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8 Quick Ways to Reduce Local Phone Service Charges
Despite all the new and evolving business communication technologies of the 21st century (VoIP, Wi-Fi, Wi-Max, Bluetooth, cell phones, BlackBerry, etc.) most companies in business today still write a check monthly for a local exchange carrier for a 125 years. old technology – local telephone service – (sometimes referred to as POTS, or “plain old telephone service”).
Although it may be the same boring set of copper wires that connects to a standard telephone and rings when calls come in, the local telephone service portion of your company’s telecommunications bill is the perfect place to start your cost-cutting efforts. telecom.
Here are 8 quick ways to start cutting your local phone service bills. Check them out one by one as they expire and you could cut your local phone service bills by up to 10% or more.
1) Determine the right local service plan for your needs – then upgrade if necessary.
Many Local Exchange Carriers (LECs) offer three basic types of local service plans. The flat rate service allows unlimited calls within a local area at no extra charge. With metered rate service, rates apply to local calls based on time and/or distance and/or time of day. Message rate service which applies rates to each local call regardless of duration or distance.
Analyze your company’s needs through observational and personal surveys, then determine the most cost-effective local service plan. You’ll be amazed at the savings simply by implementing the right plan for your company’s calling patterns.
NOTE: When switching from a flat rate service plan to a metered or text rate plan, make sure you are aware of the rate at which employees are making personal calls. Also, consider any lines that may be connected to frequently used services, such as apartment door phone systems.
2) Remove unnecessary or unused lines.
Historically telephone companies have recommended and provided quantities of access lines sufficient to provide a P.01 class of service. This means that no more than 1% of all callers will receive a busy signal during the busiest time of day. P.01 is suitable for some situations, but it results in many customers having many more lines than they need.
Take inventory of all the lines that are being billed, then track them and determine their level of importance during daily business activities. Eliminate lines with phone numbers that cannot be identified, lines that ring without answer, and/or metered or text rate lines that show no use.
For more advanced phone traffic calculations, use our online phone traffic analysis software.
3) Remove unnecessary or unused line features and services.
More often than not, most companies have lines that contain features and/or services that are either not needed or rarely used. The problem arises when features are added to serve a particular purpose or employee, then not removed when things change. Over time, many features can be included in the lines and users have no idea that they are even available.
Your previously performed circuit inventory will help you determine the specific features needed for each line. Wire maintenance fees should always be eliminated. These fees can be as low as $6.00 per month per line!
4) Block expensive pay-per-use features.
Ending directory assistance calls, redialing, and calling back are nice and convenient for employees—but they’ll cost your company over time. These features can and should be blocked immediately through your mobile carrier. If any of these features are needed, contact your LEC and ask about a monthly fee for unlimited use.
5) Review the summary section of your bills each month.
Nothing can take the place of a well-designed and systematic telecom audit of your entire telecom department. However, a quick monthly scan of the summary section of your local phone bills will sometimes yield “golden nuggets” of savings.
Common problems include: involving more than one long-distance carrier (collision), bogus Internet rates (throttling) from companies other than your ISP, and directory listings that are not listed. These fees can go as high as $29.95.
To maximize savings, review each bill monthly. The bogus charges will continue month after month until they are removed. And don’t be surprised if they magically reappear 2-3 months after being removed from a bill.
6) Consider upgrading to a T1 if you have more than 20 lines.
For smaller businesses, installing a T1 line in your PBX system can reduce your local phone charges. A T1 can be cost-effective because it combines multiple outgoing lines into a single digital line that runs from your office to the LEC’s central office. The T1 can replace up to 24 POTS lines in your PBX. No one will notice a difference, except maybe the person paying the bills. In addition, a T1 can also hold data.
7) Collect customer service data (CSR) from your LEC for a more detailed analysis of local service.
A great deal of information can be found on CSRs that are not included in your monthly billing statement. They are an invaluable resource when trying to identify unnecessary services and unused lines. CSRs reveal the quantity and types of lines, their PICs, service elements, hunting arrangements, wire maintenance, circuit termination locations, directory listings, and a host of other esoteric information.
Getting your CSRs from LECs can be a painful and time-consuming process, but the effort is worth it in the savings and credits that are ultimately awarded. Some LECs will charge a fee for issuing CSRs, but with some persistence, you may be able to waive this fee.
8) Consider engaging a telecom consultant for telecom audit, bill management or telecommunications services.
Time is money. If your staff is not prepared to consistently implement the above tasks, consider engaging a professional telecom consulting firm to handle them for you. Ideally, a telecom audit done first will bring up many areas for potential cost savings. Then, a monthly invoice management program will keep your invoices clean and free of those pesky recurring errors.
At TelCon Associates, we have structured our consulting services for maximum savings to the client without risk. We place our emphasis on detail, timeliness and a high level of personal service to our clients.
So get to work on reducing those local phone bills. You’ll be glad you did.
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