Overhead expenses are often considered the cost of doing business, scrutinized in tough economic times. Changes in technology and competition in the telecommunications industry now give more options with telephone service than ever before for the savvy business owner. Periodic review of your telephone expenses is a smart move to save on fixed costs.
Look at essential needs for your business in cell phone services. The cachet of the latest smartphones is undeniable for many, but weigh the expense of new phones and data plans against what you and your employees really need. Reimbursing staff for business use of their own cell phones may allow the best of both worlds. They can have the phones and features they want, while you cap the allowable benefit to an affordable level.
Voice Over Internet Protocol
Using computer-based voice applications like Skype and WebEx for teleconferencing can offer reduced costs for office-based staff. Calls between offices in different locations using the same software packages are usually free. There may be costs incurred purchasing microphone headsets, however, these can be inexpensive and represent quite a cost savings over multi-line telephones with the added advantage of being naturally hands-free for active typing and note-taking during calls. Voice over Internet can reduce or eliminate prime-time long distance calls between branches.
The fax machine became a staple of the business office in the 1980s and 1990s. Some photocopiers incorporate network-enabled scanning and printing functions, making them ideal for sending and receiving faxes through free Internet services like eFax and PamFax. A phone line dedicated to or shared with a fax machine is no longer required. A single-purpose fax machine is eliminated and long distance costs reduced. You can reduce the amount of paper used for faxes with an effective document management plan.
Lines and Ancillary Services
Each phone line removed represents ongoing bottom-line savings, so consider how much phone traffic you have and how many lines you need to cover. Consider the value of added-cost features. Automated phone attendants can further help call distribution and may allow you to reduce reception staff, though that may not prove popular with your clients if they experience long waits on hold. Resist the urge to pursue savings to the point your customers are inconvenienced or your staff experiences productivity issues.
The Michigan Chamber’s Utility & Telecom Savings program can help you to identify other ways to save money on your utility and telecommunications bills. Through our program, we are able to perform a thorough analysis of your utility billing, leading to past financial recovery and ongoing monthly savings.
The Michigan Chamber’s LED Lighting program is a practical, long-term solution to reduce your facility electric bills, save on maintenance time and cost, and make a positive imprint on the environment.