It’s easy to choose a telecoms package based purely on price – what else is there to consider? The answer; a lot more! Not all services or providers are the same.
So, what do you need to look out for?
Start by checking that the supplier has signed up to the Ombudsman scheme. It gives free binding arbitration in the event of a dispute. A list of members is here: Ombudsman Services. If they aren’t a member – probably best to go elsewhere.
Auto renewal of phone contracts for small businesses was banned several years ago – yet many suppliers still try to get away with it. So check your contract – and make a dairy date to review the market before the end of your existing contract.
Eye-grabbing lowest price promises, especially for line rentals, are usually a false economy. The savings are more than offset by higher call charges, call set up fees, and call durations being rounded up to the nearest minute.
As a small business you should be given notice on any price rise and given the option to cancel within 30 days. But many suppliers hide the notification in bills or on their website. So, regularly check your bill against the contract and insist on an additional contract clause that should you spot a price rise at any time you have the right to cancel.
Who knows where your business will be in five or seven years time? So, avoid signing long-term deals – even if this helps you avoid upfront payments. This is almost always a false economy.
Don’t opt for a residential service. Yes, you may save a few pounds on monthly rentals, but you are losing priority if there is a fault. How much revenue would you lose in a day if a potential customer cannot contact you? The same applies to broadband – don’t buy on price. There are great variations in contention ratios, network capacity, quality of ‘free’ routers and customer service.
Get a landline number; plenty of research has shown that most consumers and businesses trust companies with only a mobile number far less than those that appear to have a landline number. It is now very easy and cost effective to have a landline as an app on your mobile; you’ll appear bigger and you can separate your work and personal life.
Check the review sites – but be wary. They can act as a guide but, be aware, not all are as independent as they seem. For example, Trust Pilot is owned by the same company that owns Verastar (previously Unicom). They were recently fined £200,000 by Ofcom for miss-selling, and negative reviews have been known to disappear.
The overall message is that communicating with customers, partners and suppliers is key for all small businesses. So, ensuring you have the right solution for your business at the right price, without any nasty surprises, is certainly worthy of management time.
About the Author
Dave Millett has over 35 years’ experience in the Telecoms Industry. He has worked in European Director roles for several global companies. He now runs Equinox, a leading independent brokerage and consultancy firm. He works with many companies, charities and other organisations and has helped them achieve savings of up to 80%. He also regularly advises telecom suppliers on improving their products and propositions. www.equinoxcomms.co.uk