Psychology of Technology - 15 December 2009
Author: Dr. Jim Taylor

On my recent post about AT&T, a commenter, Who? (no, this isn’t a Who’s on First game; that’s his username), asked me to elaborate on how I am consistently able to get good deals from AT&T (and other companies that want my business). I thought others might be interested, so I’m posting here.

No magic. Here’s the process of what I do:

  1. Call Customer Service (CS). If you want the best deal, don’t buy at an AT&T store because I have not found that their Customer Service Reps (CSR) have the authority to make deals (correct me if I’m wrong, Herg).
  2. I tell the first layer of CS what I want (phone or plan) and ask for their very best price.
  3. When it isn’t good enough, I tell them that there are a lot of mobile-phone service providers out there that want my business with many great phones and great deals.
  4. If they balk, I tell them that AT&T has certainly been having its problems lately and I would think that they would want to bend over backwards to retain a long-time customer like me.
  5. I then see if they make a counteroffer.
  6. If so, and I’m happy with it, I accept (which I rarely do with first layer of CS because I have found that there are better deals to be had).
  7. I ask to speak to their supervisor or someone who can make us both happy.
  8. Repeat process until I get what I want (which is about 95% of the time).

Hints

  1. Always be nice (honey works better than vinegar).
  2. Remember your CSR’s name and use it often (you build a relationship).
  3. Talk to the CSR about win-win (AT&T gets my business, I’m a happy customer who will tell others).
  4. It sometimes takes several attempts with different CSRs. I have found that CSRs have different amounts of knowledge of products and services and different degrees of willingness to make a deal. Persistence is the key.

It takes a certain personality to do this. I love the "art of the deal" and am willing to spend the time and be very assertive to get the deal I want. And I’m also happy to walk away if they are unwilling to give it to me.









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