Deal or no deal? Posted by Sally Bailey, 29 Feb 2016

Buyer beware - not all comms proposals are the same! It’s time to scratch beneath the surface...

There is a plethora of different providers, options and pricing structures in the business comms industry today. How do you begin to unravel the various options and ensure that you are offered the right technology at the right price?

Ashley Payne, Bistech’s Senior Analyst guides you through the potential pitfalls in our latest blog interview.

Ashley, you have seen hundreds of proposals from different comms providers over the years. What’s the first warning sign you look out for?

Well the first thing is, proposals are often presented in a way that makes them appear to cost less. When I dig into the detail of what is being proposed the costs are usually far higher than they might initially appear.

It’s a ‘smoke and mirrors’ tactic that can be very misleading and its essential to understand if you are comparing a like for like solution, and what is being included. More importantly, identify what is not included or hidden costs that could show up later on.

When a proposal seems really cheap, what are the key areas to consider?

If a proposal looks too good to be true, then it most likely is! Check that the offering entirely meets your needs. I regularly see providers proposing the most basic of services to appear cheaper, without proper consideration of what the business actually requires.

Are there any typical billing ‘gotchas’ you frequently come across?

Yes, one I see quite often is ‘inclusive minutes’ call packages. Providers will state that all calls are ‘free’ but they rarely advise of the out of bundle call costs that are typically charged at a premium to recover the profit margin that was lost in the free calls. If in doubt, my recommendation would be to ask the question!

Rented or subscription-based voice solutions are on the rise. How real are the cost savings with this type of service?

A rented pricing model can be the ideal option for some businesses, as it requires minimal upfront investment and can make it much easier to fit a new telephony deployment within a fixed annual budget. However, when comparing a rented model with a purchased one, you can typically achieve a lower cost of ownership, over the term of the contract, if the solution is paid for outright.

It is still possible to benefit from the lower cost of ownership of a purchase model by taking advantage of some of the very low lease rates available today (which can be as low as 0% in some cases). Leasing can enable you to benefit from a new, fully featured system without the need for a large initial investment.

And finally, what would you personally consider when selecting a business communications provider?

I would look for an independent company that offers transparent, up front pricing and a variety of payment options. It’s ideal to find a company that you can trust to give you a considered and neutral view on the options available.

Comparing like for like is probably one of the biggest challenges, as options can look very similar until you dig beneath the surface. A good telecoms provider will be able to help you through this and highlight the differences between the various proposals.

Do you need help navigating through the contractual quagmire? Bistech is an independent business communications partner uniquely placed to offer best advice and recommendations that are right for your business.

Talk to us on 03330 11 22 55.