Telecom invoices can seem designed to be confusing. Too often, companies end up paying for services they don’t need – and sometimes don’t even realize they have. Putting a little due dilligence towards understanding an auditing invoices goes a long way towards saving significant amounts of money.
6 Ways Telecom Spend Gets Out of HandTo be clear, the amount of money left on the table isn't chump change – we save clients considerable sums of money year over year by fixing some common yet hard-to-spot billing mistakes. Here are just a few examples we see on a regular basis.
- Under-utilizing lines. Early on, we take inventory of our clients’ phone numbers as they appear on invoices and audit them by calling each one. You’d be surprised at how many end up disconnected or ring endlessly without being picked up by an employee or going to voice mail. If the lines aren’t being kept for security systems or emergency purposes, then cutting them loose is a prime place to save money.
- Not keeping up with long distance charges. Suppose you’ve already picked the low hanging fruit above and are saving money by purchasing only the lines you need and cutting the rest. What about long distance service on those old lines? Too often, we see long distance carriers charging for service on lines that were disconnected long ago.
- Not getting the full credits you deserve for mistakes. If you spot mistakes like the one above, your provider needs to make up for it. Be sure to hold them to task and demand a credit for each one. Pay careful attention to any language in your contract that limits the amount of time you have to file a dispute, and make sure you are auditing your services often enough to never miss your window.
- Getting credits, but only on the cost of service and not on amounts charged for taxes, fees, and surcharges. It is all too easy to put these costs out of mind. They add up, however, especially in the telecom world. The Federal Universal Service Fund alone is up to 16.8%, and that figure will only get higher. If your credits don’t include the money spent on such costs, you’re missing out.
- Skipping regular rate plan optimization reviews. Wireless carriers are equipped to run rate plan optimization reports on your behalf. Take advantage and request them on a quarterly basis, and follow up to ensure that changes are put in effect. Even better, negotiate a contract that automates the process on the supplier side to ensure you don’t miss out.
- Not shopping around. Fixing the issues above will put your invoices on a more even keel, but can you be sure you’re getting the best rates possible? If you haven’t done so in a while, shop around by issuing an RFP. Armed with accurate market intelligence, let your supplier know they aren’t being competitive – and stay aggressive when during negotiations. They’ll try to stall and drag feet right up until your renewal deadline so you run out of time to shift to a more competitive supplier. Don’t let them!
Now Is the Time: Get Those Invoices in ShapeThese aren’t the only ways companies wind up paying more than they should, but they are a good start. The process of weeding them out and correcting them may seem tedious, but failing to do so means leaving a lot of cash on the table.
Rather than worrying about finding and fixing these problems in your invoices, a better idea is to prevent them from ever cropping up in the first place. Crafting a strong contract from the start goes a long way towards stopping any unexpected charges, and will make the process of finding them less tedious later on.