As a small business, it may seem a lot easier and faster to choose a telecoms package based on price. As a business owner, you have hundreds of things to be getting on with and choosing a telecoms package is something which can be dealt with quickly.
However, there is a lot more to consider that just the price. All telecoms providers are different so there are certain things you must look out for when deciding which provider is right for you.
All telecoms providers are different. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a supplier that’s right for your business.
1. Is the supplier signed up to the Ombudsman scheme?
Make sure you check that the supplier has signed up to the Ombudsman scheme. If there is a dispute, this scheme gives free binding arbitration. You can find a list of members at http://www.ombudsman-services.org/memberlists/communications/. If they aren’t a member make sure you question why.
2. Don’t opt for a residential service
Whilst it may save you a small amount, a residential service will not prioritise you when something goes wrong. If you lose service for a day, how much business will you lose as a result? Don’t buy based on price because a residential service may be less, but it won’t necessarily be the quality you need.
3. False lowest price promises
Lowest price promises made by suppliers are often false. They may seem cheap on the surface, but that’s because there are hidden costs which will inflate your final bill. Some hidden costs may include:
- Call set up fees
- Call durations being rounded up to the nearest minute.
- Minimum call charges.
4. Illegal automatic renewals
Make sure you check when the contract runs out. Auto-renewal of phone contracts for small businesses has been banned, but there are still some suppliers who will try and get away with it.
5. Price rises
Once the contract has started, make sure you keep an eye out for any price rises. As a small business, you should be given notice of price rises and the option to cancel within 30 days.
Many suppliers hide the notifications in bills or on their website so it is vital you check the bill against the contract regularly. Make sure you insist on an additional contract clause that states if you spot there has been a price rise, you have the right to cancel.
6. Avoid signing long-term deals
You don’t know where your business is going to be in a few years time so it’s best to avoid signing a long term contract even if it does seem like the cheaper option.
7. Mobile-only perceptions
Plenty of research has shown that having a landline makes consumers feel they can trust companies more than if they just had a mobile number.
Getting a landline is easy, cost-effective and makes your business seem bigger than it is. It also means as a business owner, you can separate your work and personal life more efficiently.
8. Check the reviews
Although supplier reviews can be a useful guide when making your decision, be aware that they are not as independent as they seem. There have also been instances where people have left negative reviews and later find they have disappeared from the site.
9. The cost of lost business
It’s a similar story with broadband. Don’t just buy on price. There are huge variations in contention ratios, network capacity, quality of ‘free’ routers and customer service between providers.
So you may be paying less, but if you lose internet or phone connection for a day and a provider takes longer to send someone to fix it, how much business are you going to lose?
By keeping all of these things in mind, you can find the right telecoms package for your business at the right price, with no hidden fees.