2 Things Every TEM Provider Should Provide Their Customers

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If you are reading this article, you are likely considering hiring a telecom/technology expense management (TEM) provider for the first time or perhaps moving on from your current TEM provider.  

In this article, we’ll review a few priority items to keep at the top of your list during your TEM evaluation process. This list is not exhaustive, but it will shine a light on a few key areas that we believe are in your interest to keep at the top of your list when engaging TEM providers. 

TEM Priorities

Here are two items to ask about:

Both will resonate with your C-level team as they directly address the enterprise’s ability to protect itself in real time. When incurring challenges, do we have readily available and capable talent to assist quickly to address our needs? And is there a clear and measurable definition of what success looks like in terms of savings expectations relative to TEM program costs? 

TEM Support

TEM Support – may not be as top-of-mind for new TEM customers. Still, it will certainly hit home with TEM industry folks who have experienced unsatisfactory performance from their current or past provider. 

We have seen a trend in the past 10 to 15 years whereby higher profile TEMs indirectly and covertly prioritize shareholder savings at the expense of the TEM customer (e.g., this is common practice with private equity firm ownership, which has become more prevalent within the industry). 

This happens because they attempt to lower TEM support overhead by hiring more junior-level personnel with less experience or offshore support that would best be kept in-house and in the US. 

Let’s look at these highly important and valuable areas for your new TEM consideration.

2 Things You Should Get from Your New TEM Provider

Support Takeaway

1. A Return-On-Investment Guarantee 

This is something everyone wants, but it’s not a given within the TEM industry. Many TEM firms will make big assertions regarding service delivery expectations during the sales process. Yet, when it comes time for the rubber to hit the road, many TEM provider service delivery teams struggle to deliver the results sold to you – the TEM customer.  

Note: performance metrics and their associated key performance indicator (KPI) targets for success should be detailed within your contractual agreement and service level agreement (SLA). 

As the hiring authority, you are likely a director or C-level executive who has been tasked with either implementing a healthy new TEM program or level-setting and reinvigorating a TEM program that went bad, you need to know that your new partner won’t let you down.  

If they fail miserably, you will be held accountable. So, a TEM that believes in its abilities knows that it can provide an ROI guarantee to help allay this concern and differentiate itself from its competitors. This is what you want. 

At Tellennium, for example, we will contractually guarantee that our TEM invoice management costs will be offset by our audit and optimization savings recovery results within the contract term, or our customers will not pay anything beyond the amount recovered and saved. 

ROI Takeaway: If your prospective new TEM partner does not believe enough to provide an ROI guarantee as an extension of core TEM services such as invoice processing management, then this certainly begs the question: Why would we choose them if there are competitors that will provide an ROI guarantee?  

There may be a good reason, but only you and your internal expense management team can answer this question. Ensure you do this before proceeding with your new TEM partner decision. It’s important to mitigate risk to the greatest extent possible, especially in today’s volatile market. 

Related: Estimate your Company’s Cost Savings – ROI calculator 

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2. Domestic US Support 

As mentioned earlier and in other related TEM articles, trying to save money via support overhead reductions has become a common practice that larger and higher-profile TEM firms employ to increase margins and shareholder savings.  

So, you will want to inquire in detail about how your prospective TEM partner plans to support you and your team during the full term of your agreement, not simply the implementation phase. 

TEM firms with this mindset will often look to save on support overhead in the following ways:  

  • Low-cost labor: Hiring more inexperienced and cheaper personnel for support positions. 
  • Offshoring: Offshore critical TEM support areas overseas to save money via cheaper labor. 
  • Layoffs | Attrition: Lay off or otherwise not replace senior TEM personnel to save money and make financial projections work.

Support Takeaway: This is a major pain point for many of our customers who came to us from a prior relationship with a different TEM provider. 

They walked away from their prior TEM partner because this was either at the top of their dissatisfaction list or at least on some part of it.  

Don’t let this happen to you. Inquire deeply about how your prospective TEM will support you and your internal TEM team before making your final decision. 

Final Thoughts on TEM Provider Value for ROI and Domestic Support

There is much to consider when evaluating TEM providers. In this article, we highlighted two key areas to remember during discovery sessions because they are both very important. 

Support matters a great deal, and the right time to think most about it is before signing a typical 3-year TEM agreement. Unfortunately, this is something that many overlook, so we hope this helps. 

Return on investment is also always an important item for management, so it is worth considering this area in detail when comparing different TEM providers.

If you’d like to consider Tellennium in your TEM vendor comparisons, contact us to schedule a brief demo of our solution

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