Negotiate with Finesse!

Like every child, I had favorite hiding place to escape to when the world seemed unfair or I was in trouble. I really missed that hiding place yesterday when dealing with the phone company. It would be nice if one could compare packages between companies easily, apples to apples and oranges to oranges. Instead it’s more like choosing between fruit salads. With one company you get grapes with salad A, but you have to pay extra for kiwi. Another company offers grapes and kiwi with salad A, but you pay extra for pineapple. After a few hours of research and two long phone calls, I really wanted my childhood hiding place.  Instead I chose to put on my big girl pants and face the situation with *finesse!

It’s great when you can do a little research to find the best deal, but often you have to find the right customer service agent. Of course that’s easier said than done since you have no control over who answers your call. However, you do have control over being the type of customer an agent wants to assist. I’ve found negotiating more productive when I do the following.

Be Polite
I’ve worked in customer service, and believe me, they’re not paid enough to listen to abusive customers. I was upset yesterday and acknowledged such to the agent, but also stated that I knew it wasn’t her fault. I simply asked for her assistance to fix my issue.

Be Persistent
Yesterday was my third call to this particular company. I finally reached someone who not only was willing to fix my issue, but had the expertise to make the needed changes.

Be Prepared      
Have your research, bills, and notes in front of you before you place your call. If necessary, have their website and competitor’s websites on your computer screen for reference.

Have a Plan
If they don’t offer what you want, have another option ready to go. Thank them for their time and inform them that another company can better meet your needs. This may cause them to be willing to negotiate further, but be prepared to move your business immediately if that’s what’s best.  

In the end, we have a package that not only meets our needs, but we’re saving about $15 a month! All it took was a little *finesse!

My negotiation finesse level: 
Novice     Advanced beginner     Competent        Proficient        Expert         

What’s your negotiation finesse level?

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)

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