A Tale of Two Price Objections
At the end of last year, I was faced with two subscription renewal decisions—The Wall Street Journal and Sirius Radio. Previously in both cases I have successfully played the game I call, “Holy crap are you people stupid or what?”
Here’s how the game is played:
1) My subscription comes to an end.
2) I call customer service to cancel.
3) If they don’t immediately drop the price, I cancel.
4) Often on the spot, but at the latest within two weeks, I receive a phone call, email or letter with miraculous news: They want me back and are willing to drop the price in return for my renewal.
This latest experience, however, was quite different…
On Wednesday, Dec. 26, I called The Journal. In the past, it’s amazing how quickly the cost has gone from a $99 introductory rate to a $212 regular rate and then back to a special rate that they just happened to find, all by saying “I quit.” In our world, that would be like the customer saying, “Your price is too high.”
So, I told the annoying recording that I wanted to cancel, and was immediately routed to someone specially chosen for their kindness and ability to express empathy while quietly urging the customer to reconsider.
Or so I thought.
My WSJ customer service rep’s name was Michael. I told him I wish to cancel my subscription. He said all the usual things (“Sorry to see you go. You’ve been a loyal customer. Blah, blah, blah.”) and I thought I knew what was coming next, “Would you stay if I could give you a better price?”
Instead, Michael told me, “Our new CEO has done away with playing games. Now, everyone pays the same rate: $25.99 a month. You are currently paying less than $18 a month. The only way to keep that price is to hold onto your subscription and I’m not sure that I can even hold that price for you past your renewal date.” (Those were his exact words).