business phone and internet Comparing proposed pricing to your total costs:  Taxes and surcharges can range between 17 and 25%.  If your monthly service charges amount to $500 per month and the taxes and surcharges in your area are 20%, your bill would total $600 a month.  If a competing sales rep offered a monthly rate of $525 and in your head, you compared that amount  to the $600 you were paying each month, you’re going to be upset when you receive your first bill and it’s for $630.  Figure that every quote you receive for business phone and internet services does not include taxes and surcharges and compare the quoted amount to the Total Monthly Services line item on your bill.

Not involving your Phone System and IT vendors when you’re ordering new or replacement telecom services.  Almost every phone and internet service installation requires the involvement of your phone system and IT vendors.  Typically, those people will need to be onsite for an hour or two on the installation date.  Your IT and phone system vendors should be included in all carrier installation correspondence, so they understand the services you’re implementing and will be prepared at the time of installation.

Tacked on fees:  Many smaller telecom providers attach ambiguous fees to their bills.  They use terms like “Administration Service Fee” or “Network Access Assessment” and bury them in the Other Charges and Fees section of their bills.  These fees can range from $25 to $75 a month and won’t be waived.  They’re almost never disclosed at the time of sale.  The only way you can determine if such fees exist is to ask for an existing customer’s bill copy.  If the sales rep you’re dealing with responds that he or she can’t provide something like that due to privacy laws, ask that person to black out the business name or provide you with a reference from an existing customer.

Rely on the advice you receive from your sales rep:  You’re an expert at what you do, not telecom.  Initial training programs for telephone company employees can range between 2 and 15 weeks.  Typically, they receive ongoing training, as well.  The technology is complicated and difficult to understand.  Utilize your IT staff or your Phone and IT vendors, if you don’t have IT staff, when you’re considering implementing a new technology or service provider.

Auto Renews:  Almost every internet service contract includes an auto renew and some require 60 days notice.  If you’re unaware of its existence and miss the window to provide notice, your flexibility and leverage are gone.  If that happens, you’ll be at your provider’s mercy.  They might offer a price reduction but it would never equal what you could achieve if you were free to shop.

Don’t ask, don’t tell: All sales reps adhere to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” philosophy.  Sales people don’t make a habit of throwing up hurdles for their customers to jump over to purchase their services.  If you don’t ask, they won’t tell.  Here’s an example: The sales rep works for a cable company and hears his or her customer mention a possible relocation.  Cable companies operate in franchised areas, meaning they can only offer their services in specific regions of a city.  They also have spotty service in their franchised areas.  Many cable companies won’t let you out of your contract even if you move to a location that falls outside of their service area or they can’t service.  But if you don’t ask the cable company sales rep if there are any circumstances when they will let their customers out of their contract or what might happen if you move to a location that they can’t service, the rep will probably keep mum.

Why deal with carrier sales reps when you there is another way?  CarrierBid telecom consultants work for you, not the carriers, and will always put your company’s best interests first.  Contact CarrierBid today for free consultation.

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