How to Talk to Service Providers

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Want some leverage in getting your next utility service?

Service providers supply you with wonderful things, like Internet and cable, but they don’t do it out of the goodness of their hearts. No, they do it for money, your money.

If you want to get a good service for a good price, you need to know how to talk to service providers. Otherwise, they’ll get you. Here’s what to do:

Research Your Options First

Don’t call with the expectation of being hand-fed the best deals.  If you ask the customer service representative what your options are, the first one will probably be the best option… for them.

Therefore, before you call, check the provider’s website or a pamphlet and see what your options are.  Try to calculate how much you would owe under each option.  Once you know basically what you are looking at, decide which one is the best for you. Only then should you pick up the phone.

Ask Questions

When you call the service provider, (1) tell them what you are looking for, and (2) ask them what your options are (though you already know). Even if you know what option will be best for you, start the conversation this way.

Eventually, you’ll want to ask the representative about three particular things:

  1. What the best option would be in light of your situation (family of four, need to record games, home business).
  2. Any special deals the company might be offering.
  3. If an option has rate changes – rate changes can make a good deal a bad one quickly.

Include any other questions you might have based on your research and conversation. The more you ask, the more you get the representative talking off script and giving you candid advice. Just make sure your questions are relevant, not pestering or repetitive.

Express Interest and Reservations

While talking to the sales representative, express interest and reservations. That is, demonstrate that you want to get their service, but that you are reluctant for a few reasons. Establish these reasons for them, such as:

  • I don’t think I can spend that much per month.
  • I think I’d like [insert perk or service], but I’ve never used it before.
  • This service is right for my budget, but I don’t think it can service all of my needs.

In some cases, though certainly not all, showing interest while expressing doubt can lead a service provider to drop a price, give you a free trial or offer you some type of deal. It’s worth a shot.

Don’t Feel You Need to Buy

Never call expecting to hang up with a service in line. The minute you do that, you open yourself up to taking a bad deal. Contact service providers skeptically, and leave open other possibilities, even if you haven’t looked into them yet. Go in expecting to say that you’ll call them back after you check around a bit more.

Now that you know how to talk to service providers, go get your utility services.