on your recurring bills, like your utilities or cell phone, can have a HUGE impact on your financial situation since it's savings you will receive every month. Or as Tori details below, use it to save big when you encounter an issue with your experience.
I've utilized these same tactics and have been able to shave some serious $$$ off my bills, so take the time to put these tips to use, and when you're done gleaning all of the information from this article, head over to Tori's site, Victori Media, a blog aimed at turning 20-somethings into true bada$$ ladybosses. She's drops some serious knowledge you'll want to read, especially for those of you trying to break that glass ceiling.
You guys, I love talking with customer service reps.
Most people find that super weird. Why would you like be put on hold? Why would you like battling with reps only to be told that “there’s nothing we can do?”
Why do I love it? Because I understand how to do it. Nine times out of ten, I succeed in getting what I want (and sometimes, more than I what I want.) I’ve literally saved thousands of dollars, and sometimes earned money/perks, by simply taking a few minutes to call or tweet customer service.
I get it: you don’t want to be that person who complains about every little thing, and I totally understand. But you’re paying for an awesome customer experience (if it’s a major purchase, then even more reason for them to make it right!) That is your hard-earned money, and if you weren’t satisfied in any way, you should have no problem asking the company to fix it.
I just took a trip to Costa Rica with a friend and literally earned over $350 in miles, travel credit, and perks by contacting the airline’s customer service when something went wrong (first, a major delay and second, our seatback screens didn’t work on our international flight.) At a time when companies are putting more stock in loyal customers -- and airlines are scrambling to earn your business -- demanding what you paid for just makes sense.
When I tell my friends about my mini-obsession, they say they’d love to do it too, but have no idea how. I’ve prepared an exact script for you, whether you’re on the phone or on social media/email, that has been proven to work.
BE POLITE AND JOVIAL
If you’re on the phone, the customer service rep will usually state their name and ask how can they help you. They will be more willing to go out of their way to help if you treat them like a real human (shocking, I know.)
Here’s what you say: “Hello NAME, how are you? I’m doing fine, thank you for asking. I’m having an issue and I would love for you to help me.”
By asking them to help, you’re immediately giving them an opportunity for a win. Their brain should go, “Help? Yes! I can do that! That’s what I’m here for!”
STATE WHAT HAPPENED
No matter how angry or fed up you are, make sure to still be kind and calm. You want to mention what you expected to happen (being billed a certain amount, a smooth flight, etc.), and why that didn’t happen. Say why you’re frustrated by it, but do not get upset. Mention that you’re disappointed or dissatisfied with the service you received.
SHOW YOUR LOYALTY
Companies are more able and excited to help you if you can demonstrate you’re a repeat customer. They want you to continue doing business with them, and for you to have a great experience.
Here’s what you say: “As a [mileage plan member, a 5-year Verizon customer, etc.], I’d really love to continue being a loyal, valued customer.”
Not a loyal customer? Turn it on them. “I’d really love for you to earn my loyalty and business today.”
SEAL IT WITH A ZINGER
You now want to offer them the opportunity to make the situation right. Many people say you should ask for exactly what you want (which can work.) I personally don’t like this, because sometimes you’ll get more than what you would have requested.
Here’s what you say: “I want to have a great customer experience today with COMPANY NAME. What can you do for me?”
DIDN'T WORK? DON'T GIVE UP.
If you’re ready to throw in the towel at, “Sorry, there’s nothing we can do,” think again. Companies know you’re already uncomfortable -- most people will say thank you and hang up. You’re not most people. Repeat numbers 2 and 3, expressing again your loyalty, and ask if there is ANYTHING they can do for you. Never beg, but now you want to be a bit more forceful. Remind them that you want to have a great customer experience today, and that they have the opportunity to make it happen.
I was once on the phone with a company for a half-hour to get a $140 charge overturned. The customer service rep gave me about 15 chances to walk away by saying there was nothing he could do, but I didn’t stop. I was patient, calm, and kind (even when he put me on hold for 10 minutes.) In my persistence, I walked away with $140 back in my pocket.
Sometimes they don’t budge. It happens. Keep your cool: thank them for their time, and sign off. If you’re still not satisfied (and hell, I never am), use either an alternative method of contacting them, or wait a day and call back (I’ve gotten to speak with someone else who was way more generous in helping me.)
I’d love to know how these techniques work for you. Even if there isn’t something frustrating that happened (product broke, flight delayed), this script works for lowering your more consistent bills, or getting free perks. Let’s put these tips into action today spend 10 minutes: call your cable provider, insurance company, frequent airline -- see what happens!
Tori Dunlap is an award-winning social media marketer and entrepreneur. Founder of victori media, helping 20-somethings live life victoriously. Obsessed with finding cheap flights, reading a good book in the bathtub, and you. Follow her on Instagram here.