Controlling Call Costs

It is perhaps ironic that with the Ofcom consultation into mid-term price increases closing in mid-March, Everything Everywhere (EE) has announced price rises. Affecting those Orange and T-mobile customers on pay-monthly deals the charging increases are due to take effect from April and will equate to around 70p per month, netting EE some £52m.

Blaming rising costs on the need to increase charges which many believed were “fixed” the company has offered users the option of switching to a “Fix your monthly plan” tariff which will fix prices in return for an additional monthly fee of between 50p and £2. However this only lasts until the end of the contract.

Whilst consumers can derive some comfort from the fact that the UK still has some of the cheapest mobile costs in Europe, any increase in charges is of concern, particularly for those who use their phones for business. Luckily there are still ways of cutting down on business telephony costs and of achieving some measure of price certainty. For example, businesses looking to switch away from mainstream landline services and into internet telephony can generally benefit from an increased offering at a fraction of the cost.

When looking at telephone packages and systems, the key to success is to choose a flexible service which not only meets the needs of the business at the current time, but is able to grow as the business grows. In that way, businesses need not tie finance up in taking on an expensive suite of services now on the basis that they might need a particular service in the future. Nor will they face having to completely replace a telephone system in the comparatively near future in order to meet the needs of an expanding workforce or changing business patterns.

Simply by taking time at the outset to identify current needs and to try and build an understanding of the way in which telephony needs may change in accordance with the business strategy, businesses can improve their chances of selecting a telephony system which best meets their requirements. This review can also help to build an understanding of telephone priority. For example, are international calls or bulk landline calls likely to feature prominently, would telephone conferencing help to build relationships with suppliers and customers, or is service delivery of paramount importance in an organisation which relies on telephone connectivity?

Once you understand your requirements take time with your potential new provided to ensure that they are able to deliver the type of flexible package which you require. For example, the Callagenix try before you buy service means that businesses can take time to ensure that they have selected a package which is right for them before they sign up. And with services charged on a pay as you go basis, if business needs change and you need to change your phone package, it is simple and cost effective to switch services.

In fact, the flexibility which arises from using a virtual switchboard means that services can be taken as and when required. So there is no need to sign up for every service in advance, simply choose the ones you need and add or drop services as the business grows. Some core services such as answerphone and number divert may stay in the selection from the start with other services such as call conferencing or caller recognition being added at a later stage.

We’ll advise on the results of the Ofcom consultation into mid-term increases when it reports later this year. In the meantime, we’ll continue offering our scalable and flexible service with clear charging structures.

Written by Alison