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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Telecom Audit

In this ever changing economy, the nation is seeking freedom from financial burden, release from painful debts and security in the workplace. As we travel down a road of unparalleled oddities, we need to refocus our visions, models and core strengths in Telecommunications, in a different direction for our customers.

Focusing on the Telecom Audit, there are many broad practices which should become fine tuned and refurbished. An audit isn't just a onetime occurrence that sparks possible migration to other carriers, contract renegotiations or increase in spend (in some cases). Develop and market your business as a Customer Care Organization focused on inventory management and cost reduction for your customer. Become their true, single point of contact by engaging with them on a higher level.

The Telecom Audit should be focused on these core items:
* location/inventory management
* validity of contract vs. tariff vs. invoice vs. customer service records
* taxation compliance
* terms and condition clauses
* validity of packages / grandfathered products
* terms of service
* technology changes
* historical review back 24 months

The list can continue, but you understand that the review is more than an apples to apples MRC review, rather an apple to fruit salad list of items. This requires further digging that could result in savings and credits for the customer. Derived from the savings and credits, consider the fee for the time associated with conducting the audit and how that should be negotiated with the customer. Billing errors can occur on any carrier invoice, with any size business, so don't leave out your small to medium sized customers. Also consider the language of the agreement you negotiate to ensure your time is accurately compensated. We can work with the agent to craft the agreement so your fees don't end up higher than the recovery.

We have worked with Agents, Brokers and Business Partners on projects with spend from as small as $1K/month spend to $3M/month spend, recovering an average of 15% on billing errors in historical audits, optimization for long term savings, and inventory management. At times, credits can go back as far as two years, depending on the terms and conditions with the carrier.

We recommend outsourcing the service to companies specifically trained in how to implement a full granular audit. They will know what to look for, how to project and manage the changes, renegotiate contracts, manage inventory and recover credits for your customer. Logically, if your team isn't trained on how to perform a thorough granular audit, it makes since to budget time to bring in those who have practiced these skills for years.

Moving forward, develop a plan to revisit your base every six to twelve months, with a fresh vision of long term savings and credits for your customers. By presenting the extra added value of pursuing credits and long term saving options to your customer, you increase their trust in your service, delivery and most importantly remind them of your presence on a more frequent basis. Retaining those relationships are crucial to maintaining the stability of your base. Equipping your best business practices that offer proven customer experience options, are processes that any Telecommunication Consultant should consider.

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