Lowering your telecom expenses boils down to implementing two different telecom cost reduction strategies. The first strategy is to audit your current telecom bills to find mistakes and billing errors.
The second step, more long term, is that you need to negotiate for better contract terms.
Let’s take a closer look at both of these strategies and help you to lower your company’s telecom expenses for both the long and the short term.
The Path to Lower Telecom Expenses
Understanding your telecom bill is the first step to lower telecom expenses. Once the informational playing field is leveled you will be able to lower your current bill and be prepared to effectively negotiate with your carrier over your telecom rates.
Tips to Understanding Your Telecom Invoice
Understanding Telecom Acronyms
The telecom world is full of acronyms that often appear to look like a conglomeration of mismatched letters and numbers, such as DSL, DS3, ISDN, PRI, and MPLS. If you’re unsure of the meaning of an acronym that is featured on your telecom invoice, take to your favorite search engine to research its meaning.
If you don’t find a solution by performing a general search, visit your telecom vendor’s website. Vendors usually have a section on their website that breaks down the terminology that they use, including acronyms and codes. This is especially important to explore if a telecom vendor uses an acronym that is specific to their company or customized for your company and invoice.
Search Your Telecom Vendor Online Account
Your telecom vendor should provide a brief tutorial on their website to help you decipher and understand your telecom invoice, and the services that you’re being provided. Take this opportunity to take part in any tutorials, and read through any accompanying information. Taking advantage of these resources will be of great value to understanding telecom services. You will also have a better chance of pinpointing errors or discrepancies in your telecom invoice.
Contact Your Carrier’s Customer Service
Verbal communication can be the key to truly understanding your telecom invoice. Contact your customer service and support center to ask any questions you may have to gain clarification about your invoice. Be direct and make sure that you have a firm understanding of your telecom services and your current invoice before you end your call.
After performing research and engaging with your telecom customer service and support, you should have some clarification on your invoice and a better understanding of your monthly fees. Understanding telecom services and industry jargon helps you understand your invoice and protects you from being overcharged for telecom.
Gathering the information you need to bring some competitiveness back to your telecom rates may take some time but your savings will be significant. First, review all of your services and get a firm understanding of your current pricing and contract status. Your carrier’s service department should be able to help you with this step.
Once you have a solid understanding of your bill, you need to review your services.
Employing these simple steps will ensure your company doesn’t overpay for telecom services and allows you a competitive edge on your competitors.
Reviewing Your Telecom Services
Is your company fully utilizing the services that your company is being charged for monthly? Are you noticing irregularities in your telecom billing? Keep a watchful eye on your telecom invoices to ensure that you’re being billed fairly and equitably.
Is Your Company Getting the Best Telecom Pricing?
The telecom market is highly competitive, and current rates often go unpublished. Shop your telecom service needs to competing vendors to make sure your company is receiving optimal pricing. Telecom vendors often provide incentives, discounts, and promotions that could save your company money in the short-term, and in the long-term.
Explore Telecom Bundling and Technology Upgrades
Telecom vendors offer bundling, which groups similar or complementary services into a specific package. Don’t be timid to ask telecom vendors to compile a bundled telecom quote for all of the applicable services that you currently utilize. Further, if your company uses older telecom technology, request that vendors provide a quote including upgraded technology. Older technology actually costs your company more money to maintain than implementing a new standard in technology.
Stay Current with Telecom Options
Once your telecom solutions have been put into place, your work does not stop there. Make sure that you and your company stay abreast of telecom industry trends and advancements. Staying on the cutting edge and playing a proactive role in defining new telecom opportunities will allow your company to not only remain at the pinnacle of telecom advancement, you will also do your company a favor by staying a step in front of your competitors.
Once you have a clear understanding of your invoices, compare them to your original contract. Are there any errors on your bills? Is the quoted rate in the contract, still the rate you are being charged? Sometimes telecom carriers only guarantee your discounts and slowly raise your net rate. Are there any antiquated or obsolete services on your bill? Do you still use these services? Is there a newer, more efficient technology that can serve you better and lower your costs?
Getting answers to these questions will help you to significantly lower your current monthly telecom bill. You will need to stay proactive and persistent, working with your vendors to ensure continued telecom savings.
The Second Key To Success:
Improve Your Long Term Telecom Contract
The second stage in your strategy to lower your company’s telecom expenses is to gain enough leverage to negotiate a favorable contract. You will save large sums over the course of your contract if you are able to structure it in a way where you have leverage over the carriers.
There are 3 main ways to gain this leverage in your telecom contract. Once you are able to implement them, you will be able to gain an advantage over your carrier.
1. Your carrier does not want you to have coterminous expiration dates. Staggered contract end dates makes it so you are never able to move all of your services at once. This means you are much less likely to change carriers and gives all the leverage to the carrier.
2. Your carrier wants your total monthly spend to be “committed” under Contract. This makes it impossible for you to move any services away from them as you will be charged the full minimum, regardless of your actual usage. If you can get your minimums down to around 40% of your actual spend, then you will have some leverage.
3. Your carrier wants you to have a monthly commitment, not an annual commitment. With an annual commitment you may satisfy your commitments half way through the year meaning you can renegotiate rates or change carriers much more quickly than if that same commitment is distributed monthly.
3 Telecom Contract Negotiation Tips
Know Your Price Points
Do you even know what you’re paying for? Is the contract that you have the right one for your business? A shrewd telecom salesperson will be able to talk an ill-informed individual “up” to a service plan which may be more than what you really need. If there are lower price points which are more catered to your telecom usage than it makes a lot of sense to find out as much as you can about them.
Know Your Telecom Fees
Are you getting zapped with overage fees, usage fees or other meddling little fees on your telecom contracts? A thorough analysis of your statement may raise some red flags for consistent fees which may be avoided by taking on a different contract. If you see redundant fees and you’re not sure why you are continually charged them, bring this up to a customer service agent and ask them point blank how to get rid of these fees.
Know Your Promotions
Drill down deep and find promotions that they are offering, promotions they used to offer, and even promotions that their competition is offering. If you can find specific details about these promotions you may be able to get an individualized plan that suits your needs, and if you mention the competition they may be willing to adjust what they offer.
It’s important to know the ins and outs of your telecom contracts. It’s also vital that you’re not led around by the service providers. Make your telecom company work hard for your business. The more you know, the more leverage you have and the better you can negotiate.
The Key to Your Company’s Telecom Spend
Having both a short and long term focus on lowering your company’s telecom spend is the key to success. Carriers know that their invoices are confusing and that switching telecom vendors can be an arduous process. But don’t let them rest on their laurels with that knowledge. Challenge your carrier by consistently examining your bill and comparing it to your original contract. Get leverage over your carrier by achieving coterminous expiration dates and getting an annual commitment of 40% of your telecom spend.
When you achieve these goals you will be able to effectively understand your telecom and be able to negotiate for the lowest rates possible.
The competitiveness of today’s business climate is quite evident. Price comparisons between businesses are often the choice differentiators for consumers, so it’s imperative that your company’s operating expenses are as trim as possible. One of the major avenues you can explore to reduce your monthly costs is by examining your telecom invoice via a telecom audit. Not only are telecom invoices often riddled with errors, your company may be paying for services that you’re currently not employing.
Telecom ranks near the top of the list for company expenses. If you are unclear about what your company pays for telecom services, you are probably being overcharged. Worse, you could be paying for services that you don’t even use.
Take control of telecom confusion by gaining a thorough understanding of your telecom invoices and contracts. This helps ensure that your company is being billed properly and fairly. Simply by focusing on these 2 main areas, you are liable to save thousands of dollars annually.
[author_bio username=”Ken” avatar=”yes” name=”yes”]