Earlier this month the telecommunications industry ombudsman (TIO) released a report outlining the common complaints small business owners have when dealing with telcos. From communications breakdowns to signing up for the wrong products and services, the pitfalls were many.
Why are so many businesses having issues and why are the telcos getting it so wrong? According to the TIO a majority of complaints revolve around businesses being signed up to the wrong product to suit their needs or to disruption to services, both of which can prove costly.
With the pandemic making a phone service contingent to business survival during the lockdown, the impetus to ‘get it right’ is critical.
“During government restrictions to curb the pandemic, many small businesses became solely reliant on phone and internet services to continue operating. Therefore, ensuring you have the right product to meet your business needs should be your first port of call,” said Judi Jones, telecommunications ombudsman.
“As we begin the return to workplaces, our guidance around working together to fix faults and having a back-up plan may be crucial at this time.”
So how can SMBs avoid the mistakes to ensure they get the rights service to meet their needs? These three simple steps could see you on the right path.
Opt for a cloud-based business line
While it is tempting to choose cheaper residential services, this means you won’t get business-grade support and the product may not meet your business needs. If you run a business you need a business line. This is particularly important at this time when so many small businesses are operating remotely. With a cloud-based business phone system, you can easily take landline calls on your mobile allowing you to work from home if needed. This is not possible with a basic residential phone line.
Transferring a service – no downtime is a must!
Another common complaint amongst small business owners was the disruption to their services when switching providers. Some horror stories even saw small business owners without a phone service for weeks at a time. With the ADSL and ISDN shutdown looming, traditional landlines will soon be disconnected Making the switch to a cloud service now will save you time and futureproof your business.
If you’re opting to make the switch to a cloud service your provider can manage the number transfer process for you to ensure continuity. In many cases, your phone number will remain active until the day of the switch over. Or you can also transfer numbers progressively – reducing the impact to your business.
Choose the right plan to avoid bill shock
Telco plans can be tricky. Make sure you read the fine print and check any contract or equipment lease terms. If you shop around you can find a better deal outside the big telcos. When navigating complex options, small businesses may rely heavily on the advice of a provider’s salesperson. Most providers said they had business-focused salespeople to help small businesses find suitable products. However, TIO complaints show small businesses are sometimes receiving poor advice or even misinformation about the product. This can lead to the small business signing up for services or equipment they do not need or that result in far bigger bills than anticipated. Always,, always read your contract and check for inclusions/exclusions.
If like many small businesses you’re relying on your phone service more these days, consider moving to an unlimited plan with local, national, mobile, 13/1300 calls included. This gives you the assurance of a fixed monthly cost and no bill shock. EOFY is a great time switch as many providers are doing deals.
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