A story from Martin
I was an Orange customer and preferred to remain one, as the connection at home and work is good, and the month-long switching hassle at the time was worth avoiding. Yet Orange's packages weren't the market's cheapest.
This is an edited version of my call.
This happened a while ago now - Orange is now EE - but the haggling technique works just as well today.
Martin: “Hi, you have a price match promise. Three offers 500 inclusive cross-network minutes,” (ie, calling other networks) ”for £30/month, yet I'm paying that for just 200 minutes with you.”
Orange: (as expected) “Sorry Mr Lewis, our price promise doesn't cover Three, so we can't offer you that tariff.”
Martin: "That's simply not good enough. While I want to stick with you, unless you can offer me something better, I'm going to have to leave."
Orange: “Let me put you through to our specialist disconnections department and see if we can find any way to improve it.”
Then I repeated my request to disconnections.
Orange ‘disconnections': “I think we can help, we can match that Three tariff for the same price.” (Note: Orange's own 400-minute package cost £50/month.)
Martin: “That's not part of your normal price match plan?”
Orange disconnections: “Nope, it's a special offer for valued customers.” (Sub-text: we'll pull out all the stops if we're going to lose you.)
After that I asked for more text messages and got a bundle on top, then a new phone and was asked: "What do you want? Pick any.” So I opted for a snazzy, tiny camera phone, with radio and 3G (hi-tech at the time) – all, of course, at no extra charge.
While my story is about Orange and a few years old now, this works in exactly the same way with other networks today. There are no hard and fast rules, but a bit of chutzpah and a smile (try it, it's noticeable in your voice, even on the phone) works wonders. It's a game, with huge gains if you suceed and no loss if you fail.