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 three areas that we believe are in your interest to keep at the top of your list when engaging TEM providers.
Top TEM Priorities
Here are two items to ask about:
(1) A return on investment (ROI) guarantee, and
(2) a satisfaction guarantee.
Both will naturally resonate with your C-level team as they address the enterprise’s ability to protect itself in real-time and provide recourse for resolution if the TEM provider cannot meet service delivery requirements.
The Third Priority – TEM Support
The third priority – TEM Support – may not be as top-of-mind for new TEM customers, but it will certainly resonate 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 take a closer look at these highly important and valuable areas for your new TEM consideration.
3 Things You Should Get from Your New TEM Provider
1. A Return-On-Investment Guarantee
This is something that 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 that were 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 – that 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 and you could very well lose your position. 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 provide a contractual 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. Be sure that 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.
2. A Satisfaction Guarantee
This is naturally along a similar vein as the ROI guarantee but offers another layer of risk mitigation for your team/company. Dissatisfaction is highly tied to savings results and/or ROI delivery but it’s not everything.
It’s possible that you could be highly dissatisfied with your TEM for any number of reasons such as:
Satisfaction Guarantee Takeaway: Very much like the ROI guarantee, this is something that gives your organization more flexibility to quickly adjust course as may be needed. And if things start souring between you and your TEM partner, you will want this expense management offramp.
At Tellennium, we provide a no-penalty back-out clause, which means you have the option to leave at any time without penalty if dissatisfied with service performance.
Again, when interviewing prospecting service providers, you will want to inquire about this type of guarantee. If the TEM provider does not offer this, why not?
3. 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:
Support Takeaway: This is a major pain point for many of our customers that 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 and inquire deeply about how your prospective TEM will support you and your internal TEM team before making your final decision.
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If you have ever considered Telecom Expense Management (TEM) firms for a potential partnership, then you know that it’s not uncommon for some TEM sales folks to oversell their capabilities and inflate savings expectations. Many TEM firms will shine their Sales light strongly on initial savings that can be obtained via audit and optimization analyses.
If you are reading this article, you are likely considering hiring a Telecom/Technology Expense Management (TEM) firm. You realize that you need help, that your internal expense management team alone will not suffice, and that expanding that team organically from within won’t work either. If you have had a prior poor experience with a TEM