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Will Complaining Save You Money?

06 Jun

From a consumer’s standpoint I think that companies have some customer service practices backwards. We all like to save money, and I think that by being a loyal customer we should get a price break. Unfortunately, I see the opposite occurring all the time. People that are unhappy with a company’s performance/product get a special deal while their customers that are loyal get nothing. From a business’s point-of-view it makes sense. You want to keep your customers so why not give the angry ones a price break to help the odds that they’ll do business with you again. Before I go into how I think the system should work I’ll give you a few examples of the backwardness I’ve seen:

 1) Freecreditreport.com- I wrote about them a few months ago, and I mentioned that it really isn’t free at all! When I called to cancel my subscription the automated response offered me 6 months at 50% off (or something close to that). So if you never tried to cancel your account you wouldn’t know about the money you could save.

2) Xo Chai chocolates- I went on a tour of their factory not too long ago. The product they sell “healthy chocolate” was great. The thing I didn’t understand is I was told that if a customer tries to cancel their order they are offered a better deal. If you were setup to receive one box of chocolate a month they would offer you three boxes for the price of two. A decent discount, but one only a complaining customer would receive.

What I’m getting from all of this is that I should be a cranky, complainer in the hopes getting a better deal (and I hate that). I worked in the restaurant business for 10 years, and there is nothing worse than having to deal with an upset customer. The way these companies are doing business rewards unfavorable behavior. I could say, “In order to save money complain to every business you use and see what happens.” Honestly, you probably would see dramatic savings (and some people definitely do this). Instead I think companies should rewards people through the use a loyalty program in which repeat business leads to lower prices. Many companies have set up their organization to run like this, but we need all of them to. Consumers will always expect freebees when they feel like they were wronged, but let’s help loyal customers save money too. Have any of you saved money by complaining, and do you think it’s OK that companies only give discounts to complainers?

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15 Comments

Posted by on June 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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15 responses to “Will Complaining Save You Money?

  1. dawnnythoughts

    June 6, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Reblogged this on dawnnythoughts and commented:
    It is so true. I am always being offered something because I have a complaint or want to cancel. I agree Chris, companies have customer service backwards.

     
    • Chris Neighbors

      June 10, 2012 at 2:57 PM

      I just don’t completely understand their thought process!

       
  2. Canadianbudgetbinder

    June 6, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    It’s unfortunate but it happens all the time. Once a year when we people go to renew their contracts with many communications companies threatening to leave most often gets them a better deal than the year before. Competition now not only contends with the people who pay regular price but the cranky one’s who threaten to go elsewhere for a better deal and companies lay it all out for us! I don’t necessarily complain but I do bring up competitors pricing when I call for example. This year I went from $169.50 to $144.10 for my internet, cell phone, home phone and Digital VIP Cable. For the most part if you are a repeated customer they will do what it takes to keep you.
    Cheers.

     
  3. The J85

    June 6, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    I have to point out too that a lot of stores in my area have started on a “bag-stuffer” program where coupons for your next visit ate put in your bag. This and repeat-buy cards are a couple of ways that some companies are rewarding their loyal customers.

     
  4. Dale Melchin

    June 6, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    My knee jerk response is to want punish cranky customers but that would be unsustainable (maybe) but I think heavier investment should be given to loyal customers.

     
  5. thethriftyspendthrift

    June 6, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Whenever we see something go up in price, we make sure to complain.

    We did that with our internet, which is priced at $52/month and pay only $40/month. I think they got tired of us calling every couple of months because that “temporary price reduction” has been on there for over a year now. 🙂

    My husband actually complains about the quality of his mom’s cable regularly. They’re always throwing her money for that alone.

     
    • Chris Neighbors

      June 6, 2012 at 7:15 PM

      If we really wanted to I’m sure we could save money on almost every transaction by complaining about something!

       
    • Dale Melchin

      June 6, 2012 at 9:35 PM

      I know I don’t really know you, but I need to call you out on this. Why would you do that? A business has the right to set its prices where it is and if you don’t like them there are plenty of other internet/cable whatever providers out there? I work in customer service, and they are generally the worst kinds of customers because they are either new or they are screamy or both.

      I guess my thing is if you like the company, devices, service, etc, why not pay up for the better service?

      I’m honestly not trying to be a troll, but I want to know why someone would call and complain every month for a price reduction knowing that everyone else is paying a higher price?

       
    • thethriftyspendthrift

      June 7, 2012 at 3:52 AM

      I will gladly reply to this.

      Because I live in a co-op, I am forced to use a specific internet and/or cable provider. I do not have a choice in this.

      No, you don’t know me or my husband but if you did, you would know we have never been rude to anyone in customer service in our lives. Perhaps you did not read my comment either—I never said we called every month. At most, we had to call every couple of months (sometimes three months, sometimes six months) and all we would simply do is ask if they could lower our rate.

      Maybe I should have been clearer—we don’t call up to actually “complain” about anything. As I just stated, we say something like, “We noticed our bill went up and we were wondering if…” Like I said, we haven’t had to call in over a year for our situation.

      Now his mom’s cable—that he does complain about because it is really something awful. She can’t get out of her contract right now so that is why she is stuck with it.

      Thank you for making assumptions about me though I really appreciate it.

       
  6. Dale Melchin

    June 6, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    that long comment was directed to thethriftyspendthrift

     
    • Dale Melchin

      June 6, 2012 at 9:37 PM

      I’m messing up your blog, Chris, please delete the extraneous comment, I’m so sorry to make a mess on here!

       
      • Chris Neighbors

        June 10, 2012 at 2:45 PM

        It’s ok. Sorry I left it up for so long. I’ve been on vacation and unable to check it! I totally see what you’re saying because i’ve worked in customer service my whole life. I see the other side also because if you let companies raise their prices without having any backlash they will continue to do so. If their operating costs increase it’s a different story. On a different note, is anyone ever really happy with their internet and cable service?!?! Ha

         

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