6 Questions to Ask Your Telecom Consultant
Every company at one time or another utilizes outside consultants to help reduce costs and/or help with managing specific projects. Telecommunications is an area where consultants can not only help your company reduce expenses, but also provide ongoing support as your company grows and your telecom needs change.
Deciding on which consulting firm to bring on board can be tricky. The choices are vast. Most firms are reputable, but the industry is chocked full of “fly by night” firms looking to make a quick buck by conducting inadequate telecom audits and/or hawking telecom services under the guise of being a “telecom consulting” firm. Before you decide on which company to go with, arm yourself with the following questions that will help sort the good from the bad.
#1 How Long Have You Been in Business?
This seems like an obvious and logical first question. Many companies fail to ask it, and if they do, fail to put a high degree of importance to it.
Deregulation of the industry in 1984 saw the beginning of massive changes industry-wide. It is safe to say that the changes within the telecommunications industry over the last 20 years have been greater than those of the previous 100 years. Hundreds of new telecom carriers were spawned during this time – each with their own systems and processes. Selecting a consulting firm that is established enough to have experienced these industry changes first hand will bring you a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise in dealing with carriers.
Choose a consulting firm that has been in business for at least 10 years, preferably 20 years or more. An organization that has been in the telecom consulting game for that long will have an excellent track record of success for their clients.
#2 What Area of Telecom Consulting Is Your Expertise? management
When interviewing prospective telecom consulting firms, be sure to ask them what areas they feel are their strong points. A prospective telecom consultant will assume that you have narrowed down your own specific telecom needs and/or problems that you want and need addressed.
Even though you may not be able to identify one specific problem, write down your general telecom concerns. For example: Are you looking to reduce costs through telecom audit? Does your department need to be more efficient with bill paying, moves, adds, or changes? Are you looking to upgrade or replace equipment? Are you looking for telecom training for your staff? Are you considering migrating to a VoIP environment?
These questions deal with different aspects of telecom. Once you have focused on your own specific telecom needs, it becomes much easier to match those concerns with the prospective consultant’s strong areas of expertise. The closer the match, the better.
#3 What Is the Size of Your Consulting Company?
The telecom “meltdown” and widespread layoffs of the mid-to late 1990s spawned many telecom executives to enter the telecom consulting field. Even customer service or carrier sales reps tried their hand at telecom consulting. These “one-man shops” may offer flexibility and individual attention, but be careful when choosing to trust your entire telecom department with them.