Ten tips to reduce your telecom bills in 2013

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Business folks may be paying more to stay connected because of all the separate bills and redundant services. The beginning of the new year is a good time to take stock of what you’re paying for, how much you’re paying, and whether you really need it. Since telecom is a recurring cost, you could be bleeding cash every month and not realize it. It’s the little things that add up and most businesses don’t even check their bills as long they are within 10% of last month’s. Remember that any economies you achieve now will accrue every month from now on!

Here are some steps to take:

1.) Check your accounts payable invoices or vendor list. We have found that many organizations who have grown over the years pay recurring bills automatically. Many are paying old telecom invoices to keep old or no longer used numbers active and have no usage on them.

This could be as much as $80-$90 per invoice, per month. Have a staff member call each vendor to find out what the invoice is for and cancel any accounts you no longer use. This alone can save hundreds of dollars in one year alone.

2.) Finding the right plan with your carrier. Most carriers have different plans based upon your calling patterns but don’t go out of their way to get you into a less expensive one. If you have multiple lines going into your business and most are incoming, don’t put unlimited calling on them. Pick a few lines that are for your outgoing calls and just pay for unlimited use on them.

3.) Cut the fat. Eliminate/cancel extra charges for features you don’t use or need in both wire-line and mobile services.

4.) Check on your carrier. Was your carrier reliable during the storm emergency or did they take weeks to get back up? You may be getting a less expensive service, but are down for long periods. Remember the engineers’ mantra: “Good, Fast, Cheap — pick two.” You can’t have it all. What’s the most important benefit to you: cost, reliability, speed?

5.) Check the financial stability of your carrier. There is considerable consolidation and contraction occurring in the telecommunications industry and some carriers will not make it. When they fail, their subscriber base is purchased by a new entity and any deals you may have been getting are off the table. Also, customer service tends to suffer as they try to absorb all the new subscribers.

6.) Which technology to use? Most businesses use a combination of mobile or smart phones, Internet (broadband), wire-line phones, VoIP phones, wireless data, etc.

Does upgrading to 4G LTE make sense or is 3G good enough? Is it finally time to seriously consider VoIP technology?

7.) Does your staff need smartphones? Save $15-$50 a month per phone for the data plan you now have. Use an iPod Touch for inexpensive data and messaging via WiFI and public hot spots and don’t pay for data and texting.

8.) Texting can be expensive. Use a free texting app such as GroupMe, WhatsApp and Nmibuzz using messaging networks such as AIM or Facebook.

9.) Use VoIP for out-bound mobile phones only. Reduce or eliminate the cost of calls on mobile phones by using Google Voice, Talkatone, Skype or Fring to make calls.

10.) Investigate prepaid phones if your calling pattern fits. They can be a very cost effective way of mobile calling.

Bottom-line

Lastly, have a plan or philosophy of what your organization needs to communicate more effectively. Maybe all you need is a few extra (or less) lines, increased broadband speeds and some smart phones. By consolidating your calling to one carrier you also may be able to achieve some economies of scale. Do the math; check out your alternatives, check the web, or call in a professional.

A happy and profitable New Year to all. Be well, be happy.