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Villains of The Telecom World

Whether you run a large, small or one-man company, telecommunications are the lifeline of your business and it simply can’t survive without them. For example, you need a telephone system to reach out to your clients and communicate with your employees and internet broadband to send and receive emails and manage your website or business’ profiles. Thus, having telecoms’ contracts for your business is inevitable. You must work with a service provider to ensure a good deal in terms of a quality telephone system and reliable internet broadband.

Unfortunately, many contracts are like a dark tunnel with no light in sight. They contain clauses and conditions that hinder the development of businesses, bind them to high prices and impose significant fines for early termination. In this article, we will highlight the villainy terms and clauses of the telecoms’ world and what you should avoid to get the best deal for your business.

1- Lengthy Contracts

Many telecoms’ providers offer a better deal for a five- or ten-years contracts rather than a shorter period. This might be a tempting offer for many business’ owners, thinking that they’ll be securing a good deal for their businesses for years to come and avoiding the pain of contracts’ negotiations in the foreseeable future. It’s important to remember that technology is rapidly developing every year and the cost of providing a certain service in future will most probably decrease. Having a short-term contract allows you to negotiate for a better service and the latest devices like handsets or routers at a lower rate.

Some VoIP providers, such as VIP VoIP, offer a no contract deal, in which you are free to use their services as long as you want with no termination penalties. This means that if, for some reason, you find that their services are not working for your business, you can simply terminate your contract. This deal is especially useful for first time VoIP users as they can experience the benefits and features of the system without the financial commitment of a 12 month plus contract.

2- Hidden Costs

A rule of thumb is that the cheapest provider may not be the right one to choose. Their cheap packages sometimes include hidden costs that you may have not noticed, such as setup fees, security measures, handsets’ price, product commitment and software integration. You need to read your contract very carefully and ask about any additional fees that might not be included so you can make sure that you won’t end up paying more than your budget.

3- Minimum-annual-revenue commitments (MARC)

Some old telecoms contracts might require a minimum annual revenue commitments (MARC), which is a method used to guarantee a minimum revenue for the vendor throughout the duration of the contract. This condition is becoming less popular nowadays and many new telecoms companies have stopped using it. It’s important to be aware of this condition before you sign your contract and if it exists, it should only specify how much money you spend with your carrier, not how you spend it.

4- No service-level agreements (SLA).

SLA is an agreement between the vendor and your company that specify the minimum acceptable level of the service that they will deliver. The purpose of it is to ensure that your vendor is committed to provide a reliable and stable service throughout the duration of your contract or they will have to deal with whatever penalties you’ve both agreed upon in your contract.

If a certain level of service standards from your vendor is important to the success and reputation of your company, consider having an SLA agreement to minimise potential risks of a low-quality service and maintain your customers’ satisfaction.

5- No Flexibility

You might encounter an unplanned opportunity that you need to invest in, such as merging with a bigger company, opening another branch or targeting new markets. You might also face unexpected obstacles and revenue shortfalls that force you to make core changes in the way your business operates. Your telecoms’ system needs to offer such flexibility to adopt immediate changes in your business without causing chaos and negatively impacting your business’ productivity.

It’s worth mentioning that VoIP telephony offer the most flexibility for today’s businesses as it doesn’t require physical wiring or changes in the infrastructures at your premise. You can increase or decrease the number of concurrent lines, add more services, setup any feature with no down time in your system. Learn more about VoIP feature in our article “ VoIP for Dummies – Part 1 and Part 2

6- Effective Support

Start-up telecoms’ businesses usually provide cheaper prices as they are looking to gain experience and popularity. This means that you might get a better deal price wise but what about the prompt and effective support when you need it most?

It’s important to make sure that your vendor provides high-quality support, 24/7/365. They should have enough experience to troubleshoot errors and resolve them with no delay so that your business can stay up and running as it should be. A good indicator of this is customers’ reviews and the percentage of their repeat customers. After all, no one wants to be a telecoms’ company first client!

7- Trust and transparency

It is important to have a good relationship with your vendor that is based on trust and transparency. This include accurate billing, clarifications of any additional costs and regular and thorough reporting. If you are dealing with a new vendor, we advise you to discuss these details with them before signing your contract. Inquire about the information that will be included in their billing and reporting documents and what additional points you wish to be included to ensure better transparency during the contract period.

8- Auto renew

Many telecoms contracts can include an auto-renewal term, which is almost always not a good thing and here’s why: You contract might include 50% discount and some free added features on your system. In the auto-renewed contract, the vendor is more likely to charge you the full price and the fees of the added features as their one-time offer has expired with your original contract. This means that you will end up with a very big bill that you might be stuck with until the end of the new contract, especially if there’s an early termination penalty.

Make sure that your contract doesn’t have an auto-renewal condition and that when it ends, the vendor will keep supplying you with their service and charge you the same price on monthly basis. In this way, you will have enough time to discuss a new deal with your vendor or shop around for a better one.

9- Termination Penalty

Different contracts come with different rules regarding its termination process. Some might request a minimum 30- or 60-days notification period, others might impose a penalty for early termination. Therefore, it’s important to ask your vendor about their termination process and dig into its details as much as possible; which person or email you need to contact? how long is the notification period? what steps you need to take before your request an early termination? and so on. Only sign your contract if you are happy with these conditions and have fully understood what it takes to terminate your contract if the vendor is not delivering to your expectations.

If you are considering a VoIP system for your business, learn why VIP VoIP is the best VoIP provider in the UK – a small hint: We voted “No” to the villainy terms and conditions!

Villains of telecom

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