Tariff Comparison for Telecom Business Tariffs: A Short Introduction
For many years Offer-Ready has been dealing with tariff comparison for telecom business tariffs, frequently consulting with major telecom companies on tariff comparison and tariff optimization of business rate plans.
In this article I want to provide a short overview of the key concepts and particularities that one has to keep in mind when starting such a project and incorporating a tariff calculator for business customers.
Typically, the standardization of tariff offers declines as company size increases. For very small enterprises (1-10 employees) tariff plans are often very similar to those offered in the residential sector, while offers designed for companies with 30 or more SIM-cards can involve any number of special conditions and these customers usually require tailor-made price plans.
A tariff calculator (for tariff comparison) works fine with standardized offers and therefore is of great benefit to smaller companies and in the residential sector. However, the creation of tailor-made offers requires tariff optimization to be performed in the back office. It is important to bear in mind that these are totally different concepts!
Multiple Items vs. Aggregation
Every employee and therefore every SIM-Card in your calculation might represent individual consumption patterns, and that requires an individual calculation. In reality there will be groups of individuals with identical requirements so many of these calculations will not have to be performed each time from scratch.
The business offer consists of tariffs and discounts applied on the level of individual items (SIM-cards), and conditions are applied on the aggregated total of all SIM-cards. For instance, the German provider E- Plus (before merging with Telefonica Germany) offered volume discounts depending on the selected tariffs, in addition to packs for the individual SIM-Cards.
A different concept is applied for so called “Pool Tariffs”. In this case, consumption patterns are aggregated over all of the single items, while the tariff itself is applied on the aggregation level. In order for a truly comprehensive tariff comparison to be conducted, the platform or software used must be able to deal with – and compare - both concepts!
Although each single item can be the subject of an individual calculation, to further complicate matters there might be cross-dependencies among all these items! E.g. the minimum contract duration (which usually also has an effect on the price of the chosen tariff) might be required to be identical among all of the chosen items. In addition, all tariff products selected may require individual tariffs to be chosen from the same tariff family.
Another consideration is that some services that need to be included in the offer might be associated with the company, not with individual employees. E.g. broadband internet access will not be assigned to an individual person; this would be assigned at the company level. Nevertheless, there might be cross-dependencies between the broadband-offer and some of the services that are applied at an individual level.
Last, but by no means least, when conducting a tariff comparison for telecom business tariffs it is important to bear in mind that combi-promotions also can affect the price. E.g. there may be a discount on mobile services if the company also selects a broadband internet product.
To summarize: A careful distinction between the individual and aggregated levels is necessary in order to implement a tariff calculator for business customers. Offer-Ready is built around this concept and has been expertly prepared to manage all of the above issues and can quickly conduct a comprehensive tariff optimization of business rate plans.
Getting Accurate Data Input
In order to be effective, a tariff calculator for business customers requires accurate data to be entered. Unfortunately, many customers do not know exactly what they need and as a result they may input data that is not entirely accurate.
One has to admit that this is an issue, but it is also true with the current situation; where someone in the backoffice is preparing an offer by simply guessing what the customer demand could be.
In order to develop a bigger share of the self-service market within the business segment, the challenge is to make it easier for customers to use the online channel. In order to meet that challenge there must be an option provided for uploading an invoice and there should be a form-based dialog that guides the customer through the process step by step, and along the way the customer’s needs will be defined. Both of these are absolutely feasible from a technological perspective!
Call to Action: Transformation of Tariff Recommendations into Actual Transactions
Eventually, the results shown in the tariff calculator will become the input of an actual offer. For business customers this will not always direct them to the checkout in the online shop. Instead, many customers will prefer to take time making their decision and may choose to complete the process via a different sales channel; such as heading to the POS or directly contacting a sales representative by telephone. In order not to lose the valuable data that has already been input and collected in the tariff calculator, you will have to design an omnichannel strategy.
In this article on omnichannel marketing the concept of integration of the tariff calculator into such strategy has been developed in detail. We also recommend to read this article on seamless backoffice data transmission.