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How to avoid hidden charges that bump up your business phone bill


If you think your mobile phone bill is too high, have you ever asked whose fault that is?


The chances are it’s yours; not because you’re deliberately inflating it, but because you haven’t looked closely enough at what you’re paying for. More often than not, that’ll mean you’re paying too much.


Few people can say, hand on heart, that they have made sure their phone bill is lean and keen; pared down to the lowest possible level and still provide the service they need.


Fear and ignorance; the two great dangers


Two of the principal reasons for overpaying are fear and ignorance. Fear concerns avoiding very high charges it’s possible to run up if you use the phone more than your monthly bundle allows. The ignorance is about not knowing what you are actually paying for. The former results from the desire to have a ‘safety net’ to avoid huge unexpected bills; the latter from not understanding what you use and what it costs.


The solution, in both cases, is much the same. Investigate. Let’s take the monthly cost of that bundle question to start with. Given that you may only ever see the ‘amount payable’ popping in as a text message, it’s easy to let things end there. Far better to take the trouble to go online and have a look at your bill, to find out if you’re paying for something you don’t need. Most of us would admit to not having logged on for months, or since the last time we had an upgrade, at least.


And remember, it’s no good limiting yourself to a certain amount of time on the phone, because that’s just not how it works. Watching a film clip will use far more data than downloading a couple of emails, for instance.


There really is no substitute for getting an itemised bill, and gong over it with a fine toothcomb.


Talk can be cheap(er)


If you’re a small business owner, and have your business landline diverted to a mobile so that you don’t miss any business, you’d be well advised to find out what that transfer from one to the other is costing you. We’ve known of people who were paying more than £200 a month for that service alone, racked up in 10p-a-minute transfer charges. That might sound a lot, but it’s only half an hour a day or thereabouts.


Using modern technology called Voice Over Internet Protocol (or VOIP), Squirrel Telecom can help you eliminate those transfer charges completely, yet keep doing business in the same way, with calls transferred from landline to mobile. The magic is in our dedicated Squirrel Telecom app that allows you to pick up calls just as you always would, and never risk losing any new business.


The win:win situation


What makes it special is that the app makes your mobile two phones in one; it’s still your trusty personal mobile, but since it’s your business number too, then you don’t have to share your personal number with anyone, which allows you to have a private life as well as work for a living. One phone allows you to make and receive calls on the same handset.


We think that sounds like having the best of both worlds – work when you want to, relax when you want to, but collect phone messages to keep customers happy in the meantime. What’s not to like?


And if you’re still not convinced, ask yourself how long you have to work to put that £200 into the business, after you’ve paid all the tax. We’d say that’s a powerful argument for making your business more profitable, or reducing pressure on yourself. Once again, what’s not to like?


March 30, 2016


Hosted telephones simply explained


‘Hosted’ telephone systems aren’t called that because of their benefits – but they might as well be, because there’s a host of them.


Our lives have always revolved around communicating, and being able to do it easily and effectively. Hosted telephones are the latest step change in ever-evolving technology, offering significant business flexibility.


But what does ‘hosted’ mean?


It’s quite simple. Using old technology calls were made with the help of stand-alone systems using wires connected to switchboards, with a series of mechanical and electrical connections putting you in touch with your local telephone exchange. That in turn communicated with another exchange, and that made the phone ring at the other end. Complicated and long-winded? Sure; but it was the best available at the time.


With hosted systems, those wires and switchboards are all gone, replaced by the internet, that wonder of the modern age, and high-speed broadband, which moves data – and voices – faster than ever before.


Using technology called Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VOIP for short, phone calls travel through the same network as emails and internet browsing in any office or home situation, and from there through the internet to reach their destination. The crucial difference is that all the magic that makes it happen isn’t in your office or home, but is ‘hosted’ elsewhere by a supplier like Squirrel Telecom; hence the name ‘hosted’.


What are the benefits of hosted telephones?


As we’ve said, there are a number, and they all apply to every hosted telephone user to a greater or lesser extent.


1.     Cost. For a start, there is no major capital expense in buying in a telephone system, because you don’t need one. And in due course that means there will be no expensive repairs and upgrades to your in-house system, because there isn’t one. Assuming you have an internet connection, that does the work instead. What’s more, calls between different branches of the same company are free.


2.     Flexibility. Adding or removing handsets as organisations grow is easy. Squirrel Telecom believes the best systems offer a rolling 28-day contract, so you’re not restricted by any long-term contract, which could turn out to be expensive. Through clever use of the technology, it’s also possible to have calls to your business number routed to a chosen mobile phone with no transfer charge – and those charges can be very high indeed, running into hundreds of pounds a month.


3.     Maintenance. Essentially, there isn’t any. If your internet network is up and running, then so is your phone system. And that means that calls can be connected quickly and efficiently.


4.     Business continuity. This is something you might not think about until disaster strikes, in the form of unexpected business disruption, such as the flooding which seems to be happening more and more. Using a hosted telephone system not tied to your own premises, your mobile will remain connected to take calls to your business number. Once again, thanks to the clever technology, the office phone number would ring on your mobile, and you could be running your business from your kitchen, the nearest McDonald’s or Costa, with customers none the wiser.


How do I get a hosted system?


Ask the Squirrel. The people behind Squirrel Telecom have been in the phone business for years, so we know what clients need. Our specialism is in hosted telephone systems, and making them as easy to use as possible.


Look on our web site to find out about the features of the phones we can offer, and just how cheap it can be to join the future of telephony – today.


March 30, 2016