Power of the Consumer

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People know me to be very frugal. I take great pleasure in keeping my living expenses as low as possible. Additionally, I routinely challenge all of my vendors (ie utilities, cable, cellular,etc) for cost savings. I'm clear that most consumers don't realize the power that they have at their disposal. Moreover, it is not necessary to become a sacrifical lamb, simply because you cannot perform a desired service yourself. Use your collective bargaining power to drive cost for service down through healthy competition.

For instance, I received an unsolicited offer for a teeth bleaching service from a dental office seeking to grow its business. The price point of $100.00 was much lower than that of my personal dentist. He charges $350.00 for the same service. So, I immediately informed my dentist of the offer made to me, and requested that the same service be rendered for the equivalent cost.

Naturally, I had to make several phone calls to the dentist office, in an attempt to get someone to relay my request to my dentist. The phone tag went on for a few days. The average consumer probably would have given up on the whole idea. Not so for Mr. Frugality.

Finally, the receptionist decided to make a call to the other dental office to gather information on the offer. Once she learned that the offer was legitimate, I was told that my dentist probably could provide the service at the same price. Apparently, it was too low to cover the cost of the supplies (mold resin, upper and lower trays, hyrodoxide gel). The receptionist offered to do the job for $100.00 for upper and lower trays. Total of $200 for the service. I countered by promising to call the other dentist to determine what one would receive for $100.00. I discovered that the offer was simply a home teeth bleaching program. Both the upper and lower tray was $100.00, no x-rays or special work was required for a customer to receive this offer.

Again, I make the call to my dentist office, to confirm the offer. Now, I begin to understand that the receptionist had not yet asked the dentist for permission to perform the work. Well, after the last phone call, I was told that my dentist wishes to retain me as a customer and would be happy to perform the work to keep my business.

I went in for the teeth impressions for the bleaching trays the very next day. Mission accomplished.

As stated earlier, not very many consumers would push the envelope. At worst, I would've had to go to the competing dentist for the work, I really had nothing to lose by making the request.
After the work was completed, I personally thanked my dentist for his support and understanding.

Where is your power ??

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    This page contains a single entry by AG published on December 17, 2004 11:22 AM.

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