What has Changed in 5 Years?
Way back in 2013 we published a series of blogs about the seven deadly sins of telecoms. A lot has changed in that time, so we thought it was about time for a refresh.
Sloth – Take Time to Check the Contract
Before you sign any telecoms contract check the length of that contract and what happens at the end. Many less than scrupulous firms have conditions that say contracts are deemed to be 60 months. Small print that automatically renews unless you’ve given them considerable notice often accompanies these contracts too. Remember, if your business is less than 10 employees, OFCOM has ruled that rolling contracts are illegal. Don’t fall into the trap or let your supplier tell you otherwise!
Telecom costs, particularly for calls, tend to reduce over time. Locking yourself in long term is highly likely to cost you more in the long term. Also check the cost of cancellation, some companies will charge you the full balance of rentals and expected call volumes, whereas others will just charge a percentage of the rentals. One recent client was threatened with three and half years of charges if they tried to cancel their existing contract, this prohibited them from saving money. Finally problems sometimes occur so make sure you understand what the target response and fix times are.
Greed – Cheap Headline Tariffs Do not Always save you money
Many call tariffs look very attractive when advertised. However, behind the cheap tariff, there often lurks hidden dangers:
- Are your call charges based on per second or per minute charges?
- If per minute, are calls rounded up or down?
- Is there a set-up charge for each call?
- What types of numbers are included within any bundles?
- What are the charges for premium numbers. such as 0844, 0845 and 0870?
- How are international calls billed, and at what rate?
We see lots of contracts with hidden tariffs, so be careful.
Gluttony – Capped calls and Bundled Call Minutes
Capped call prices and free minutes appear to be a great deal. For residential customers where average call durations are longer this may be true, but the average business call in the UK is about 2 minutes. At this level, because many such deals have a high minimum charge, it is likely to cost you more than conventional call charges. Bundles do sound like a good deal, mostly because of that “just in case” scenario that pops into your head. The question is then: how often do you actually use anywhere close to what is in the bundle and what are the charges for excess calls? Contracts with set costs per second, whilst meaning your bill will vary each month, can often be cheaper. In the past year we have only found one customer that it was of benefit. Want us to check your bills?
Wrath – Can your Customers Reach You
All businesses want their customers to be able to contact them easily, but how many achieve it?
- Do you know how many customers abandon their calls because of long answer times? According to Voice Response, Inc., about 34% of callers who hang up won’t call back, ever. Can you afford to lose these clients or prospects?
- Do they call you regularly from their mobiles? If so, using 0800, 0844 and 0845 numbers can deter them from making that call. they can be expensive to make from a mobile phone. Don’t forget that you have to clearly display the costs of using these numbers in EVERY location you advertise the number. There is a heavy fine from Ofcom for those who don’t
- Do you use press 1, press 2 to route calls, some customers will abandon the call when they hear that. Auto-routing can save you money on answering calls, but is there a cost attached?
- Do you know what marketing is generating enquiries for you? Did you know you can put different numbers of each type of marketing, so you can accurately track what is generating your enquiry calls?
- How can your customers get in touch if you cannot reach your office or shop due to bad weather or transport problems? In business continuity situations, how are your calls being routed to ensure they are being answered?
Using the right numbers and solution can solve all these problems, because if you don’t your customers will be calling your competitors. Are you confident your customers can reach you easily?
Pride – Review Regularly and Be Willing to Admit I could have got a better deal
Most business owners like to think they are good negotiators and think that they are on a good deal because it was a bit cheaper than the last one. However, the cost of telecoms have dropped dramatically in recent years and, like mortgages, there are always special deals available. Keeping track of the deals available is difficult. You want the best deals, so you are best off going to an expert. Let’s look at a few examples of how things have changed in the last 5 years and what they could mean to your telecoms costs:
- As workforces are becoming more mobile, office based staff are becoming less as a result. Have you checked to see if you can reduce the number of connections to your premises as there are fewer calls being made? A recent survey showed 1 in 7 companies had more many lines than they needed.
- Would you be better off just using mobiles? The cost of calls to and from mobiles has plummeted in the last five years, so it’s worth checking.
Lust – Signing Long term leases to get new technology and smart features
Many companies want to get all the latest features and think that the only way to avoid a high upfront cost by signing a long lease so they can afford it. However, telecoms technology changes about every 15 months, so signing a lease for five or more years could mean committing to regular expensive upgrades or consigning your organisation to working with obsolete technology. Also how many companies can accurately predict what size they will be in two years time let alone seven. They could be stuck paying for something that is far bigger than they need. Hosted solutions can give more flexibility without the long term commitment.
Envy – Buying features that you don’t need
It is often tempting when you hear a friend telling you about the deal they got or the new feature that enables them to work from home. It is tempting to think I must have that. However, many businesses do not stop to think “is there an even better way of using telecoms to improve my business that could enable me to leapfrog their competitor or find one more applicable to their business?”. Make sure all the options are evaluated before making a decision. Remember it is unlikely that one supplier has all the options.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our whistle-stop update. If you have any questions, just shout. Our number is constantly attended Mon-Fri, 9 to 5.30, so you can be confident you can talk to us!