When the monthly bill for phone and internet services arrives most business owners or directors just shrug their shoulders and pay up.
Few take the trouble to query the bill because it is usually incomprehensible and understanding it requires time and expertise that is not available in-house.
For businesses in this situation we would like to share, in the paragraphs below, the step-by-step approach that we take when reviewing our clients’ phone & internet bills:
Step 1 – Dont Switch To A Cheaper Tariff
When attempting to cut phone and internet costs the first instinct of many businesses is to switch to a cheaper tariff.
However, that is a mistake and is the last thing that should be done.
Switching to a cheaper tariff usually means getting tied-in to a long contract which in turn could mean paying for services that are not required.
You should try and achieve the most cost-effective tariff only when you are sure that you have the phone and internet services that are required by your business.
Step 2 – Understand Your Bills
Phone and Internet bills are fiendishly complex and difficult to understand even for experts.
Consequently, most businesses take one look at the front page of the bill and file it away without attempting to check it.
It is vitally important that you understand each line of the bill so that (in the next step) you can correlate this with the services that your business is actually using.
This will often require a long call to your service provider and possibly some expert assistance.
Step 3 – Correlate Your Bill With The Services That You Are Using
This is where you determine if you are paying for any services that are not actually being used.
This step often requires a walk round your premises to identify the sockets and equipment that correspond to the services identified on each line of your bill.
Even if you identify a corresponding socket and service you should then establish whether that service is in use and is necessary.
For example, do you really need that fax line?
Consider also the examples below:
We recently had a client who had an ISDN2 service on their bill.
We discovered an active ISDN2 socket behind a filing cabinet, but there was nothing connected to the socket.
It transpired that the ISDN2 service had been used for the business internet connection before ADSL broadband became available.
However, the ISDSN2 line had not been ceased and consequently the business had been paying for a service that had not been used for at least 7 years.
We ceased the ISDN2 line immediately at a saving of £31 per month, but the business had paid at least £2,000 for a service that had not beeen used for many years.
We had another client who had an additional service charge attached to their phone line which we discovered was for maintenance of a phone system that had not been used for at least 5 years.
The maintenance charge was ceased and our client saved £20 per month.
Step 4 – Review Options For Doing Things Differently
To undertake this step it is usually necessary to have some expertise and an understanding of what is possible using different phone and internet services.
There can be opportunities for significant savings, particularly for businesses with multiple sites and for businesses that have phone and internet services that have grown in a piecemeal fashion over the years with each department or site ordering their own services.
Every business is different so it is not possible to set out how this step can be implemented, but the examples below should give an indication of what is possible:
Many businesses have phone lines that are used only for internet and do not take advantage of the fact that many internet connections are designed to share a phone line with standard phone or fax services.
It is even possible now to have an internet connection on an alarm line.
Historically, the person ordering the service was not aware of this and simply ordered a dedicated phone line to be used only for internet.
Unsurprisingly, the phone company would be happy to take an order for an additional unnecessary line.
In summary, significant savings can be achieved by ceasing all dedicated internet lines.
It is also possible for a single internet connection to support multiple VoIP phone lines with even more significant savings.
We recently had a client that had multiple sites, multiple phone lines and multiple internet services.
We reduced their phone and internet bills by over £450 per month by ceasing almost all their phone and internet services and implementing a single high capacity internet connection at each site.
These internet connection supported a multi-site integrated VoIP phone service as well as their day-to-day internet requirements.
In addition to achieving significant savings, their phone and internet service was improved significantly.
In this case our client had to invest to upgrade their on-site network infrastructure in order to benefit from the new services, but they were happy to do this as the payback was less than a year.
Step 5 – Ensure That You Are On The Most Cost-Effective Tariff
Only when you are sure that you have, or are about to implement, the phone and internet services that are required for your business should you takes steps to achieve the most cost-effective tariff and service package.
However, this isn’t a simple choice as you have to make sure that you are comparing apples with apples and that you are getting the quality of service and support that you require.
It may not be worth saving £5 per month if your chosen supplier has a congested internet backbone and poor support.
Click on the contact button to the left if you have a specific requirement or if you wish to discuss how your business could make better and more cost-effective use of its existing telecommunications and internet infrastructure and services.