There are a number of firms that offer to conduct a complete audit of a company’s business phone and internet service bills and services for a share in the savings they’re able to find for the business. They claim to be totally unbiased and independent because they have no affiliation with phone or internet service providers, like Qwest, TW Telecom, XO or Integra, and that they only receive compensation if they’re able to find savings.
The alternative to share the savings providers are telecom agencies that analyze a customer’s existing services and then shop them with a number of different providers. These firms replace outdated pricing and services with more competitive options. They don’t ask for a share of the savings they uncover because they receive compensation from the provider their client chooses.
What is the best option for a business?
Let’s compare the two models:
Data and information:
Both types of telecom firms have access to all the same data, in regards to their client’s bills and customer service records. However, telecom agencies representatives possess more industry knowledge because they place service orders and receive training and product information on a regular basis from the different carriers, like Qwest, AT&T and Verizon, that they represent.
Level of expertise:
Companies that share in the savings tend to be accounting firms; their expertise is in dollars and cents. Telecom agencies expertise is in telecom; they understand business phone & internet and voice & data networking services, like SIP, MPLS and Ethernet, and know how to establish networks that create efficiencies and lead to more savings.
Level of bias:
The fear is that a consultant might push their client in a direction that suits the consultant more than the client. The only true bias in the industry comes from the carriers’ direct reps – everyone else has multiple options to offer. You could make the argument that the share the savings firms are biased towards the providers offering the lowest rates, because that option would produce the most savings and ultimately the most income for their firm.
A share the savings firm will probably produce the most savings, which will then be reduced when it is shared. Working with a telecom agency will result in savings that you don’t have to share, and a better performing network of services. For instance, a telecom agency might be instrumental in helping a business implement a MPLS network. An upgrade to MPLS might not produce a savings but will help a business improve its efficiencies and increase productivity.
If the only differentiator in telecom services and providers was cost, then whatever firm offered the lowest prices would be the most preferred. But there are many differentiators and the cheapest isn’t always the best. You can save money working with a telecom agency and you don’t have to share it. Most of the share the savings firms offer an hourly rate option but why pay anything for an audit? If part of the savings process requires a carrier change, the new carrier is going to pay someone. Why not let the carrier pay for the agency’s time and effort, and truly maximize your savings?
Agencies represent multiple providers and don’t care which carrier option you choose. Unlike the saving sharers, price wouldn’t be the only factor emphasized. Telecom agencies provide their clients a side by side comparison of their best options, that details what features and services are included, for what price.