Anyone who has had a satellite dish installed knows that there are only two competitors in the market; Dish Network and DirecTV. What you also know is that every few months one or the other will offer a bunch of free stuff to new subscribers. I say new subscribers because they never offer these deals to existing customers.
For some reason, the satellite companies feel they can ignore their existing customers while they make great offers available to their competitions customers. How does this make any sense? Partly it works on the idea of the rut.
For many companies, once they get their customers into a rut they know the customer will never leave. Up until local number portability became the law of the land many people would stick with a crap cellular service because they did not want to lose their phone number. Now that you can take your phone number with you people are far more willing to go somewhere else. This has resulted in cellular companies offering free phone upgrades at the end of a customers contract. You get a new phone and they get two more years of your life. One would think satellite companies would do the same but they don't.
I recently received a letter in the mail from DirecTV with an awesome offer. I could get four rooms and a free DVR installed for free! They even offered some monthly discounts for going with them.
Now, I only have two TVs in my house and have been using Dish Network for 5+ years. I didn't really want to switch but, I wanted a DVR. So, I called Dish Network and asked them if they would honor the offer I was being given from DirecTV. Their answer? NO.
The "best" they could do was send me a DVR for $79. I talked to the saleswoman and told her, point blank, that if she would not honor the offer I was getting from their competition I would leave them and go with DirecTV. Still she said no.
Within a week I had my old Dish Network system removed and a DirecTV system installed on two TVs in my house.
Later that evening I called Dish Network to cancel my service. The salesperson transferred me to their "cancellation" department and I got on the phone with one of their "customer retention" people. I didn't know this guy was in the business of trying to keep me as a customer I thought he was just there to process the cancellation and send me some empty boxes to return the equipment.
We talked for a few minutes and I told him about the offer I received in the mail and that I was now canceling service. The first thing he said was, "Two TVs? How about if I send you two DVRs and waive the fee for a year?" I was stunned, where was this guy last week when I first called? This guy was offering me exactly what I wanted to stay but... The old dish was already down.
We talked for a little bit about the nature of his job and how he is able to do things the salespeople can not. He is the last line of defense when a customer goes to cancel their service. Unlike the guys from AOL who just hang-up or give you free months of service hoping you will forget about it, this guy can actually listen and give you what you want to stay.
Remember, I had been with this company for over five years. For me to decide to go to a competitor is a big deal. If someone leaves after a few months they are probably not worth having as a customer as they are just jumping on deals. The customer who lasts as long as I did is pure gold. This guy wanted me to stay on but, it was too late. If I had talked to him when I first called I would still be a Dish Network customer.
The truly ironic part is that I left DirecTV over 5 years ago because Dish Network gave me a better deal! DirecTV was not 100% at fault then because they were forced to re-sell service in my area via a company called Pegasus. They eventually managed to get around the problem with Pegasus as it was causing them serious financial harm! consider this a 'wake-up call' to all those companies who ignore their loyal customers while trying to gain new customers.
1) When you get a competeting offer in the mail call your current provider and see if they will match it. If they will not tell them you want to cancel your service.
2) When they transfer you to their cancellation people tell them about the offer and give them their 'second chance'.
3) If they don't accept the offer tell them you will 'think about it' and hang up. You don't want to cancel right then because you don't know when the new service will be installed!
4) After the new service is installed call them and cancel. If they try the hard sell tell them it is too late.
These tips work best if you have been a long term customer.