The launch of new telecom offers from Swiss service providers has become a regular event, with the trend heading towards lower prices and higher telecom allowances and performance. Existing customer tend to play the role of cash cows because in many cases new offers with low prices and better performance are only offered to new customers.
Don’t be afraid to ask
Many customers do not even know that it is possible to negotiation with telecom service providers. But in this case, holding back can hit your wallet hard. There are cases known to moneyland.ch in which consumers have saved hundreds of Swiss francs on telecom bills every year by simply negotiating. In short: There are telecom users who save dozens of francs per month by simply negotiating.
Better chances for good payers
Depending on the telecom service provider, offer and customer profile in question, your chances of negotiating a better deal may be better, worse, or just plain non-existent. As a general rule, long-term customers who pay their bills on time have better chances of striking a good deal. In short: Paying your bills on time gives you an edge when negotiating a better deal.
On the other hand, customers who frequently make late payments will find it difficult or even impossible to bargain with their telecom service providers. Customers who have tied themselves in to long-term contracts also have a poor hand to play in that they are legally bound to pay the high price they agreed to when they signed up and cannot simply migrate to another service provider if their current providers do not cut them some slack.
Beware of long-term contracts
The rule of thumbs is: The shorter the minimum contract term, the more customer-friendly the offer. Using short contract terms allows you to switch to another service provider easily and without paying penalties if you get a better deal elsewhere.
Unfortunately, telecom contracts with long contract terms are still widespread. Often, consumers are lured into signing up for long-term contracts without their understanding the exact terms and conditions attached. Always ask for detailed information about the contract term and notice periods before signing up. Minimum contract terms are listed on the info pages corresponding to offers included in the moneyland.ch telecom comparisons.
How to negotiate: 11 tips
Here, moneyland.ch lists 11 key tips for negotiating with Swiss telecom companies:
- 1. Stay calm. Swiss telecom service providers often employ salespeople which have been well-schooled in the art of rhetoric to handle the sale of new offers and negotiations with customers. Staying calm and not allowing yourself to be pressured by sales tactics is key.
- 2. Ask questions. If you do not, trained salespeople will be able to sell you an offer without your knowing what the offer really includes. Pre-arming yourself with concrete questions about the terms and conditions of your existing contract will send a clear signal that you are not one to be taken for a ride.
- 3. Do not focus on the price. The service you get with mobile plans – including data and call allowances – are at least as important. If you are negotiating for flat-fee data plan, ask about data speeds and whether or not they are throttled. If you are looking at a call plan, ask whether included flat-fee call allowances are valid for calls to numbers in all networks or just those within your network.
- 4. Research competing offers. Because Swiss telecom offers are constantly being upgraded, there are often competing offers from other companies which are even cheaper or deliver better value for money. You can use the unbiased telecom comparisons on moneyland.ch to find detailed information about available offers. Making your service provider aware that you are knowledgeable about offers from competitors can put you in a much better position to negotiate a bargain.
- 5. Indicate that you would like to terminate your contract – even if you actually want to stay with the same service provider. Telling your telecom provider that you have found a better deal elsewhere will likely have them negotiating with you by offering discounts – assuming you are the kind of customer who pays your bills on time,
- 6. Be stubborn. Do not accept the first inch given to you. There are cases known to moneyland.ch in which telecom customers received progressively better offers (discounts, higher allowances, or both) over the course of long calls spent negotiating with telecom company representatives.
- 7. Negotiate by phone or chat. If the thought of bargaining with a representative at a customer service center makes you feel self-conscious, you will be glad to know that there are more discreet ways to negotiate. Negotiating by email is difficult due to the fact that many telecom service providers no longer have customer service email addresses, but you can typically contact representatives directly via a hotline or – increasingly – via online chatting applications.
- 8. When getting a new contract, ask how long the contract term is. Stick to contracts with the shortest possible terms.
- 9. Do not sign up for a contract on the fly. A telecom contract is a major expense when you consider its actual cost across its full term. Rather than accepting an offer immediately, have the offer sent to you by email or snail mail so that you can carefully read the fine print before signing up. This will also furnish you with proof of the promised offer and let you verify whether the contract lives up to the salesperson’s promises.
- 10. Do you battle to understand telecom jargon or would you like to know whether your plan could be improved somehow? Perhaps the moneyland.ch Telecom Guru can help you out. Ask the expert.
- 11. Don’t forget that you have nothing to lose by negotiating, but real money to lose by not negotiating.