4 Tips for Uncovering Savings + Managing Growth in a Lean Season
Making budget cuts quickly? Here’s where to find savings on communications without sacrificing essentials.
Lean seasons are inevitable. It’s not a matter of if you’ll face one, it’s a matter of when. And when you do, priorities shift from investment, high burn, and rapid scale to mission-critical activities and managing cash flow. Many of us are here now in response to COVID-19 and its market impact. It’s a global pandemic, with global impact.
Here are four tips on how to uncover cost-savings on the communication side, so you can redeploy those dollars to their most critical use—without forfeiting the functionality (and quality) you need.
1. Dig into billing accuracy
If this feels like minutiae, I assure you it is not. On the communications side, there are two places where billing methodology can make a big difference. You should renegotiate with your provider if:
- You are billed in per-minute increments only. For a long time, industry standard was by-the-minute (for many providers, it still is). This means that if you place a 15-second call, you’d still pay for 60 seconds. And all that rounding up can cost you. Bandwidth’s billing accuracy goes down to 6-second increments, which could unlock a lot of money for you, depending on your volumes. And speaking of volumes…
- Your volumes (of SMS messages or voice minutes) have increased enough to warrant a change. Most providers have a tiered pricing model. Take a look at your current volumes as compared to when you signed with your provider. If they’ve increased and you’re still getting billed based on your original minutes or messages, now is a good time to renegotiate your rate.
And a final word on billing: Take a look at your invoices. Really look at them. Are you being billed for things you don’t understand? If so, ask! A good provider will want to make sure your bill is correct and that you aren’t confused. You have a right to know where your money is going, especially when you’re trying to aggressively manage costs.
2. Understand SMS deliverability
You pay for every message you send—not just the ones that get delivered. This means that if messages get blocked for any reason, you’re losing ROI. Deliverability matters for your customer experience, but also for your bottom line. There are two questions you can ask to get to the root of potential deliverability issues (and uncover some dollars you might not have known about):
- Do you know which messages are actually delivered? It sounds elementary, but here’s the catch: many delivery receipts don’t actually tell you if the message got to the end user’s device (handset). They just tell you if the message made it to their carrier. There’s often a black box between carrier and end-user. (If you’re unfamiliar with the ins and outs of message deliverability, you can watch this quick video for a solid intro.) Now’s the time to make sure you’re getting the whole deliverability story. The more you know, the more you can optimize.
- Does your provider help you dig into deliverability problems? The efficiency of your SMS channel depends on it, so if you have questions, ask. At Bandwidth, we do a lot of work to give you as much (and as accurate) delivery information as possible. We surface handset-level delivery receipts for all messages sent over short codes and toll-free numbers. We provide detailed error codes. And we built our SPAM filters to mirror those of the other major carriers, so we can proactively alert you if a message is likely to get blocked. All so you can optimize your messaging strategy for max ROI. A good partner will help walk you through your message deliverability.
3. Bundle attractive features
Bundling is obnoxious when you have to pay for things you don’t want to get what you do. But when it comes to mission-critical communications functions, or extended features that add real value and differentiation to your product, bundling can help you save. Consolidating voice, messaging, and emergency calling through a single provider can reduce your total cost of ownership (and make your comms simpler to manage). If you need to cut costs quickly, this is a good place to look.
A note about emergency calling: The ability to connect users with first responders through software is growing in market segments like home security, personal safety, schools (and other enterprises like hospitals), remote patient care, and more. What if you could extend the features of your software to include it? While consolidating voice, messaging, and emergency calling through a single provider? An experienced 911 network provider with a software sensibility and rich APIs can make this process seamless and reliable. So if you’re already looking to bundle services, adding emergency calling now could be a smart move.
4. Examine Support costs
Many providers offer tiers of support with associated fees. What level of support are you using today, how much does it cost, and how critical is it to your business? As you’re evaluating this, be sure to consider the circumstances: with virtual communications growing, will you need more support to ensure quality (and keep your existing customers)? If so, what would that cost? (Personally, we believe that great support is so critical that you shouldn’t have to pay extra for it. Helping you get things right should be table stakes, so we never charge for it. It’s one of the things I love most about Bandwidth.)
Lean seasons will always come, and when they do, smart businesses cut costs strategically—with a scalpel, not a wrecking ball. The great news is the work you do now, digging into your costs and maximizing efficiency, will pay big dividends in years to come.