First published on May 29, 2012
After a mediocre experience with a smaller Internet provider, I am resigned to using the big companies for Internet and TV services. (If you’re looking for a landline phone plan, consider a VoIP provider.) In Metro Vancouver, if your building is not serviced by Novus, that means you have a choice between Telus and Shaw.
Telus and Shaw’s regular monthly rates are less than inspiring. However, they are always running promotions for new customers; and, just like with many cell phone companies, if you are an existing customer, you can get a much better rate if you ask for it.
At mall kiosks, retail locations, through advertisements, and direct mail, Telus and Shaw run continuous promotions for new customers only. Typically a “new customer” is someone who has not been a customer for the past 30 days to 6 months. They also have deals for students, usually around September each year. There are multiple marketing campaigns running at any time. Do a Google search to find out about what’s current, especially regarding direct mail promotions.
However, the low rates in their promotions typically don’t last very long (often 3-6 months), at which point the monthly fee can more than double. This leads many people to switch providers every year to take advantage of the latest deal. This is, of course a hassle for the customer.
A list of promotions I’ve recently received:
While Telus and Shaw spend a lot of time and effort attempting to lure new and not-so-new customers, they seem to neglect their existing customers when it comes to deals. However, this is not entirely the case; they have so-called retentions departments who will listen to why you want to leave them and attempt to keep you by giving you a better deal. They just seem to want to make you work for it.
A few notes on retention departments and plans:
- Often you’ll find that if you indicate on the automatic phone menu that you are a new customer, you get through to someone right away. If you indicate that you are an existing customer, you get put on hold. You can press the appropriate number to indicate that you are a new customer, then simply tell the customer service representative that you are an existing customer. (Sometimes they all ask you for your existing account number no matter what.)
- Typically to get to the retentions department, you have to say that you want to cancel your service or are willing to cancel a part of your service.
- Be calm and courteous. Being aggressive and/or hostile does not make most customer service representatives want to help you. They spend most of their day on the phone, and can get tired and cranky like the rest of us. They also aren’t the direct cause of any of your distaste (if any) for the company.
- Many people have recommended that you should indicate how a friend or family member is getting a better rate (if it’s true) and also what the competitor is offering. However, I was once thanked by someone at Telus for not trying to haggle by bringing up Shaw’s rates. I was also thanked for being honest and for not trying to “game” them. The best approach likely depends on who you talk to.
Got any tips for getting a good home or small business Internet / television / phone plan? Share them in the comments!