AT&T Retention – How To Get a Good Deal

Have you ever heard of the “retention department”? The “customer retention” department is the part of the customer service organization at most consumer-facing companies that are in charge of persuading people to stay with the company. The goal of customer retention is to increase customer loyalty and reduce cancelations. Most companies that earn recurring revenue need to retain customers as long as possible to maximize the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).

AT&T Retention - How To Get a Good Deal

If you call AT&T in a heated mood and demand to have your account canceled, your call will quickly be routed to a retention specialist whose job it is to calm you down, move you back to being satisfied with their services, and keep you as a customer.

In this article, I’m going to tell you how to talk to retention departments and get the best deal possible, keeping in mind that they have incentives to keep you as a customer. Whether you’re calling the AT&T retention department or some other company that you do business with, these tips will come in handy.

Older readers may remember a time when the phone company didn’t care if you were a customer or not. If you canceled, there were plenty of more people coming in the door to get service; they didn’t need you. Although in some cases (like wanting free phones) this still holds true, some things have changed. Since the level of competition between phone companies is incredibly massive, some companies have chosen to focus on retaining their existing customers rather than just relying on new revenue. With more competition for fewer customers, companies are working harder to keep you on their books.

Customers and Churn

Customers are quitting companies and others are signing up for service all the time. This ebb and flow of customers is known as “churn.” Until a few years ago, most technology services company just took churn as a fact of life and didn’t concern themselves with whether a particular individual customer stayed or left. It was the same whether you’re talking internet, cell service, car insurance, or any type of service.

Now things are different. Customers are demanding discounts and are a lot savvier about moving to a new deal or researching cheaper contracts. Companies now actively try to retain you as a customer, because they have become aware that it costs money to acquire customers and that it is often much better to give a given customer a better deal to prevent them from leaving. This puts you in the driver’s seat for once.

Customer Retention and Getting A Good Deal

AT&T retention is responsible for reducing churn within the company. They have a range of discounts and offers they can use to tempt you to stay for another year or two years. You can contact them by dialing 611 from an AT&T phone or calling 1-800-331-0500.

However, to get a good deal from any retention department, you have to get organized.

Shop Around For Other Deals

When your installment plan is about to expire meaning your phone is paid off, shop around for other deals. Compare like for like services from across all companies who offer the same service in your area. Copy or write down prices and know who is offering what. Keep that list handy for when making the call. “You know, Telco X offered me the same level of service you’re offering but for $10 a month less” is a powerful bargaining chip.

To get a discount, you need quantifiable data to support your case. There is no point talking to a retention agent demanding a discount and that’s it. You need to present your evidence by showing you can get a better deal elsewhere at a lower price or with more features.

Understand What You’re Paying For

To get a discount on your service, you need to know how much you’re paying, what features add to that cost, what features you use, and what you could do without. Some of your current features could’ve been changed or replaced completely. Understand what you are currently paying for as well as what you want to pay for.

Identify Your Goal

Finally, identify your goal in making the call. Do you want a lower monthly bill or more features? Both? Want faster speeds or a bigger data cap? Both? Knowing in advance what you want will help stop you from being fobbed off with something you didn’t ask for.

Making The Call To AT&T Retention

Once you are prepared, it’s time to make the call. Have your list to hand and make sure to call from a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.

Most importantly, don’t tell them you want them to match another company or tell them right away what you want. Ask them what they can do for you to keep you as a customer. Then let them work their magic.

The Do’s and Don’ts Of Dealing With Customer Service Agents

  • ALWAYS be polite as there’s no benefit at all to being rude.
  • Be fair.
  • Be firm.
  • Be calm (this goes along with being firm in a productive way).
  • Be reasonable (i.e., don’t demand too much)
  • Give the customer care agent time and space to respond to your requests

  • Use pauses to your advantage.
  • Do not interrupt the agent.
  • Do not swear.
  • Do not be aggressive.
  • Do not call on Mondays, Fridays, or first thing in the morning. This is when the customer service agents are likely to be overwhelmed with calls, which will make them less attentive to and proactive about meeting your requests.
  • Ask questions such as; “Is there anything you can do to help me lower my bill?”

4 Tips For Dealing With Customer Retention

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for more if you’re not happy with what the AT&T retention agent comes back with. As long as you are flexible and fair, you can always ask for more, or a free feature for a few months, or some other benefit depending on the goals you set earlier. Never be afraid to ask for more as these companies are never afraid to take more.
  2. Use pauses carefully as you do want to respect the  AT&T customer service agent’s time. Agents are timed on their calls and need to get your call serviced quickly and onto another. Don’t go all TV and make them wait 30 seconds at a time, but use a pause to show dissatisfaction or make them sweat a little. Sometimes a simple pause can provide a more generous offer so they can chalk up another satisfied customer.
  3. Understand that most representatives will offer you what they have available at the time. No customer service representative’s goal is to argue with a customer, it’s much easier to give you what you want if they have it available. You can always politely request to speak with a manager if you feel that there is something you’re not being offered.
  4. Finally, if the agent you’re speaking to doesn’t seem interested or isn’t bothered about keeping you as a customer, thank them and hang up. Leave it a minute and try again. Different staff members will have different levels of enthusiasm or be at a different stage in their monthly targets. Also, AT&T like many other companies uses both contracted employees (non-AT&T employees) and corporate employees in their retention department. Depending on which one you’re speaking to they may not have the power to authorize other deals.

The Low-Down on Deals

Before calling, keep in mind that retaining your loyalty is not the only goal of the company. AT&T needs revenue to continue providing service for all of its customers, so you may get a special offer if you add a new service to your bundle instead of a bill credit or rate reduction, this will often save you money on another bill (for example; switch your internet to AT&T at a discounted rate).

If you’re looking for a deal on a new phone you may be out of luck here. The representative may have the option to lower your plan and offset the cost of a new phone but you’ll still have to pay taxes upfront and the MSRP (price set by the manufacturer) for the phone.

The deals that are available to the retention reps are pre-loaded and mapped out by an individual they’ve likely never met before. We say this because you don’t want to waste your time trying to get something another company is offering after AT&T says they can’t. Sometimes the best deals are for new customers, you can always switch to another provider to take advantage of discounts then switch back at a later date.

How To Make Sure Your Customer Retention Deal Is Honored

Once you have a deal, repeat it back to them. This verifies that you understand what is being offered and that they’re clear on your expectations. Next, get the representatives’ first name and write down the time of your call. Whenever an agent touches your account, there is an ID in the notes (the representative cannot give you this ID and some won’t give you their last name, but their first name and the time of the call should suffice). If you have a problem with promises made, call back with that information.

Then set a calendar reminder to yourself to repeat the whole process again once this contract term is up. Over time you can save yourself a lot of money by contacting the customer retention teams at AT&T and other businesses you pay a monthly,

If you can spend an hour of your time researching deals and talking to an agent, you can save money or get extra features for little or no money. As long as you are reasonable in your requests and fair with the AT&T retention agent, you will be surprised at what they will do to keep you as a customer!

Have you had interactions with AT&T customer retention agents or customer retention agents at other companies? Have you had success in dealing with them to get better terms? Tell us about your experiences below.

23 thoughts on “AT&T Retention – How To Get a Good Deal”

Jeff Bartlett says:
I always use the retention folks when I’m ready to upgrade my phone because I’d rather pay outright for it, than pay a monthly charge tacked onto my phone bill. Granted I don’t get the latest and greatest phone but I did get an S10e two-years ago for $139. I did have to move to an unlimited plan (which was OK because my bill went down $20 a month). I also had to extend my contract by two-years, which again, OK by me as we have been with ATT since 2000 and we didn’t really want to change companies. I have also found that who can offer what depends allot on the time of month. Seems that I got better offers towards the end of each month.
shawnsonline says:
I completely agree with the comments. I have been with AT&T mobile 10 years+. I switched my plan around a few times bought phones and got good deals with retention with no issues. I had a few more phones added to my plan using retention like I have done in the past and we got ripped off bad. I even repeated everything back and made sure I understood before we got the phones. They refuse to do anything about it after several hours on the phone. They generated 2 cases that supposedly escalate this to a higher power to fix the phone cost issue and haven’t heard anything but “its pending’. What once was really good has turned really bad in a hurry.
Christine Sobchik says:
Been a 20+ year customers, and just cancelled. No real offers to keep us, didn’t really even try. Totally followed all the recommendations above.
Mark Gates says:
I have had the exact same experience. I mean almost verbatim. The reps seem to all be well trained on similar bait and switch tactics all designed to extract more $ out of your wallet. It’s truly amazing that these scoundrels have not had federal charges brought against them. Well done and hats off to all ATT sr. leadership for turning your company into a national disgrace! Bravo!
Jamie says:
Been with A t& t since 2006. My phone was recently jailbreaked, so I called to find out what deals they had to keep me. In Nov I was able to negotiate an iPhone 10 purchased outright for $150 to keep my grandfathered data plan at $ 55 a month but for some reason, their not sticking to the agreement. So I wasn’t surprised today when they basically wouldn’t offer me any type of deal similar to the one I got in Nov. I’m very disappointed since tech support just can’t seem to fix myLG basically forcing me to upgrade but yet they can’t offer me a good deal, sad! This company has really gone down hill!
ARandomSaver says:
Just a heads up, the retention department is not available on chat anymore (except for wireless services), a friend of mine who works for them told me this, i can remember her being frustrated as she wasnt able to add a discount for a 10 year customer who had a promotion expired. companies these days sucks ass then the agents get the blame *facepalm*
Wesley Breaux says:
I have been an AT&T customer for 31 years, 2 home phones, 4 cell phones, Uverse, and Cable. Today I have spoken to 3 retention agents and all they want to offer is 5 dollars off my bill. I dont see a company letting a long time customer just walk away like that. But they dont care its all about taht dollar bill, they have these fast talkers on the phone, half of them you cannn ot understand and they will piss on your head and tell ou its raining. im going to Metro pcs for my phone service, At&T is no better than they are, I disconnecting the home phone services period. I will except X-finity 20$ per month for one year of wifi, and get me a fire stick or roku to watch what ever. They know these services are not worth the money you are being charged but I guess they think you just have to stay with them. My money will be just fine right in my pocket. Im sick of begging every year to save 10$ for what, they can give less than a dam about your loyalty. Im so glad there are other choices out here that we can choose from. Bye At&t I love you bout like you love me.
Jeremy says:
Called several times. Useless. Couple times I was told “Call back January 7th” So I called January 7th. Nothing. Tried again saying I’d cancel. They’d rather lose me all together based on the call today. Same story “Nothing. Would you like to go ahead and cancel then?”
Shanti says:
not with AT&T, but my friend told me that the promotions that can be added on the account are system generated, and whatever is available on their end will be the available ones to add, heck i even remember her saying it was kind of frustrating to see long time customers who are looking for promotions to help lower down the bill, and all they can offer are small discounts as they are restricted as well. and also the retention department is not available on chat anymore (idk how to reply to the article itself sorry)
ATTsucks says:
Well goodbye ATT! After 20+ years of service, they had no problem letting me go today. I have the internet 24 plan for $29.99 promotion. Last 4 months I’ve been paying $65. Ok BUT I’m only getting 5-10mbps NOT 24 and I’ve had numerous techs out to check it, give me new equipment, con me into getting a wifi booster….to no avail. This morning it was still at 8mbps. So I called to complain AGAIN and told them I refuse to keep paying $65/mo for shitty service. They said they could put me at 50mbps for the same $65 lol I don’t want a “faster” speed (we all know it wouldn’t actually be any faster), I want my 24mbps to work as advertised or my rate reduced to reflect the 5-10mbps speed. I waited a total of 2 hrs on the phone with various reps today without any resolution. I called Customer Loyalty (I use that term loosely) and the rep didn’t even know if he was considered customer loyalty department or not lol I told him what the competition was charging for similar packages and he still only offered me the $65 for 50mbps. I thought customer retention was supposed to have these magic deals up their sleeves to retain long term customers! He could have cared less. He said there’s nothing he can do and was more than happy to cancel my service. In all the 20 yrs, I have to say, despite the sucky ass service I have stayed with ATT because of the good customer service I have always gotten. I’m not sure what has happened recently that they don’t care anymore but see ya ATT.
Lisa says:
I loath AT&T and I am cancelling all of my service with them tomorrow. At&T and Citi Bank are neck and neck for winning the WORST COMPANY OF THE DECADE AWARD! I mean every single agent, application, manager, unit managers….they all suck ass and AT&T can kiss mine, and they can report me to all credit agencies, I DO NOT NEED CREDIT, but so help me GOD they will not get another dime from me!
Barbara Hoots says:
I just called retention again about lowering my bill. I called a couple of weeks ago and talked to a lady in Mexico who could do very little for me. This time I called 611 and got someone here. She lowered my bill $55 for the next year plus took $50 off this months bill where everything had gone up. I think it depends on what country you get when you call and who you talk to. Trish was a great help to me….and remember, be nice!!!
Tbone says:
We have been with ATT for Directv and internet for over 20 years. Since the Directv merger they have been less and less concerned over pricing. Over the past four billing cycles our bill has doubled due to expiring discounts/promotions. I called to negotiate (calmly and respectfully) today and the best they could offer was a $5 twelve month promotion. I told them this would be the end of our relationship and that we’d move to Xfinity and YouTubeTV and they didn’t flinch. So we completed the cancellation order and are moving on. Apparently they could not care less about losing loyal long-term customers. Amazing.
LW says:
In the first month with ATT Internet, my account was hacked at ATT. Had to call them to discover it as they had not informed me. They suggested changing password but nothing on what was hacked. Took me 3 hours to contact the right department as the people on the phone kept sending me to the wrong office. Their social media on FB is always inefficient. Was sent to apps to collect a gift for my inconvenience, none worked. My Internet went down and it will take them 4 days for a tech. All in 3 months. Why should anyone want a communications company that will not communicate? No longer want to get shATT on by them.
Forrest says:
The good news with AT&T U-Verse was that CS Retention gave me a credit during the loss of CBS during their negotiations. They also added 300 mbs to my plan. The bad news is that after all that I loss all services: landline phone. Internet & cable. Spent close to 2 hrs till I could speak with someone to schedule a home visit with a tech for the next day. Tech fixed a lose connection to the white box. More bad news, entire bundle went down 9/18. Told problem is the white box needs to be replaced. Earliest date a tech can come is Sunday 9/22. Just received a text saying they canceled sunday and rescheduled for monday. Spent an 1 hr trying to correct. A “supervisor” was to call back within an hour. It’s now going on 3 hrs and have not heard from att. Very poor CS. Making a switch and asking for credit on time of morning service.
LW says:
They told me they took 10 dollars off my bill for waiting 5 days without service. I looked at my bill, no chincy 10 was taken off the bill. There was 10 taken off on a previous on another screw up. ATT had a cognitive laose trying to say that was the cheap 10 they took off. They either have a time machine or hire people who are too afraod to rock the boat. I had one rep beg me to give them a good survey. The rep was nice and the problem was beyond them, but they were afraid of a bad review. Anyway, another rep said I could pay them money to leave ATT. Sounds like a racket. We will keep aggravating you and screwing up your security and access until you give us your lunch money.
Jeannette says:
Att, we were given a BOGO over the phone, and were not given all of the information only to find that an extra line was added to our account for $130 a month, and the deal was not a BOGO but a Buy one get one half off. We would not have accepted this deal if we had known this. I have talke d with numerous representatives that were going to help and get the charge for the extra line removed, but it has not happened. I want to return the phone and get out of the deal. One social media representative told me to return to the store, after attempting this I was told I could not by the store manager, and I would need to contact the “retention” department. After doing this, I was put on hold for a manager, told I was being passed on to a manager, and the phone just rang and rang. I have spent countless lunch hours on the phone attempting to resolve the issue.
I just simply want out of a bad deal, easy. Please tell me the best way to do so, I will not pay for a phone I am not keeping, and I did not agree to the terms that were given to me.
Please help, take of of good paying customers that pay you more than $400.00 a month. Be an upstanding company.
Tricia F. says:
Had the same thing happen to me. All of the deals required a new line. I didn’t want a new line. I talked to a rep and he says you can purchase two new phones (older models, which I wanted) and just take the sym cards out of the old phones and put them in the new phones. HOWEVER, he forgot to tell me that I was still going to have to pay for two NEW lines that I wouldn’t be using. Wasn’t until I talked to someone in the AT&T store that told me what had just happened at AT&T online… immediately called and cancelled
Michelle K. says:
The same EXACT scenario just happened to me 2 days ago. I’m about to call the retention department today, so we’ll see how this goes……
Hello From Texas says:
Just tried DirecTV Retention and no luck! Been with them over 20 years and have 9 AT&T Unlimited plan cell phone lines too.

Ultimate package, Genie + HD DVR + HD Receiver. $50 per month 12 month credit just expired. That and recent price increases have my DTV bill up to over $170 per month. Unbelievable that I wasn’t offered anything. First time ever striking out!

My equipment is long ago paid for and haven’t been under contract in years. With current offers, a new subscriber will pay about $90 per month for 12 months for 3 TVs (although without 2nd DVR) for Ultimate package + HBO + NFL Sunday Ticket + Free equipment + $200 Visa gift card. Now seriously looking at competitive options and will likely cancel DirecTV shortly.

Marsha Gardner says:
Great to know, as we have been with them 15+ and my $50 discount just expired. I am on the phone on hold now
Jacob says:
i have been with AT&T for over 12 years.
Last year i got a $3 increase per month. i called them right away to ask why?
“Oh, we review accounts periodically and make adjustments”
this did not explain anything! “But what am i paying more for?” i said.

Anyways, i was able to negotiate a 12-month discount ($20 off/ month) i was happy.
well that promotion is expiring and i have to call back and negotiate with them.

FYI- I have internet only with them. I canceled my landline 10 years ago. I do not want or need cable TV (they always ask and push for me to add it) Thankfully i do not have my cellphone with them either.
my dilemma like most is…. need internet to watch Netflix and Hulu…ugh lol.

I am seriously considering switching to Spectrum.

Nicole says:
I have done all these things for years. And for years it worked like a charm and my bill was drastically lowered. You see I have worked in calls centers, sales, and for another cable company at one time so I knew all the ins and outs of the retention department and how to negotiate. However, in the last couple years (since the Direct TV merge) At&t has become almost impossible to work with. They are not biting like they once did and the deals they are offering to retain you are barely a discount. They are strong arming you to switch to Direct TV and once you refuse they are punishing you with no discounts. It seems they have got too big for their britches and are no longer going above and beyond to keep you as a customer. As all big empires, they will fall in good time.
John Anthony Hough says:
Yes, Nicole, I have experienced a similar change. For consumers like us, with no particular interest in cable, DTV, and tons of channels that numb the mind (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and broadcast channels seem sufficient), we do well with 1000mb internet. However, in the past six months or so, even the offshore reps have increasingly seemed indifferent or resistant. Sprint’s Philippine locations seem far, far more receptive and willing to help, to find the least expensive options, and to provide productive support.

ATT’s offshore workers “feel” to me that they have no wiggle room, no authority. These entry-level representatives (NOT inept; rather, the lowest on the food chain), and even their supervisory colleagues seem to have no authority to be flexible. They seem anxious about considering changes in what they offer, or the price at which they offer it. They even seem anxious and troubled by my insistence (kind, I promise) to negotiate with someone above these levels who has real authority.

I have been in people-service for nearly a half-century. I have concluded repeatedly that people who are trusted to do their jobs are happier and healthier. If not, and when coerced, they take on the neurosis of those who control things, and the supervisory workers who are equally anxious. Such kingdoms fall, Nicole. Yes, they do.

Jan Sheridan says:
the best thing about reading these comments was that I know that I am not alone. The dread of calling ATT and going thru the lengthy, unfulfilling process and hours consumed with no possitive resolution is just mind blowing. And here I have been with them for 40+ years. Why is it so hard for me to change? I ask myself that question. But thanks to these comments I feel like can go at it once more.
Ede Sockel says:
They have the worst customer service I’ve ever had from any company ever. They were great 10 years ago but not the last 5 years. I got a good deal on a bundle 2 years ago, my first bill after was almost 500.00 from 225.00. I was told my New bill would be 120.00 and I would not be charged the 99.00 installation charge and get the Sunday ticket for 2 YEARS. When I called back the rep told me the bill would take 30 to 90 days to show changes. BUT I am being charged 99.00 installation and Sunday ticket was 1 yr Not 2 yrs. I clearly told the rep if I had to pay anything I didn’t want the bundle as I had equipment already. I called to reduce my existing bill. He didn’t tell me they would be removing equipment I didn’t want removed. The men said they had to put in New equipment but if we wanted to put my dvr back in bedroom he would leave it for me. To get my bill back to what I was told and installation charges removed I called every month and was sent agent to agent with no fixed billing. Each assured me they made the changes except one rude agent who tried to hurry the call to take her break in 15 minutes. She got frustrated and hung up on me. After going through the months of total dread about calling about my bill I felt like giving in and just paying it. On the 8th month I called again got So upset and frustrated I started crying on the call I was so embarrassed. The agent assured me he would definitely fix the bill today and he Actually Did ! I was so happy to be rid of the horrible frustration. My 2 years are up but the idea of trying again for a discount had me stressed out at the thought. I am cancelling my landline and looking at Sling Tv to be rid of all AT&T. Deals look great but having to go thru all that isn’t worth it . And to think I had to CRY before I got taken seriously after over 20 phone calls.
Long time customer says:
I think this right here just about sums it all up for so many out there.
Leland F says:
I visited this site before and attempted to get At&t to lower my bill. They said its already as low as it can possible be. I pay $245 a month for two lines. That’s just too damn much.
Archiebald says:
At&T is the worst service . Please do not ever sign up with them/

We had all our 3 phones upgraged and our Bill is supposed to be 173.00 a month plus taxes
We understood that.
Folks they have made up all sorts of extra charges whcih they call taxes and did also not waive off the activation/ upgrade fee
our first bill is 454.00 this off.
I call and was on the phone for over an hour with managers and retention and they will not help

All 3 of them were rude and laugh at us
We have been with At& T over 8 years .
We have our Wireless, internet , alarm and also TV / with them .

We will cancel all our services and pay off the phones and go with another Provider by Jannuary,

The Manager literally told us to go ahead.
Yep they will NEVER HAVE US BACK




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