Can you be too trusting of your telephony provider?

This might not be very surprising, but Telecommunication usually has one of the lowest levels of customer satisfaction scores by industry. There are a few common criticisms we tend to hear:

  • Complicated bills;
  • Hidden fees;
  • Unhelpful customer service;
  • Long lock-in contracts with painful exit fees; and
  • Complex pricing plans leaving you with no clue if you’re getting the best deal.

There definitely seems to be an underlying feeling of mistrust between Telecommunication providers and their customers. But a lot of us tend to trust our providers anyway – is this a mistake?  There can be many pitfalls of being too trusting, and one of my prospective clients had to find out the hard way. Here’s his story…

Finding out the hard way

We were looking my prospective client’s previous phone bills to get a sense of the telephony capacity and usage required by his business when I noticed that he was being billed for not one, or two, but SIX unutilised phone lines.

He had previously complained about needing more capacity in his current system, so it seemed odd that he had 6 out of 12 lines lying completely unused. I pointed this fact out to him. He looked even more confused than I was, he replied, “I don’t know. Everything should be utilised. That’s how it was supposed to be set-up four years ago.”

“So you haven’t checked the bill in over 4 years?” I pressed.

“Well, no, did I need to?” He replied.

It was obvious that he trusted his telecom provider and never thought to check, let alone challenge any bill he received.

I decided to dig deeper sifted through more of his previous bills. I could be jumping to conclusions, and this could just be a one-off mistake – but my fears were confirmed – the previous bills told the same story. There stood the additional charges for the 6 unutilised phone lines.

Still puzzled, I asked my client to take me to his server room so that I could check his telephony infrastructure. There I started counting the number of lines actually plugged into the system. “1…2…3…4…5….6… where are the rest of them?”

We continued the investigation by calling all 6 of the unused phone lines. 5 out of 6 of the numbers go answered. And the last one? It had already been disconnected. My client was noticeably, and understandably, annoyed.

He had been charged almost $200 every month for the last 4 years for services that were never actually delivered completely. That’s a whopping $9,600 he could have saved!

So who’s at fault? It could’ve been an overzealous salesperson who sold him something he never needed. Or perhaps it was the technician who didn’t set up the lines correctly. Or it could be my client’s fault, for not checking his bill for the last 4 years. It’s difficult to know.

What can you do to prevent this happening to you?

In this day and age, the onus of ensuring we get a fair deal seems to lie with the customer. If we don’t meticulously check our bills, question suspicious charges, and challenge the big telcos, they might get away with it.

But we can also choose providers who are more upfront and transparent about their billing and charges. Look for a provider that does the following:

  • Asks about your organisation’s specific telephony requirements;
  • Concentrates on providing you with a solution, rather than just making a sale;
  • Is willing to customise their offering to suit your needs;
  • Provides clear and easy-to-understand phone bills and detailed usage reporting.

At This Solution, we regularly provide our clients with a transparent billing process and in-depth reports on their telephony usage – so you can avoid being charged for services you don’t use. If that’s how you’d like to see things being done in your business, get in touch with Vishal on 1300 07 06 05.

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