Tame Your Telecom SpendingTelecom spending can be a very large part of a company's operating costs. Companies are always looking to keep their costs under control and telecom spending is one of the more difficult areas to manage.
Even with the increase in value and flexibility from new technology, companies have also seen an increase in their telecom costs. Mobile phones, remote network access and broadband solutions have simplified our workspaces, but have complicated the telecom accounting procedures.
Although you can't just forgo your telecom services to cut your budget, you can curb and control them. Here are a few ways to tame your telecom budget.
Assess Your Inventory
What do you have? What do you use? Sometimes you don't use what you have. Take an inventory of all your lines, services, hardware, mobile devices, and contracts. As you do this you may find that employees have left but you are still paying for their cell phones, or departments have closed and you are still paying for their phone lines.
Wireless devices can be a huge drain on your company pocketbook. Sometimes employees are given mobile devices that the company pays for and sometimes they use their own and are reimbursed. Organizing and setting up a company policy for wireless devices takes time but can save you money in the end.
Audit Your Bills
Check your contracts and see if the pricing in the contract matches the pricing on your bill. If not, you'll need to apply for a credit for those overcharges. If you were promised a refund or rebate in your contract, make sure you received those. If you've done a complete inventory, matching bills to the inventory is a great way to identify problems.
Assess Your Usage
Now that you know what inventory you have and that you are paying correctly for that inventory, you need to look at your services with an eye to how your company is using them. Is your company growing or downsizing? Don't just cut back to cut back. Look at the value the services provide to your company.
Employee personal usage of business telecom services should be addressed as well. If you provide perks like home broadband, business mobile devices and WiFi access, boundaries should be addressed with employees in a telecom company policy. Managers must take responsibility to enforce whatever controls the company puts in place.
If your business has multiple locations or if many of your employees work from home, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) might be a cheaper option. VoIP can connect offices and remote workers and could offer big savings.
Renegotiate Your Contracts
After you have reviewed your contracts and current usage, it might be time to renegotiate your contracts. If it's been a while, you might be able to get a better deal. Or, after looking at what you have, you may decide to consolidate or cancel some services. Carriers would like to have all of your business, so in consolidating with one, you may get a higher discount. Shop around to make sure you are getting the best deal. Sometimes, it may be better for your business to use flat rates and per-user or per-month services. This will give you a predictable monthly payment.
If it is possible, you many want to consider adding a "business downturn" clause when you renegotiate your contracts. This clause will allow you to renegotiate your contract if there is a downturn in your business, such as having to close one of your multiple offices.
Automate Your Telecom Bill Paying Process
Many businesses use multiple carriers for all of their telecom services. These carriers each send a separate invoice and sometimes they charge extra for sending a paper invoice. Automating your telecom billing and payments can save you money, both in internal processing costs and in staffing resources.
When you automate your billing, you can still have the opportunity to review all your charges. You will have access a variety of reports that can break down the charges by service, circuit, department, location, or carrier.
Consider Hiring A Telecom Management Company
For smaller companies, the business owner is often in charge of telecom spending. As the size of the business increases, telecom responsibility moves from one person to a group or a department.
A telecom management company can help assess your spending and inventory, provide automated billing and can negotiate contracts for you. Since they are familiar with all the telecom carriers, they will be especially helpful in finding you a good rate and negotiating the contract. They can even apply for refunds on your behalf for services that were incorrectly billed.
Dealing with one telecom management person is always preferable than having to deal with 10 different service providers. And, when you work with a management professional, they will always be looking out for other ways to save money in your telecom spending, something you can't always do.
It's tough to tame your telecom spending. It takes time and effort. These days, cost cutting is a must and we are all trying to do more with less money. Getting organized, especially in the telecom area of your business will help you to see where you can cut costs and make sound telecom business decisions.