Here are the rules of engagement with telecom carriers for ordering services should you wish to do it without a third party.  If you already know these tips and tricks then you are well ahead of the game and it could serve as a good reminder.

No Blind Date When it Comes to Choosing Your Telecom Carrier

Rule number one: Do your research on all prospective telecom carriers.  You shouldn’t ever solely choose a carrier based on their brand.  You have to make sure that you are aware of the strengths and weakness of the telecom carrier and understand how well they will be able to meet your needs. Segment your carrier base: In order to ensure that you are choosing the right carrier and creating a profitable partnership, segment the carrier around many different criteria. Write a list of essential and the non-essential needs for your business even before talking to a carrier representative so that you get a solution that specific addresses your pain points.  Otherwise, you may buy a solution that sounds good but won’t address your business needs which will ultimately be a waste of money.

Remember that time when you said this about that agreement? … No…

Rule number two: Make sure that everything is documented accurately from your carriers.  Us humans can sometimes remember events differently so it’s important to document everything. When you write everything down, you can use as a reference should anyone’s memory become foggy and forgetful. Using the document will help make your decisions accurate and prevent future misunderstanding.  After every conversation, when decisions were made, it’s extremely important to recap the list of new agreements to ensure that agreements were interpreted in the same way.  This goes without saying… but I’ll say it anyways.  For Pete’s sake don’t lose that document.  You will need that document to hold participants accountable should anyone happen to remember things differently.  Everything must be documented so that you may return to it and so that it serves as confirmation for what was asked.

Be diligent if you don’t understand how to fill out a form ask someone who does

Rule number three: Big costly mistakes can be avoided if the form is filled out correctly.  Messing this rule up can cause delays to your business as your carrier may not understand the order and be forced to ask you to fill the form out again which will slow down the ordering process.  In other instances you may receive something that you did not mean to order.  We’ve all been through similar situations at some point in our lives and it can be frustrating for both parties as participants may have to follow up on upset customers.  Let’s avoid that whole mess and get it right the first time.  If you don’t understand what the intended field of a form is, find the person who understands it and ask them how to fill it out correctly. In order to prevent mistakes from happening in your business be sure to encourage people who don’t know how to fill out the form not to feel pressured to do it alone and to ask questions.  Prevention is better than a cure.  Nipping the problem early will save you big dollars later.

This sounds easy, what’s the worst that can happen if I do it alone?

Rule Number four: Create processes that are easy to follow and clear. Healthy organizations grow in terms of acquiring new clients (while retaining the old ones) and more employees to satisfy the increase in demand.  Your objective is to take care of business by providing an excellent internal service to the growing employee base.  Sometimes when you’re new at doing something or not careful you can accidently miss a step of the process which can delay you from getting what you need for your business. IT is of utmost importance to document the steps of the process so you don’t miss any and add costs and delays to the order. Depending on how urgent your request is, it can cause you to miss opportunities for growth or it can cost you lots of money. Valid services may not get connected in time so then your business would not be running to its optimal level which could lead to not satisfying the demand.

Ordering from carriers can be tricky as you have to take more than the product in to consideration.  For example requested carrier services may not match the infrastructure of the building because only the service was considered and not the environment for which it will be placed. The building may not be design for the type of material used to connect that telecom service. Or another scenario may be that you ordered something from your carrier but you didn’t check with the security for the building. As a result in both instances the service personnel from the carrier would have to return another day to complete the job. It’s important to consider other factors than just the telecom service in general.  If you’re new then you won’t know which factor to consider and it can cost you time and money down the line. Which is why it isn’t advisable to take things into your own hands and to make sure you have a clear process and check list to counter verify if you’ve done everything according to the prescribed workflow.

If you’re new to negotiating with carriers then you may not have the know-how of getting the best rate for your company.  There are many things to consider such as: what is a good price for the service that I am asking for?  What are the prices that competitors are paying? Nobody wants to be bound to a bad deal. Nobody wants to pay more for a product/service when they could get it at a cheaper price. Yes, your company’s procurement team may be good at negotiating for goods/services for its industry but it does not mean they are knowledgeable to procure wireline and wireless services. In such cases it would be best to contact a third party who could help smooth things over between you and the carrier.

Carriers only want to serve you and will give you what you ask for but sometimes in life what we ask for isn’t exactly what we need. Take for example ordering more landline telephone units for offices when there are telephone units that aren’t being used.  This can be wasteful and unfortunately, enterprises aren’t always aware of where their money goes in costs and it doesn’t have to be that way.  ICOMM specializes in providing excellent advice, understands the carrier ordering process, and is very experienced in keeping the balance between carriers and customers in check. We understand how to fill out the forms and will be able to tell you in cases where ordering new supplies would be a waste of money because you already have the resources available. We will give you the confidence that you are getting what you paid for by keeping both parties of the agreement accountable. For more information on what ICOMM can do for you click here.