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Expenses and Savings: Cable – “Ask and Ye Shall Receive” May 8, 2007

Posted by pf in Expenses and Savings.

One of the items on my “to do” list for reviewing / optimizing my expenses and savings is my cable bill (tv).  Given the virtual monopoly that cable companies enjoy, there are not a lot of options available to me in terms of competition other than the usual “cable vs satellite” question.

Honestly, I have no desire whatsoever to switch to satellite…not the least of which is having the big dish attached to my house.  So, to some extent, going into this, I was not anticipating much in the way of savings other than maybe to get rid of a premium channel we don’t really use or something like that.

 Well, although I didn’t really get rid of anything, I did come away with something…just by asking.  Below is an paraphrased summary of my recent conversation with my cable company.

Cable:  Thank you for calling XYZ company, this is Margaret, how may I help you today?

Me:  Hello Margaret, where have you been all my life? (I enjoy talking to people and find it’s more fun and effective if you can start with something friendly that will catch them off guard)

Cable Company: *giggle*  I’ve been right here!  What can I do for you? (as hoped, we are already off to a friendly start and having a good time)

Me:  I’ve seen all of these ads for satellite and how cheap they are, etc. and am thinking about switching.

Cable:  You shouldn’t think too long about that…

Me: Really?  So I should just go ahead and switch right away?  (I know what she meant, but just having fun)

Cable:  No, no…I meant that you wouldn’t want to switch to satellite.  They have more outages due to weather and you wouldn’t want that ugly dish on your house, would you?

Me:  I don’t really care about the dish – it would look just like my neighbor’s next door (of course, I do care, but that wouldn’t really help me with what’s coming up, would it?).  They just seem to have a great offer and it appears to be so much cheaper.  Is there anything you can do to entice me to stay? (I probably went for this a bit early in the discussion, but I didn’t have a lot of time that day).

Cable:  Well…(pause)…hold on and let me see if there is something I can do.  (I am fully expecting to be transferred to some retention dept of some sorts who handle these type of things).

Cable:  Ok, here’s what I can do.  I can reduce the bill for your current package by $20 / month, provide you with premium channel A free for 6 mos and premium channel B for 12 mos.  After the free period expires, you will then be charged the regular rate.

Me:  (surprised) I knew I was talking to the right person as soon as we started talking Margaret! (she was genuinely nice to talk to and a little flattery doesn’t hurt, does it?).  I think this does the trick for me (yes, I probably could have pushed for more, but honestly, I just didn’t feel like it).  Thank you!

Of course, there was some other chit chat and what not, but hopefully you got the gist of the conversation.  In all, it probably took about 10 minutes.  So, although I truly expected almost nothing to come out of this, I actually ended up with quite a lot all considered…just by asking. 

So, I’m sure you all get the moral of the story here which is – “Ask”…you might get surprised.



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