Why Use an Agent


Businesses are choosing to get their telecom services from independent agents instead of direct representatives. Look at the top 10 reasons why we see this shift occurring in the marketplace today.

1. Mergers and Acquisitions

- In the past couple of years, a few of the major mergers include Qwest/CenturyLink,  Level3/Broadwing (Focal), XO/Allegiance, ATT/SBC/Bell South, MCI/Verizon, Windstream/Paetec/US Lec,  Time Warner/Xspedius among many others. 

- By using an Independent Telecom Agent, you can be sure that regardless of continued merger activity or bankruptcies, your Independent Telecom Agent will continue to have the same contact phone number and email address. He will not be laid off or fired, and will continue to supply you all of the options you need.

2. Single Point of Contact

- Regardless of whether your Independent Telecom Agent recommends a single carrier solution or a multi-carrier solution, you still have a single point of contact to deal with the person who knows your account best. 

- Saving yourself time matters. During the pricing and evaluation process for a new carrier, it is typical to get at least 3 bids and have at least two appointments with at least three carriers. The number of appointments you have to schedule could easily reach up to a dozen before an educated decision is made on your company's communications. 

- When you use a qualified Independent Telecom Agent, you can spend one appointment determining the best course of action, and just one more evaluating the best options available in your market. Having a single point of contact is a huge time saver!

3. Understands your company, how you make decisions, and why.

- Your Independent Telecom Agent acts as an assistant buyer once he/she understands your business needs and preferences. 

- He/she gets to know your organization, your goals and long range needs, and how you make decisions and why. Why would you want to repeat that process every couple of years?

4. You get to hear the truth!

- When you use an experienced Independent Telecom Agent, you tap into a wealth of knowledge and experience of someone who has been in the field for many years with multiple carriers. 

- Your agent will typically have experience dealing with multiple carriers in your market, and can tell you how they really perform. Who has the most reliable network? Who has billing problems? Who is going bankrupt? Who can make the desired install date? 

- When using an Independent agent, you don't have to listen to "The Company Story" for each carrier, as they always tend to dress up their deficiencies. You get to hear the truth.

5. Unbiased opinion of multiple carriers and their product lines

- Based on where your business is heading, whether that be expanding, streamlining, or contracting, your Independent Telecom Agent can put you in the right situation. 

- Since most carriers have gone to term agreements in the T-1 age of communications, it's key to get set up with a carrier that can move with your needs. Do they have MPLS? Do they do SIP trunking? Can they offer an IP-VPN solution for your remote sites? 

- Your Independent Telecom Agent knows the carriers' products and limitations, and can put you in the right solution for your company.

6. Agents are invested in your success long term

This is an incredibly important concept to understand when choosing to use an Independent Telecom Agent! 

- Sales reps are specifically told, "If the customer has a problem, send them to the Help Desk. Do not get involved. You are paid ONLY to bring in new business. 

- Independent Telecom Agents are commission only and residual based, earning a small percentage of the monthly bill, it takes them, in many cases, up to 24 months to get paid what the direct representative will get paid in month number one after the sale. 

-  Independent Telecom Agents  build a book of business of happy customers that don't have to find someone new every couple of years to deal with. This relationship only makes sense for the agent if you stay with them for over 24 months, so they have EVERY motivation to assist you in solving any service issues that you may ever have.

- A good Independent Telecom Agent isn't just another business associate; they become part of your team.

7. They don't have a quota to make

- It is very common for Independent Telecom Agents to uncover up to 10-20% of pure fluff on your bill during the auditing process. The direct representatives you buy from have a quota to make and will often sell you what is good for them, not what is good for you. 

- Top Independent Telecom Agents, almost without exception; do not carry quotas with any carriers. Because they do not carry quotas, you will not find them pushing you towards a solution that doesn't feel quite right just to meet their numbers. 

8. Extra Incentives and Promotions

- The Telecom Industry is moving increasingly towards the Independent Agent Channel. In fact, last year, a local ATT/SBC agent manager said the Agent channel gained more business through their agent Winback program than they did their direct Winback program. 

- Independent Telecom Agents are typically more knowledgeable, better trained, set proper expectations with the clients, their clients tend to remain clients longer (since they were sold the right program), and it is more cost effective for the carriers to deal with Agents. 

-  It is not uncommon for agents to compete head to head with a direct representative for one of the carriers they are presenting. It is also not uncommon for the agent channel to have promotions or incentives that the direct representative has not been given for the customer, and the agent will typically win the customer because of that fact.

9. Same Pricing

- The exact same standard pricing is used in the Agent Channel and the direct channel. In spite of all of the additional knowledge you can tap into with Independent Agents, you can be sure you are not charged any extra for it. 

- For large projects, special pricing is available to both Agent and direct channels at the same amounts. It's an incredible model that helps the customer and agent win, and insures all clients are treated equally.

10. They understand Next Generation Technology

- Independent Telecom Agents will typically be better versed in MPLS, IP-VPN, VOIP, hosted solutions, call center applications, and SIP technologies since they need to understand multiple carriers' offerings and have attended their trainings.  

- No carrier can be the master of all technologies and master of all niches. It's a business impossibility. So it follows that it is nearly impossible for a direct representative to have the same breadth and width of exposure to the applications you are facing decisions on. 

- Implementation of some of the new technologies correctly can literally save larger companies hundreds of thousands of dollars. That may be the exact edge your company needs to gain the competitive advantage in your marketplace for security, marketing, recruiting, or even retention. 

- Using an experienced Independent Telecom Agent who is looking out for your best interests will make all the difference.

Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?Independent-Telecom-Agents---The-Top-10-Reasons-Companies-Use-Them&id=454709

© Eichner Bauer Group, LLC 2010                                                                                                         jannette.eichner@ebglimited.com