Businesswoman Using Cell Phone While Looking at Paper

Errors, waste, and inefficiency are often hiding in plain sight on monthly telecom invoices. Taking the time to manage this important cost can mean significant operational savings.

Operations

Four Steps to Help Uncover Telecom Savings for Your Organization

  • Chase Goodwin
  • 8/7/2019

Is an unlimited wireless plan the best solution for devices that are only being used minimally? OK, now multiply that answer by the 400 devices on a company’s data plan — you can see how important it is to know when and how much those devices are used.

And then there’s the company that found out its elevator phones and fire alarms were equipped with long distance dialing features. Really. We’re talking about hundreds of elevators and fire alarms across the organization, costing $8,000 per month for a useless service.

What’s surprising is how common it is for organizations of all types to lose track of the technology they are using. Equipment gets upgraded, new services are engaged, devices are added, and the enterprise moves on to a brighter and more connected future. Turns out many are paying fees, taxes, and other charges that they shouldn’t be, and missing out on discounts that could save them thousands.

Here are four steps you can take to gain a better grasp of your organization’s telecom environment and costs. It doesn’t matter if you are in manufacturing, construction, real estate, retail, dealerships, government, financial institutions, agribusiness, nonprofits, or most other industries, the same basic principles apply.

1) Start with a telecom inventory

In order to make positive changes, you have to understand the current state of affairs. You can start by getting a clear understanding of what types of telecom services you are currently paying for on a monthly basis.

Comb through every telecom-related invoice you receive for a given month and compile an inventory spreadsheet detailing the provider, services, and the service address associated with each specific invoice. Now cross-reference your inventory with an internal property list that details the addresses of all locations where you currently operate. Make sure you’re not paying for services at addresses that are no longer active.

It’s not uncommon for an organization to move locations and not realize that services have not been cancelled or transferred. The monthly bills could still be coming and still being paid for months or even years. This might be an oversight, or it could be that you only thought you ended services through the telecom provider — it may take more than one call.

Now you can pinpoint any duplicate services that you may be paying for as a result of upgrades, any added features that are not being utilized, and any taxes, surcharges, and fees that are being assessed erroneously. What’s more, you’ll now have a clearer picture of your organization’s telecom infrastructure and will be much better equipped to optimize your existing telecom services.

2) Optimize your existing services

This might be a good time to consult with peer organizations to learn the services that they use. Just bring it up casually at a networking event, professional gathering, or chamber of commerce meeting. You could also host meetings with different telecom providers to get a better understanding of the pricing options available in the market.

By collaborating with your peers, you have the opportunity to uncover cheaper plans that are unpublished and unavailable to other customers, unique rate structures, and promotional discounts that you can apply to your accounts. By hosting meetings with providers, you are gaining access to current market conditions and catching a glimpse of what to expect in the future. You might even get better pricing when providers learn that you are talking with their competitors.

3) Follow through with implementation

Work with your telecom providers through online portals, conference calls, or bulk order email requests. In addition to cutting costs, you may be entitled to refunds for overpayments. Use your negotiating skills to get the best deal going forward. This process can involve some back and forth, so you’ll want to keep a log of requested changes and consistently follow up to make sure nothing gets lost in the shuffle.

4) Monitor on a monthly basis

Often times, organizations will work with providers to remove services, features, or fees on their invoices, only to find that these same items reappear on invoices six months to a year down the road. By keeping a close watch on your invoices, you will ensure your organization is only paying for the services that are necessary to your operations.

How we can help

You may not have the time or resources to dig into your invoices and look for inaccuracies or overbilling. CLA telecom consultants offer a complimentary preliminary assessment. With just one month of telecom invoices, we can forecast your savings and refunds, give you a clean bill of health, or direct you to a resource who can help. We can also save your valuable time by serving as a telecom carrier administrator to help you complete any moves, adds, changes, or deletes your organization requires.