Anyone in marketing can tell you that it costs a company more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.  That’s because few of us like change, particularly the type of change that can disrupt our day-to-day lives.  It’s a hassle to switch banks, or internet and cable providers, so as long as things run relatively smooth then most of us are happy to stay put.

Related: Take a day off to work on your finances

How much is your loyalty worth?

We like to think that our loyalty will count for something when it comes time to upgrade a package, buy a new product, or fix a problem.  But in reality all the best deals are reserved for new customers – not existing ones.  Has your bank or cable provider ever contacted you about a new promotion that would save you money?  Meanwhile, if you’re like me, you probably get flooded with offers from their competitors trying to win your business.

This was made abundantly clear to me over the past week as we switched cable providers for the first time in 14 years.  Telus has been aggressively promoting its Optik TV service and making huge in-roads against its main rival, Shaw Cable.

Related: Read this fascinating report on how Shaw bet big on WiFi in their battle for Western Canada

The offer is compelling.  Sign up for Optik TV and Internet for three years and get:

  • A free 42” LG Smart TV
  • A free PVR and two free digital boxes
  • Six months free HBO/Movie package

Even though I was a long-time Bell customer I always had an older model receiver or digital box – no PVR or anything fancy.  To get the latest HD PVR from Bell would cost $499, or $15 per month for 60 months!  With this deal, Telus offered three new boxes for free – plus the 42” Smart TV that was valued at $899.  Signing a three-year contract wasn’t a big deal for us – remember we were with Bell for 14 years previously.

Related: How I saved over $300 on my cable and internet

With Optik, I found the number of channels and access to On-Demand programming to be far superior to what we got with Bell TV, and for around the same price.  There was just one catch – we were already Telus Internet customers and unable to qualify for this promotion.

However, if I’ve learned anything from writing and researching personal finance articles it’s that you’ll never get anything if you don’t ask.  I had nothing to lose – even though I wanted the free TV and upgraded equipment I would have been fine to stay with Bell if Telus had said no.

Eager to get our business, the Telus representative agreed to give us the deal even though we were already Internet customers.  They sent a technician to install everything last week and we expect the new TV to arrive in 3-4 weeks.

Final thoughts

Usually it takes a major problem for us to even consider switching service providers.  In this case, even though we were reluctant to switch, we’re happy we took advantage of this offer.  The hassle factor was minimal, we got a free TV that we had planned to buy within a year anyway, and we’ll save money on our bill for the next six months.

Before I called Telus I went to the Bell website and clicked on the “Promotions” tab just to see if they had any offers available for a long-time, loyal customer.  This message sums up how loyal customers get screwed while new customers get all the perks:

Bell: No Promo

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