Having a telecom contract is unavoidable for a business of any size. You must work with a carrier to ensure that you're getting the best deal possible for your landlines and devices.
We've negotiated carrier contracts many times with our clients – so we're familiar with fixing mistakes made in previous contracts (see notes on side). We like to look out for our clients, so here are 5 common mistakes we often see made during the negotiation phase:
Not having an "out" clause – The out clause is powerful and serves the best interest of the company, so the carrier is going to work hard to ensure the terms are in their favor. Paying a penalty for opting out early can be extremely costly, making it important to have terms that allow for "termination without penalty." With the correct language, if the vendor isn't delivering up to expectations, you now have the leverage to demand better service or discounts because the door is open for you to terminate the relationship entirely.
Locking in too long - It might be tempting to agree to an extremely long contract to save costs. Often, the carrier will give you a better deal if you agree to a 5-10 year contract instead of the more reasonable 3 years or less contract. Don't give into temptation – technology improves every year, and the amount of money needed to deliver on a service can decrease. Negotiating annually can allow you to adjust SLAs and key contract terms, and get your team access to new devices for less money.
SLA agreements that are not defined/in your favor – The Service Level Agreement (SLA) is designed to hold the carrier accountable. You need to make sure that the SLA in the contract is clear, defined, and allows your team to get the support they need in a reasonable amount of time. This puts the burden on the carrier to deliver on the services promised, while providing clear expectations for both parties.
No flexibility that accommodates for organizational changes – What if your company is part of an acquisition, and you're responsible for absorbing devices and phonelines? There needs to be language in the contract that makes the merge seamless from a mobility perspective, as not being prepared can cause chaos and a huge loss of productivity.
Being stuck with incomprehensible billing – It is important to ensure that the monthly reporting is easy to understand and comfortable for you and your team to manage. While negotiating the agreement, it is the perfect time to ensure the details you require in reporting, with examples. Before the ink is dry on the agreement is the time to set clear expectations.
Wouldn't it be nice to have a somebody on your side of the table – who has your best interests in mind - when it comes time to negotiate with the carrier? We at Wireless Analytics are experienced and understand the nuances when it comes to carrier negotiation – our negotiations have saved clients money on their billing costs before – and we'll gladly do the same for you.