How to lower your monthly cable / internet bill
In this article we are going to cover some effective strategies that you can employ to help get a better deal from your cable or internet provider each month. In a world where your bill mysteriously goes up every few months, negotiating your monthly bill is crucial!
Doing your research is Critical!
Before even thinking about getting all amped up and calling in to negotiate your monthly bill you need to have some crucial information in front of you. You can't be too prepared for this call. So do your research and have notes of all of this information in front of you during the call. Here are some important information points you will need and why they are important.
A copy of your current bill showing exactly how much you pay each month and what services you are exactly paying for
Without this information you are basically negotiating blindly. You need to know exactly what you are paying for each month. Are you paying for a modem rental, are you paying for extra cable boxes, are you paying extra for an HD or sports package? All of this information is crucial for you to know when talking with a company representative. Remember they do this everyday, so you need to know what you are paying for.
How long you have been a customer
Saying "I have been a customer for a long time" is not nearly as effective as "I have been a loyal customer for 4 and a half years."
These representatives here the same lines each and everyday, so knowing exactly how long you have been a loyal customer is important.
Do you always pay your bill on time?
Hopefully you have paid all of your bills on time. If not we would not recommend bringing that up during the phone call. But if you have paid all of your cable bills on time it is definitely worth knowing and having it in your back pocket. Being able to say "I have been a customer for 4 and a half years and have always paid my bills on time." can be very powerful for you during the negotiation.
What are you looking for?
What are you looking for? Do you want faster internet, a free sports package, lower monthly bill, not to pay for extra cable boxes or a modem rental fee?
Knowing exactly what you are wanting to get will help speed along the negotiation process and help the representative find a deal for you much faster. Being able to say "I noticed you are offering higher internet speeds in my area and I would be interested in hearing any new promotions you are offering with those higher speeds." is way more powerful then "I want a better price."
Know what you are looking for before you call.
Know what competitors offer service in your area
Cable and internet companies know who offers services in your area. Rambling off other companies and what they are offering is pointless if they do not offer those services in our area. Customer service representatives here this line everyday. If you are going to use it you have to know exactly what companies offer services in your area. Spouting out random companies and offers will get you nowhere if they don't service your area.
Research your companies current promotions and their competitors
Knowing the current offers or promotions your cable company is offering is valuable information when negotiating with them. Knowing what their competitors are offering is even more powerful.
If you see that your current company is offering the same or faster internet speed for lower than what you are currently paying it can be a good bargaining chip. If their competitor is offering a better deal than they are it is even more valuable.
What other video watching services you have
If you have a high quality Local HD Antenna you can get all of the major networks like ABC, FOX, CBS, NBC, PBS the CW and many more in HD for free every month. Having one of these and mentioning that you have one can tip the scales in your favor. The representative will know that you have other options and may give you a good offer to keep you as a customer.
Cable companies hate streaming. They are losing customers to people using Streaming media players and services like Netflix and Sling everyday. Letting them know that you have a streaming device may make them think twice about not giving you a better deal. Would they rather lose a paying customer or just make a few dollars less each month.
Are you ready to actually cancel your service
This is a question that many people do not think of before calling to negotiate a better price. Sure almost everyone who calls in to get a better price is ready to threaten to cancel their service, but a much smaller percentage is actually ready to do it.
By researching the current promotions of your current company and their competitors you will have a general idea of your options. If company A is charging you $200 a month for the same services that company B is offering for $150 AND you are 100% ready to switch to company B then you have a powerful negotiating angle to work with.
However if the price between company A and B are $10 a month and you are not willing to deal with the hassle to switch for $10 a month then you will need to factor that into how you negotiate with company A.
Another more grim situation is if your current company is the only game in town. This is unfortunately the situation for many people these days. If your cable or internet company is the only game in town, they know it. Negotiating will be much more difficult, but not impossible. We will cover some tactics for this situation later on.
Who do you actually call to negotiate a lower bill for cable or internet service?
The terminology will be different for each company. We have heard "Cancellation specialists, Retention department, Surrender defenders and a few others." But in general when you call your service provider and tell them you want to cancel your service you will be transferred to a special department that is trained to try and keep you as a customer. Your local cable provider has spent a lot of money acquiring you as a customer and are not just going to let you cancel without a hassle.
These cancellation or retention departments are TRAINED and have scripts for almost every situation where a customer wants to cancel service. We did not mention this to scare or intimidate you, but so you remember that they are prepared for this and how you carry yourself and what you say can affect your outcome.
How to call your cable or internet provider to negotiate a better deal
You get more bees with honey than vinegar! Remember that!
Customer service representatives get yelled at a lot. Cable and internet providers always score the lowest on customer satisfaction and their customer service employees get the brunt of it. In their eyes you are a jerk until you prove otherwise.
They are used to angry customers yelling, screaming and cursing at them. Be different! If you are one of the handful of nice and polite people they speak to on the phone that day, there is a much better chance they will go the extra mile to help you out. They do not care about the company's monthly earnings, stock price or average profit per customer. What they do care about is being treated with respect. If you give them respect you will have much better odds at getting what you are trying to obtain.
What to say on the phone to lower your cable and internet bill
While we don't have a prepared script for you, here are some key points you want to cover. Remember be nice!
Your first statement after them telling you their name is something like "Hi Sally, how are you doing today?" Listen to their response and respond accordingly. You are trying to build rapport and become one of the nice calls they handle today.
Your next point should cover why you are calling and what you are looking for.
Something to the effect of "I noticed that my bill went up last month, I am calling to see if you have any specials on faster internet or any deals going on for a cable and internet bundle."
After saying this be prepared to listen to a scripted response about how they value you as a customer and a list of things that they provide that is a value to you.
They are not going to offer you a deal right off the bat, they are going to make you work for it.
Your next statement should be something like "I have been a loyal customer for X amount of years and have enjoyed your service, However I noticed that you were running a special for X amount of internet speed for this many dollars and was wondering if you could extend that offer to a longtime loyal customer."
Another example would be "I appreciate all of the services that you offer and I noticed that you are offering some great deals to new customers with this bundle of services. I was wondering if you were offering any type of similar deals to your more long term loyal customers?"
These two statements above do a few things. First off they tell the representative that you like the company and enjoy the service. This is a stark difference from 99% of the other calls they receive everyday. The second thing these statements do is remind the representative that you are a loyal bill paying customer. The third and most important thing these statements convey is that as a loyal customer who loves the company, you are just looking to get a better or equal deal that they are offering to new customers.
These three things make it that much harder for the representative to say no to you. And since you are being so nice and friendly (Be Nice!) they will hopefully want to try and help a fellow nice person.
What happens next?
One of two things will happen next. You will either be told that they have a great promotion or discount for you, or they will tell you that they have nothing to offer.
If you are given an offer make sure that you fully understand the offer and that it is what you are looking for. Make sure you ask questions about the offer. Some good questions to ask are listed below.
- How long does this offer last?
- Do I need to sign a new contract to get this offer?
- What is the actual monthly bill going to be after taxes and fees?
- Do I need any new hardware, will I be charged an extra monthly fee for this hardware?
- Is this the best offer you have for such a loyal customer?
- Can you include something else into the offer and keep the same price?
They told me that they do not have any offers for me, What do I do next?
Don't get discouraged. It is very common that they will not give you an offer the first time you ask. Remember, they are trained to say no. You are going to have to work them a little more to get a better deal. These companies understand that most people will either give up or start getting upset. Remember how we told you to be different then 99% of other callers, this is where you need to be different.
The number one thing is not to get upset, keep calm and continue building rapport with whoever you are talking to. Here are some sample statements that you can use to try and get the deal you are looking for.
"I'm very sorry to hear that, I've really been enjoying your service along with my HD Antenna and my Streaming Box and other streaming services. Are you sure that you can't find a better deal for my situation? "
"Well darn, I was really hoping that I could get a promotional deal so that I could keep my cable or internet service within my budget. My new antenna and streaming box have been working great. I was really hoping I could keep my other channels as well. Are you sure there aren't any deals that fit my situation?"
These two statements show that you still kind of want the service but that you have other options. They also kind of nudge them to tell you about a better deal without calling them a liar. By asking if they have a deal that may better fit your situation they may expand their search for a broader deal or a deal where they add a service while keeping the same price.
They still didn't give me a deal, what do I do now?
Many people give up at this point. Don't!
You have a few options at this point. The first we would suggest is ask to speak to a manager. Customer representatives here this line all the time, so we are going to do it a little differently.
Instead saying "I would like to talk to your manager!" in a nasty condescending tone, we are going to flip it a little bit.
"I wonder if your manager may have some different deals that they could offer me. Also, I would like to tell them how professional you have been and what a good job you have done so far, can you please transfer me to them?"
By asking to speak to the manager in this manner you are saying that the manager may have a different deal (They do) and also praising them for doing a great job while promising to give that positive feedback to their boss. Like we said you get more bees with honey! Hopefully the manager offers you something better, but they may not at first. Use the nice approach the same way you did with the first representative and kill them with kindness.
The manager didn't help me, what now?
You still have some options at this point. If your not willing to actually cancel the service and were just trying to get a better deal you may be out of options for this call. But can start over with another call in a day or two. You will get different people on the phone the next time. It is not a guarantee by any means, but a different person may give you the deal you are looking for.
If you are willing to cancel the service or switch to a competitor this may be your time to play hardball (In a nice way.) But remember that they may call your bluff. So don't throw this out if you are not ready to cancel your service.
Saying something like "I'm very sorry to hear that you don't have any deals for long term loyal customers at this time. Maybe when you are offering a better deal for new customers I will switch back, but for now I would like to cancel my service."
This statement tells them two things. You would like to keep the service if the price is right and that you are willing to walk. Remember that their department is called the retention department. They get graded on a few metrics, one of the most important is retention, not profit per customer. They are not going to make it easy to get a deal, but they do want you to stay on as a customer.
What happens after I tell them to cancel my service?
This is kind of the end of the road for this phone call. It is going to go one of two ways. They will offer you something to sweeten the pot, or they will actually cancel your service.
If they make a solid offer that makes sense to you, you can accept. You can continue to haggle, but most likely this is the best deal they want to offer you at this time. If the offer is weak or less then you want, tell them to cancel your service and stick to your guns.
Canceling your service is not the end of the story.
I cancelled my cable and or internet, what now?
You still have some options. Don't you love having options :)
We wouldn't reccomend canceling your cable or internet service without a back up plan like an HD Antenna, Streaming Media Player or a competitors service. By trying out an HD Antenna for local channels and a Skystream TWO streaming media player for all of your streaming services, you may find that you don't even need cable anymore. But if you still do, here is some good news.
By cancelling your service you have been moved from the current customer list, to the recently cancelled list. Why is that good news? Being on the recently cancelled list triggers a marketing effort to get you back. In a few days you will most likely get a flyer announcing a great new deal on TV and Internet for a bundled price. It will most likely be a better deal then you had before, but that is not a guarantee. This is why we would only use the cancelling your service tactic if you are actually ready to cancel the service.
I've gotten my promotional advertisement, do I just call and sign up?
Absolutely not! You didn't do all of this negotiating for nothing. Your negotiating skills are honed and ready for battle. You now have the power! They want you as a customer and you are already using your back up HD antenna and streaming media player.
Depending on what you want, the negotiation will vary. But the basic premise is that you kind of like this package, but do they have a better offer on another package or service. Can I combine another service and get a better deal, can you throw in a premium channel or two, etc. Remember that you are now talking to the new customer department, they are measured by how many new customers they sign up. You have the bargaining power now, don't forget that!
How often should I call to get a lower price on my cable / internet?
There are no set guidelines on how often you should call and try to get a better price or special promotional. Don't call them once a week or anything. But every 6 months is a good timeframe to give them a call and see if they have any specials going on. Another good reason to give them a call is if you see them advertise a great deal. Give them a call and see if you can get that offer as well. If not, you can try some of the tactics below.
Other tactics to get a lower cable or internet bill
So far in this article we have covered most of the basics on how to try and negotiate a lower cable and or internet bill. But there are other tactics that you can use as well.
The Bait and Switch
If your cable company only offers the latest great deals to new customers, then be a new customer. Similar to canceling your service and waiting for them to mail you advertisements, you can simply cancel your service and have your significant other, roomate, or anyone else living at your house sign up as a new customer.
Company Vs Company
If there is a competitor offering the same or better service in your area, call them up and use the same tactics in this article to see what the best deal they will give you. Then take those numbers and call up your company and see if they will match them.
Add another service
This approach is more tailored to people who just have internet and are looking for a better price. Cable companies love the bundle. It makes them feel good at night knowing that you are getting more than one service from them. If you just have internet, give them a call and see what the cost would be if you added a basic cable package. They will probably have some kind of deal going on when bundling both services. But don't just add a cable package if it doesn't make sense. If they will throw it in for free or for a few dollars and you would enjoy the service, then go for it. But if the deal isn't right for you, say no and continue trying to get a better deal.
Conclusion on how to get a lower cable / internet bill each month
There is no 100% guarantee that you will get a better deal by calling and negotiating with your cable company or internet provider. But you will never get a better deal unless you call and try. So put on your negotiating hat and be polite but firm in trying to get a better deal. Everything is negotiable! Every $10 a month that you get knocked off of your bill is $120 a year. Well worth it to spend 10 or 15 minutes on the phone to possibly save hundreds of dollars.
Remember as well that you have lots of options these days. HD antennas and Android TV Boxes are great options and many people realize that they don't need live channels or cable once they have both of these.
Here are some articles if you want to learn more about these options.