By Tanya Seda, Chief Strategy Officer, Network Control
It has always been our recommendation to do a telecom audit before entering into carrier negations. Why? You can’t have leverage if you don’t know what you have, and that information is key to getting carrier credits in your negotiations. Another unexpected benefit from clearly understanding your environment (through an audit) is that your carrier account team’s responsiveness goes way up and carrier management approval cycles go much faster during negotiations.
As we help customers through their RFP sourcing efforts , whether purely domestic or international, one clause that always seems to rear its ugly head is billing. Recently we have started to see a return to agreement clauses that state something like “new rates become effective the second full billing cycle.” To put this in context, a delay of one month means the carrier gets to bill you another month at older and usually higher rates. When you hear them say “this is a billing system limitation” on their side and “there is nothing they can do about it” there is the opportunity to use the delay in implementing new rates as an opportunity for more favorable negotiations.
A key objective is to make sure you are not financially burdened by the carrier’s billing system. When we manage RFPs and contract negotiations for our clients we ask exactly when new rates will go into effect when comparing carrier bids or new contract amendments. It makes a big difference!
Having a detailed pricing model showing your current costs and new rates should provide you exact information on what each month of delay in implementing new rates will cost you. Having that knowledge will give you the facts you need to request credits from your carrier that might otherwise be overlooked in final contract negotiations.