According to a story in today’s Wall Street Journal, in these rough economic times customers are bolder about demanding discounts from the companies they get their Internet, phone and television services from. Meanwhile, those communications companies — eager to hang onto customers — are showing increasing flexibility in granting customer discounts. Is it happening in the Baton Rouge region? Brad Supple, EATEL’s director of sales and marketing, says the company is hearing from a few more customers looking for ways to cut their bills than in the past, though he wouldn’t call it spike. EATEL has always had a policy of working with customers — analyzing bills and perhaps removing unused or unwanted channels or features — to help them lower their bill. Supple suspects communications providers nationally are under more pressure from customers than locally.
“We’re working with a few more people than in the past,” he says. “It’s just something we’ve always had in place. They don’t want to cancel services and we don’t want them to cancel services.
Will Hinson, director of public affairs for Cox Communications, says the number of customers calling to negotiate lower bills hasn’t changed much since the national economy went south. He says customers are important and Cox is always willing to work with them on an individual basis to find a package that meets their budget. “And we have the lowest entry point in Louisiana of getting into cable,” Hinson says. “That’s a different way of looking at it: People are going to come to Cox because it is difficult times.” To read the Wall Street Journal article, click here.—Steve Clark