Do You Need a Telecommunications Negotiator?

Author: Sean Fox

“Getting the most for your telecom dollars”

 

Telecommunications – voice, data and cellular – is a major expense and administrative challenge for
businesses of all sizes, including chiropractic offices. More and more practices are now looking
to telecom solutions to enhance their customer experience and comply with electronic medical
record (EMR) regulations.

Everybody’s Health is a growing Chiropractic Care, Massage Therapy & Wellness Center with 5
locations in and around Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. David Berring, D.C., the practice’s owner, has recently
deployed a Voice over Internet (VoIP) solution which ties all offices together through a series of
shared call paths. With the enhanced technology the practice can easily transfer or forward calls
between offices, implement a centralized appointment center and streamline patient records by going paperless.

In addition to landline services, Chiropractors are also capitalizing on new developments in the mobile phone space. Most Doctors will structure their account on a family share plan and allow employees to choose their own vendor. Both Verizon and AT&T have recently released “share everything” plans which allow 10 users on a single account to receive unlimited voice calling, unlimited texting and an allocation of data that can be shared amongst the users on the account.

Family members who have smartphones that used to average $70.00 – 80.00 for voice, data and texting can now have a plan for only $40.00 – $50.00. Another advantage to this new suite of plans is that devices such as broadband aircards and tablets can be added for only $10.00 – $20.00 per month per device.

Traditionally, companies procuring telecom services will query a few carriers to see what services and prices they offer. Most don’t put a huge effort into finding the best deals and often end up renegotiating with an existing supplier. As a result, they may end up paying more for telecom services than they should. This can put them at a significant cost disadvantage, since the difference between a competitive price and a best-in-class price can be more than 30 percent! That can add up, even for small practices with only a few employees.

To save money and free up staff time to focus on core competencies, companies in communications intensive industries such as healthcare are turning to third parties to manage their telecom services.
There are two ways a company can go: telecom brokers, also referred to as agents, and telecom
consultants. There are significant differences between the two when it comes to negotiating your telecom services.

Brokers work on commission from telecom providers and provide recommendations with no upfront costs. They generally work with various carriers and are paid by the carriers. In many cases they act as a single point of contact and also manage telecom services. The potential downside is that different carriers pay different percentages. For instance, if a broker is making a 10 percent commission with one carrier, but another offers a 14% payment, they may be skewed to recommend the carrier who pays the most, even though that carrier might not be the best fit for the business.

Independent telecom consultants also act as a single point of contact and can manage telecom services. Consultants negotiate with carriers and get paid based on how much money they save
their clients. The fees they charge are usually contingency-based, so they also have no upfront
expense and are motivated to secure the best deals. This carrier-neutral approach also lends itself
to objectivity, since they are not paid by providers.

Since consultants earn only a portion of what they save, there are no risks to the client. The consulting firm will either cover its fees through savings, or deliver a free validation that the client is getting the best possible deal. Either way, the client comes out ahead. Getting the best price for telecom can help your chiropractic practice boost profitability and focus on what it does best – serving patients.

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