Having a poor understanding of telecom expense management (TEM) can lead to crippling over payments, or unknown costs that drain your resources. Because of this, businesses turn to providers for assistance, but are often left wanting due to confusing jargon and a poor customer experience.
Unfortunately, many organizations are on 3 to 5-year retainers with providers. This means that without more insight, they’re stuck with them even if the service is poor. If TEM is so complicated, and many businesses rely heavily on telecoms to complete their day-to-day processes, customer service and satisfaction should be high but the reality is often different.
So why is this the case, and what can be done to improve the customer experience when dealing with such an important aspect of many companies? TEM is seen as a disruptive process by many executives, but it doesn’t have to be.
The reasons for low customer satisfaction
Gartner’s Market Guide for Telecom Expense Management Services released key findings relating to TEM and how it's being delivered to global enterprises. Gartner found that large multinational corporations (MNCs) with more than $1 billion in revenue made up two thirds (62%) of Gartner’s TEM-related end-user inquiries. These companies are using TEM to control cloud, mobile, wireline TEM and provide visibility across multiple vendors and countries.
However, they're facing challenges. Poorly defined processes and incomplete governance models from TEM providers have resulted in lengthened implementation times and hidden costs, causing much dissatisfaction. That’s not all either – incorrect reporting and a lack of data also leads to lower customer satisfaction. Getting telecoms right is key for many businesses.
Understanding your telecoms expenses provides you with opportunities to reduce costs and gain greater visibility across your entire environment. Dissatisfaction often stems from poor inventory and paying for services which are no longer required. A good TEM provider will audit and optimise to ensure that this doesn't happen and when it comes to services, the uncertainty surrounding costs is what concerns customers the most. They understandably want consistency and fairness, ensuring their costs are accurate against their contracts.
The importance of TEM to global organizations
At Cass, we’ve seen first-hand what happens when a global organization partners up with a self-proclaimed TEM expert that doesn’t have true global capabilities. Before working with us, a top 5 biopharma company was working with a TEM "leader" to achieve telecom expense management across their entire organization. While domestic TEM operations were sufficient, divisions of the business in APAC, Latin America, and Europe needed optimization.
The biotech company eventually came to us with two challenges in an effort to rectify what had caused their dissatisfaction – a company unable to deliver on its global support promises. The challenges were:
- The company needed a solution that would deliver actual savings, not simply recommend them.
- They wanted a service that could deliver as abroad as it could locally.
Global businesses benefit greatly from TEM. They see the biggest returns in optimization and enjoy streamlined operations and strategic financial planning – but only if the provider can manage global capabilities. In this case, they couldn’t.
Be critical of TEM delivery
Situations like this can be prevented. When a business is locked into a retainer with a provider, they need to scrutinize its ability to deliver global support. Organizations need to look closer at the TEM vendor before they act and decide if they’re right for their business.
Gartner recommends that TEM vendors are evaluated on their ability to drive process efficiency, performance, and cost optimization across all communicated-related IT. This includes both global and local delivery and support, especially when there is a complex service mix or limited control of the telecoms environment. The TEM platform’s ability to scale beyond traditional fixed and mobile TEM should be assessed by reviewing its capabilities for reporting, inventory management, and integration. Scaling automation shouldn’t come at the cost of reduced service delivery.
Many businesses believe that TEM begins with the grueling task of building a comprehensive physical inventory of your assets, but a good service provider will be able to garner a strong picture of your assets from authoritative data sources. Keeping your inventory up to date is also crucial, so having a provider that manages your entire lifecycle continuously is vital.
Deployment challenges need to be mitigated by identifying the roles and responsibilities in a governance model covered in your contract. An incomplete governance model is a cause of customer dissatisfaction, so ensuring deployment is smooth is a big part of TEM delivery.
How Cass delivers a global service
TEM is all about the service. Customer service is so critical in successful TEM delivery because businesses are relying heavily on it for all their communicative needs. Organizations don’t want to be misled or have hidden costs kept from them due to poor reporting. TEM brings with it expanded visibility over a business’ mobile ecosystem.
At Cass, we believe in being able to deliver and we believe in your ability to scrutinize that delivery process. When the global biotech company turned to us to deliver a bespoke TEM solution for them that performed as well abroad it does at home, we were able to utilize our in-regions to deliver on Cass' truly global service. We built a contract structure which matched their requirements as a global company whilst delivering local, in-region support in North America, EMEA, and APAC. Our analysts are based within the regions to ensure we provide local knowledge and expertise when it comes to vendors, contracts, and rates.
Gartner has observed a trend in enterprises seeking a holistic solution to their TEM delivery that covers all areas. We have had fantastic experiences with customers in the past in an industry that struggles with customer satisfaction.
Get the most out of your TEM
Gartner highlights some of the main factors that influence TEM vendor selection, including:
- Savings guarantees
- Relevant scalability
- Service Delivery
- Prior experience
- And more...
It’s crucial when deciding on a TEM vendor that you look closely at their delivery process for all these factors and more. Buying cycles have increased for TEM, moving from an average of six to nine months, to nine to twelve months. Buying earlier can prevent you from being locked into a month-by-month contract, giving you more time to select a vendor that will provide you with the best customer service.