Every business owner wants to cut costs. But before you go on a communication costs cutting spree, consider this. There are good ways to save . . . and some not-so-good ways.
As Forbes recently observed, “when the finance or accounting department drive savings, often times they do so without seeing the big picture of how cost cutting might impact employee and customer satisfaction as well as loyalty.”
Cost Cuts That Aren’t Worth It
If you do a quick Google search for ways to trim SMB communication costs, you’ll find plenty of articles. But that’s part of the problem. An alarming number of them suggest cost-cutting strategies that are just plain stupid.
Here are some of our favorite bad ideas.
All hail Skype.
Skype is free. Why not ditch your phone system and just use Skype?
We’re not slamming Skype. It’s a great communications platform, and it does have some legitimate business applications. But it’s hardly an all-in-one communications solution.
Even Microsoft, the software giant behind Skype, doesn’t tout it as a replacement for business phone systems.
Stop making calls of any kind.
Like Skype, email is more or less free and just about everyone has it. Why not use that for the majority of your communications?
There are a couple of major flaws with this suggestion. First, customers will still expect to be able to call you. Second, text-based communication isn’t nearly as powerful (or convenient) as making a call.
While great for quick, straightforward communication, email will never replace voice conversations.
Go all or nothing on mobile.
We’ve seen both ends of the spectrum here.
Some advocate bumping employee cell phone plans to the max and pushing people to be available at all hours. Others say ditch company mobile plans and do away with company-provided devices.
Both are hard hits to employee morale, and neither does enough to lower communication costs to be worth the effort. Once again, minimal savings with a whole bunch of new headaches.
Tips That Will Actually Lower Your Communication Costs
There are far more effective ways to lower communication costs.
That said, there’s no magic bullet. Each of these will take a little work on your part. But unlike the bad advice above, these tips will actually make a difference in your bottom line.
Be strategically selective.
“Businesses lose an average of $11,000 per employee every year due to ineffective communications and collaboration.” That’s the teaser headline from a recent report published by Mitel.
Here’s the takeaway in a nutshell. When it comes to business communication, more isn’t necessarily better. Instead of rolling out every available option, take the time to be strategic.
Eliminate solutions that don’t fit and make sure everyone has adequate training in the solutions that do work. You’ll cut communication costs and improve overall operational efficiency.
Take advantage of video conferencing.
Video conferencing isn’t a fad. On the contrary, it’s a powerful communications tool with several impressive benefits. We’ll highlight just two of them.
Video conferencing makes dynamic collaboration possible, even if team members are on the other side of the world. You still get all the benefits of rich communication – tone of voice, facial expression, the ability to share visuals – without having to wait for a literal face-to-face meeting.
And it saves money. Video calls are cheaper than plane tickets and delays.
Don’t shy away from social media.
Social media isn’t the best communication tool for one-on-one customer communication. But if you’d like to communicate to your entire customer base, social media is a quick, easy and extremely inexpensive option.
Plus, if you already have a social media presence it’s basically free.
Not only that, but most of your customers are already invested in social media. You’re meeting them on their turf. They’ll appreciate that.
Our final tip is the most important one. Nothing will uncover as many opportunities to lower communication costs as a full audit of your communication expenses.
Of course, few business leaders have the time or industry experience to effectively analyze their own phone bill. You’ll likely need some help with this one. That’s where ECMSI comes into play.
We’ve helped clients save thousands per month, and we’re confident we can help you lower your communication costs, as well.
If you’re serious about lowering communication costs, let us help. Give us a call today to get your free phone bill analysis. We promise we’ll make it worth your while.