Gary D's Take

The Questions You Need To Have The Answers To…

I was visiting with a friend of mine at his office the other day and the discussion naturally turned to telecommunications (imagine that!).

I asked him how many phone lines he had……he began to count the buttons on his phone..”Four?”.

I asked about internet, what kind of service he had…he replied “pretty good!”

You can imagine what kind of answer I got when I asked , “Do you have PRI?”

I was recently working with a company that still had Centrex (ESSX) service. The lines where going into their twenty plus year old Nortel 824 phone system…….?? Upon examining their phone bill I was astounded by the cost. They were using tens of thousands of LD minutes and their rate was 20 cents per minute! The billing increment was in 1 minute intervals! They were averaging $12,000.00 a month!!!!

The morale of the story is…….you need , no you MUST know how you connect to your customers and the rest of the world not just from a cost perspective (my example of the Centrex customer) but just because YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS STUFF! Imagine that you asked someone , “How much is your house payment?” and they didn’t know……????? You really must know some basic stuff about the most important communications tool that you have.

Here are the things you must know:

1. Who is our voice provider?

2. Who do we get internet from?

3. Where does our website live?

4. Is our email handled internally or is it hosted outside? If outside of our organization, where does it live?

5. What is the length of any contractual commitments we have to the above?

6. What kind of phone system do we have (if any) and how old is it?

7. What are we paying for these services? (remember to include everything in this list, not just the phone bill)

8. When is the last time we reviewed all of the above with someone who really knows how all this works?

If you don’t know the answers to 1 through 7, you need to get them. Then you need to act on item 8.