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Add Audits, Minus Migraines


Tier1 Solutions started off as a
master agent and grew into a business consultant and broker. Later, the company added an auditing service to its repertoire of value-added options. Now, it is making the successful service available to other agents as a commissioned offer.

Working with Enhanced Communications Group (ECG), Tier1 created MATRIX, a front- and back-end audit management tool, to facilitate auditing for its customers, agents and auditors. It schedules tasks, performs calendaring and marks project milestones. “We created a hub point where we could centralize information and data, and we could track everything; it’s a CRM [platform] for the agents,” says CEO David Stebbins. “This is a centralized communications device, so customers, agents and analysts can log in, enter information, and see where the project is.”

Agents can list projects or companies they’re trying to work with into Tier1’s customer relationship management system, and when they need an auditor to perform an in-depth examination of customer bills and topography, they can click a “Request an Auditor’ button and send a notification to Tier1.

“That comes to us and based on the articulated need, we assign an analyst or agent that would meet that need,” says Stebbins, noting the company has cultivated relationships with auditing firms across the country to perform the work.

An audit serves three functions, he says. One, it bolsters customer satisfaction by identifying areas of cost-savings. Two, it provides agents with a clear picture of the customers’ communications. “As we started getting the results of the audits in, we began noticing the information was so much deeper and wider than we thought, so when the customer articulated its defined needs, we had one picture, but the audit gave us a completely different one,” explains Stebbins.

And three, most importantly, it opens up doors for agents to gain a larger share of a company’s business. “Our system makes it easier for agents to incorporate it into an agent’s business,” Stebbins says. “And when they get to a place where they have an audit completed, they’re going to know more in-depth what the customer is doing, to better position their brokering service and increase the business overall, beyond just the revenue stream they’re getting from the auditing.”

While the economy has been picking up, Stebbins says an audit is still a powerful tool. “Companies are still using an approach where they’re dotting every ‘i’ and crossing every ‘t,’ and they’re very hesitant to spend money right now,” says Stebbins. “So, if we can put money back into a budget they’ve already planned and set aside, it opens the doors to be able to do the hosting and transport services. … And it shortens the sales cycle.”

Auditing is not the only consulting service Tier1 offers other master agents. “From the beginning, we specialized in more of the technical aspects and doing more of the complex networks,” explains Stebbins. “We can function as executive technical consultants for master agents, so they are able to close more of the larger, enterprise-level customers.”

Stebbins says this role of technical consultant enables Tier1 to take over cases and design specific solutions and networks, engaging carriers and working through the implementation under the agent’s brand, in exchange for a revenue split with the partner. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a telecom audit cover?

Auditing ensures the accuracy of telecom invoices by identifying and eliminating errors in tariff, applications, physical inventories, rates, taxes and surcharges.

Why conduct a telecom audit?



Most telecom bills contain unnecessary or erroneous charges due to adds, moves and changes in services provided. Additionally, while transport providers list percentage discounts off tariffs/published rates in their standard contracts, frequent tariff changes can makes it challenging to identify the appropriate rate.

What is the telecom audit process?


The complete audit process can simply be defined in four basic phases:

Phase I: Gathering information, such as total telecom expenditures, provider(s) and contract term(s)
Phase II: Analyzing contracts and invoices
Phase III: Developing a findings report based upon the analysis
Phase IV: Implementing the customer-approved refund and/or savings attainment activities.

How long does a telecom audit take?


The length of the audit process depends on the size and complexity of the customer and their telecom infrastructure, but typically the audit takes 30 to 60 days from the time client invoices, contracts and related materials are assembled. It may take one or more billing cycles for recovery of credits.

How much money can be saved?


The savings for the audit varies depending on the customer and their specific telecom infrastructure. Across various industry categories, customers typically have saved from 5 percent to 45 percent of their monthly telecom budget.

Source: TelcoAuditing.com

Links
Enhanced Communications Group (ECG) www.ecgagent.com
Telecom Brokerage Inc. (TBI) www.tbicom.com
Tier1 Solutions http://tier1.biz, www.telcoauditing.com

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