As a small business, it’s easy to choose a telecoms package based purely on price. You have a hundred other jobs that need doing and surely a good price is what matters? After all, telecoms is telecoms; what else is there to consider? The answer; a lot more!
Not all telecoms providers are the same – so, what do you need to look out for?
Before considering anything else about the deal you are being offered, check 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: http://www.ombudsman-services.org/memberlists/communications/. If they aren’t a member – move on.
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.
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.
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.
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, it’s best to avoid signing long-term deals – even if this eliminates upfront payments. This is almost always a false economy.
Get a landline number; research has shown that most businesses and consumers 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.
Communicating with customers, partners and suppliers is key to the success of your business – whatever sector you operate in. So, take the time to ensure you have the right solution for your business at the right price, without any unpleasant surprises.