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Complete organization of your project by assigning priorities; define sequence in which each will be studied, then assign responsibilities to each staff member or person involved in audit.
Step # 4: Gather Customer Information
The next step is to gather information contained on two main sources: bills and contracts. Some situations may require examination of more specialized information. For now, we will focus on these two items.
All relavent bills must be obtained, whether monthly, quarterly, annual or intermittent. It is advised that 2-3 months of most recent bills be collected. Be sure to collect ALL bills that you have defined in "size and scope" step above. These may include bills and contracts from:
*Local Exchange Carriers (LECs) *Interexchange Carriers (IXCs) *Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs) *Directory Advertising *Leased or Equipment Rental *Maintenance or Service Agreements *Answering Services *Wireless/Paging Bills
Step # 5: Obtain Supplier Information
To complete a thorough audit or cost-reduction study, very specific information and data may be required from carriers and vendors. These may include:
*Customer Service Records (CSRs) *Nomenclature Translation (for USOC's or other items on CSR) *Rates/Tariff Pages *Duplicate Bills
Step # 6: Organize and Display Data
There are two reasons for systematically organizing and displaying information that has been collected up to this point. 1) The process ensures that each cost element is considered, and 2) it directs future analyses into most promising areas for cost-saving opportunities. The following types of data displays will be useful in many studies:
*Summary of Billed Accounts *Circuit Inventory *Inventory Forms *Calling Analyses *Private-line Summaries
By time you have organized and displayed collected data, your hypotheses list should have many items that now must be tested. Testing many of these will require a certain amount of surveys with users, although much of information you’ll need will be contained within CSRs and actual telecom bills.
About the author: Karen Thatcher is President and CEO of TelCon Associates, a 32 yr. old telecom audit and bill management company. For free tools and help in reducing your corporate telecom expenses, visit http://www.telconassociates.com for more information.