Customers expecting me to psychically know which phone they want and waive all cost (“My contract is done, what will RedCompany do for me?”) and give them discounts and things that are physically impossible to do

This is more of a general interaction that occurs for me multiple times daily as a call center rep of a major Canadian telecom company with a circular red logo. It frustrates me to no end, and I’ve been thinking of ways to word my response(s) or gather more details of what they are actually looking for. I get that people tend to want the newest products at the best deals 100% of the time, but being this ignorant is irritating and harmful.

Here is the general conversation I’m talking about here:

$ME = me, obviously $CX = customer I’m speaking to at the time

$ME: Hi there! You’ve reached RedHot with RedCompany* in (location/country), can I please get your first and last name? (General intro + variations)

$CX: My name is (insert customer’s name here).

$ME: Great! (VARIFIES $CX INDENTITY & SECURITY QUESTIONS, ETC**) And what can I do for you today, $CX?

$CX: Yeah so, I’m pretty sure my plan (they mean contract*) is almost done and I was wondering what I can get.

$ME: By that, do you mean you’re looking for a new device?

$CX: Well, obviously….

$ME: Okay, that’s great! We have a ton of new devices we can look at here, and some are even on promo right now for $0 up front, if you have our Premium Plus share cellphone plan. What kind of device would you be interested in/did you already have an idea of what you’re looking for?

$CX: Well I mean, that should be obvious if you actually go over my account details. But I’ve never paid for any devices from you guys and I’m not going to now. Also what is “Premium Plus”? I like the plan I have now and I know you guys like to upsell to the most expensive option, if you try that on me I’ll just go somewhere else.

$ME: While we certainly wouldn’t want to lose your business, especially after you’ve spend x-amount of years with us as a loyal customer (based on what the account activation date states), the new devices that are coming out are, on average? Between $900 and $1500 CAD to purchase outright, due to new technologies and the increasing cost of manufacture. If you don’t mind waiting a moment, I’ll review your account and see if I can find a decent offer for you based on what you have with us currently.

($CX agrees, and I either make small talk while looking, press for more information on their needs, or place them on hold to see if anything new worth mentioning has come up in promotions while I was unaware. Usually in these cases, it is a customer that has historically only purchased devices with the distinctive fruit logo on them, and routinely threatens escalations or cancellation if we don’t lower the cost – these customers also often either have a plan on the account from 2012 that is grandfathered and not eligible for top-tier pricing without a change, have some insanely inexpensive promotional plan that rolled out at Christmas time and isn’t eligible for a contract at all, or have some sort of sweet deal discounts applied by our retention department. In all of the above cases, the customer wants to get a $0 phone without a plan change. Based on current offers and account activity, I can sometimes be empowered to offer up to $150 off the device cost upfront, apply a bonus GB of data, or offer them a loyalty plan which is usually $10-$40 lower than in-market pricing. This is often still not good enough.)

$ME: (bringing my findings to the customer) Great news! It looks like I can offer you a FruityPhone 8, 64GB model, for $0 – it is on for $99 on our top-tier plan option, which WOULD require a plan change, however I would be able to apply a credit of $100 towards that cost, and we also have a plan here that would get you that offer that has the exact same features you currently pay for, but with one more GB of data, and it is only $20 more per month than you currently pay. This is our best promotional offer at this time.

$CX: I told you I am NOT changing my plan. I like what I have right now and why would I pay more every month for exactly the same thing I already have?!?

$ME: I understand your concern with the pricing, however with the FruityPhone 8, and how we base our 2 year contracts, you would need to pay a little bit towards the cost of the phone every month in order to get such a low price upfront. Unfortunately right now you have a plan that is not eligible to receive the same pricing offer unless it were to change – without changes, the phone would be approximately $600 up front for you, but WITH the changes I suggested, you would technically be saving a further $120 on the cost of the new device. As well, due to the promotion, you would get 1GB of bonus data for free.

$CX: But I’ve been a loyal customer with RedCompany for (insert amount of years that is way beyond what the account states or even is longer than the company has been in business) years and you guys won’t give me a DECENT offer to stay with you?!? GreenWireless* was offering the new FruityPhone 8 PLUS for $0 -AND- my plan would be only $40 a month!!! You guys are just thieves trying to steal from hard working peopleZ if that company can offer those prices why can’t you do the same?? Do you WANT to stay in business??

(Cue $ME attempting to explain the difference in service between OUR company and the value brand company they were speaking of, the difference in what the plans would include – ours is usually all inclusive unlimited national minutes and texting and etc, their usually has limited minutes but more data – and the fact that the prices are usually x-amount but I’ve offered it to them at a reduced rate. They almost always try to escalate which ends with me getting them to retention, or they hang up. Phones and services cost MONEY, people!!)

Another one that confuses me is when I get calls from people claiming they “never signed a contract”. They will have purchased a brand new device, new plan at a loyalty rate, the phone is $0 due to agent credits and yet they become absolutely irate when they suddenly call in to cancel 4 months later and are told they will have to pay out the $900 they owe on their contract balance. “But the phone WAS -FREE-!! Your agents told me I would not pay a thing!! THIS IS FALSE ADVERTISING AND I WILL SUE YOUR COMPANY IF YOU CHARGE ME THIS BUT I AM STILL CANCELLING.” ….. our company has never, to my knowledge, simply handed out free devices on no contractual basis and allowed customers to just leave with them. Sigh..

I get that you may not understand the entire pricing system behind it, but our agents do their best to EXPLAIN it to you before purchase, AND it is written in your contract in plain language. If you don’t understand, don’t buy!!

Sorry for the excessive length!

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