Vendor promises are a great thing. The highly-skilled sales person knows all the right language, understands your challenges and hits just the right price point for you to sign on the dotted line. You feel all warm and fuzzy about the fact that you’ve streamlined devices and applications to create a unified communications environment. All is well until that first bill arrives. The dreamy haze drops away and you realize you just invested in something that is not exactly what it seems.
Whether intended or not, the sales person told you what you needed to hear. He knows the benefits afforded with unified communications solutions and he offered you something better than what you previously had in place. What he likely left out of the conversation were the details that tend to lead to complex and higher-than-expected bills. It’s a combination of per-user rates, complex codes, communication tool charges per user and even line items you don’t understand. And it just led to you overpaying.
Now for the good and bad news – you’re not the only one. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) receives tens of thousands of consumer complaints about confusing bills every year. Wireless companies are held to truth in billing rules so that customers receive bills that include plain and factual language descriptions for services rendered. The problem is your unified communications vendor is not held to the same standard. Therefore, you have to exercise due diligence before you ever enter an agreement, and hold your vendor to the promises they made.
Here’s a little insight into what you should expect the bill from your unified communications vendor to include:
- Vendor contact information – of course they want you to know where to send payment
- Customer statement information – your account number, contact information, total amount due and the date they want to receive payment
- A summary of the account – the activity for which you are being charged, which is often the most confusing area on the unified communications provider bill
- Messages for the customer – that little area none of us read that provides information on updates to the service or planned network outages
Where your bill can get even more confusing is when the vendor offers flexible pricing models, such as usage pooling that rolls thousands of customers into a single price for VoIP service, or outcome-based billing. The latter can result in lower prices if volume increases within a given month, but the confusion caused by the bill could offset any benefit provided.
To better understand what you’re getting from your unified communications provider, educate yourself and then ask the tough questions. Demand transparency and if it isn’t immediately offered, it’s time to look elsewhere. Copper State Communications can help you in this process. Our experience dictates that we understand where the confusion lies and our commitment is to ensure what you’re promised is what you receive.