In his two decades working for various telecom providers, Schooley Mitchell’s Neil Allen focused on the development and deployment of voice and data solutions for enterprise and medium business customers.
Now the Peterborough-based consultant is able to offer his insider knowledge and expertise to help clients reduce their telecom and merchant services spend.
“In 24 years, I learned a lot about products and services, along with building solutions for businesses of all sizes,” Allen said. “Because of my background, I can make sure my clients are receiving the right services at the right price, which gives them peace of mind.”
He notes many businesses are still using outdated legacy equipment, and are often unsure what technology is best. He enjoys working with them to determine which solutions are realistic and offer the greatest value.
And when it comes to value, many people still don’t realize they are paying too much for their services. Sometimes they don’t know what is available, or don’t think they have enough clout to get competitive pricing.
“A lot of them are intimidated by the Big 3,” he says, of Canada’s main service providers. “They think once they get a service they’re unable to go back and push for anything.”
Since Schooley Mitchell has the leverage to negotiate with service providers, clients are relieved to receive lower pricing. Their stress is also lessened when they find out Allen continues to monitor their bills long after the initial optimization to ensure there are no errors and rates stay competitive.
“It’s reassuring to have Schooley Mitchell there helping them,” says Allen.
Yet some people think his services are too good to be true. He recalls one client who was skeptical at the start of their engagement because of negative experience they had previously with a different consultant.
They were pleasantly surprised when Allen was able to come back with recommendations that saved them $21,000 over three years.
“People are always happy when you find them significant savings,” he says. “It was a great opportunity to show them that they made the right decision to take a second look – it gave them confidence moving forward.”
Transparency is important to Allen, and he makes sure his clients have a complete understanding of all options. He prides himself on putting their best interests first.
“I’m always open and honest about what I’m able to do for them,” he says. “I know my clients appreciate that.”
Technology is constantly evolving and Allen expects more companies will migrate to IP-based solutions over time. With adoption of new applications will come an increased demand for connectivity upgrades, he predicts.
“Some companies are trendsetters and will dive in head first,” he says. “Others will take a more cautious approach, and will wait to see how it goes for their partners and competitors.”
Outside of work, Allen stays busy as a member of the Knights of Columbus and the local Catholic school board’s audit committee.
He is a dedicated family man and loves outdoor activities, including snowmobiling, four-wheeling, and travelling.
Now that his son has completed his minor hockey days, Allen has retired from his duties managing local teams. However, Allen, his wife Lenore and their two daughters are ready to cheer on his son in his Ontario Hockey League (OHL) career.
If he could give business owners just one tip, he’d tell them to keep an open mind about the technology available to them, but to make thoughtful decisions before moving forward.
“You always want to communicate more efficiently,” he says. “Choose what is right for your business but don’t overextend yourself.”