Telecom is often viewed as time consuming and frustrating. This perception is spot-on if you don’t have the knowledge to combat potential Telecom Time Wasters. Companies often merge traditional ‘IT’ and ‘telecom’, which forces IT support professionals to absorb “telecom” duties into their already busy schedules. At first glance, “IT” and “telecom” look similar by design. However, they are quite different. So, how do IT support teams learn to maneuver within the telecom industry without losing valuable time? Simple. Keep reading the 5 Telecom Time Wasters and learn how to save time and productivity in your Telecom Environment.
Telecom Time Wasters - #1 Repair and Maintenance
There is no greater pressure for IT than an outage. An internal outage is painful, but even worse is the outage that occurs at the vendor or carrier level. You can expect long hold times, lack of proactive updates, and reduced maintenance staff to address the problems in a timely manner. Small telecom outages may take 4+ hours of your undivided attention. Large outage can take 8-10+ hours with trouble-shooting, tech appointments, equipment testing, etc.
Best way to avoid lost time? Online ticketing and live chat. Both methods give live updates from the vendor or carrier while allowing IT staff to multitask.
Telecom Time Wasters -#2 Billing
FUSF, E911, State taxes, Federal taxes, City taxes, PICC fees, contractual rates and charges... Which are applicable on your bill? How do you know if your bill is accurate? Around 60% of all telecom bills have some kind of error on them, MONTHLY. On average, errors of around 3-15% are found on a standard audit. If errors are found, better block out a good chunk of time to get them resolved. Plan on 1) an initial call and information intake 2) another call as the issue is passed on to the correct team for processing 3) yet another call to follow up on the first two calls 4) one more call after that to confirm resolution. Add into the equation standard call center hold times for each interaction and you are looking at quite a time commitment.
Best way to avoid lost time? Once again, online ticketing is the best way to go if you handle these issues in-house. If you want to remove this complicated activity from your plate altogether, there are many resources that can handle this issue for you.
Telecom Time Wasters - #3 Contract Negotiation
Contracts are a pain to negotiate even when you understand the telecom billing terminology and language. Telecom contracts contain passages that make no sense to anyone but the carrier and the highly experienced expert. Understanding how each section protects, or could potentially hurt your business is not a simple task. Once it is negotiated, there is a whole new adventure validating that everything from the negotiation is actually IN contract.
Best way to avoid lost time? Have an independent resource review your contracts. They are often cheaper than hiring a lawyer specializing in corporate technology documents. They can also make additional recommendations regarding the best way to leverage your contracts.
Telecom Time Wasters - #4 Order Negotiation
Once the contracts are approved, you have to deal with the order process surrounding the changes resulting from the new contract. This may be anything from a simple upgrade to a full network migration. In essence, this means lots and lots of time spent making things happen. Order outlines, planning, specifics, communication, process, timelines, meetings, implementation, testing and review are just a few of the action items that have to happen with any telecom order. Experience and exposure to the process, or lack thereof, can make or break any project plan.
Best way to avoid lost time? Get a commitment to resources from your provider. They are the experts. Let them do what they do - support telecom. Have a detailed, well mapped out communication and implementation plan done - in writing. Set task reminders for milestone commitments and hold them to those timelines. If the scope of the project is larger than what you would like to take on yourself, there are resources that specialize in handling these types of changes for you.
Telecom Time Wasters - #5 Lack of Accessible, Knowledgeable Resources
Let’s face it - in this day and age of limited resources, accessible and knowledgeable support is hard to come by. The telecom industry is understaffed with people who can translate the ‘telecom language’. It’s nearly impossible to get in contact with someone regarding your issue on the first attempt.
Best way to avoid lost time? Cross your fingers. If you do not have a dedicated carrier representative assigned to your business you are just going to have to deal with it. Remember, live chat can be a bit better with faster response times.
At the end of the day, the need for communication and technology is no longer optional, it is essential. When companies merge ‘telecom’ into traditional ‘IT’, valuable time is taken away from strategic IT initiatives and pushed into merged job duties. What can we learn from these 5 Telecom Time Wasters? That an outside, knowledgeable, customer-focused resource is essential to be the most productive in the ever-complicated world of telecom.