Part 2: Persistent roaming charges and data-hungry smartphones are eating money and causing bill shock
Welcome to the second instalment of our legal pain points blog series, exploring which telecoms issues are keeping lawyers up at night and what could make their lives as painless as possible. You can find part one here.
In this post, Juliette Lee, Enterprise Director at Adam Phones, who is a specialist in enterprise mobility for the legal sector, looks at how to control roaming charges and prevent bill shock.
I’ve been taking a detailed look at what’s needed to support telecommunications for legal firms. A robust communications infrastructure is crucial for nearly every business, but particularly vital for the legal sector with the need for impeccable levels of security and integrity – and every second of the day accounted for.
I’ve outlined seven key telecoms challenges for law firms and how to tackle them; however, this time, I’m looking at a particularly critical element of telecommunications: mitigating bill shock. For legal professionals, every single second, minute and hour that is billed is scrutinised; therefore, it’s imperative to see how much is being spent internally at any given time.
One of the largest culprits of bill shock is roaming costs. Some lawyers regularly get taken overseas for cases, and frequent travel abroad can mean high and unpredictable costs for voice and data usage. Even with the recent abolishment of European Union roaming charges, there is still the risk of massive bills.
While new rules introduced this summer mean that mobile calls, texts or internet browsing whilst within the EU will now cost the same as in the UK, there are several clauses that could still leave you at risk of hefty bills. For example, if you use your mobile phone as a sat nav or to download large files — and exceed your data allowance — you could still find you’re hit with big costs.
Also, if you fly to a country within Europe but outside of the EU, you may also be at risk of bill shock – depending on your tariff and the countries your provider has included within their specific roaming zones. And, of course, roaming costs remain high if you’re travelling outside of the continent entirely. Find out more in the Independent’s guide to EU roaming charges may be no more, but pitfalls remain that could cause ‘bill shock’.
These roaming costs are further compounded by the adoption of increasingly powerful and data-hungry mobile devices, which provide end users with access to a wealth of content and services – and only serve to swell data usage and the risk of excessive costs, whether aboard or at home.
In these instances, it would be ideal if fee earners could take their UK tariff with them when they roam the world – or, better yet, if a bespoke tariff structure could be built, focusing on providing discounts for the most expensive call types. However, while the mobile tariff structure is a core component in controlling telecoms costs, a suite of monitoring and reporting services is also important; flexible, cost-effective and automated management of international roaming can also dramatically reduce non-billable costs.
Law firms would benefit from a secure web-based portal that provides reports, trend analysis, expenditure alerts and user profiling. Alongside this, a dedicated 24/7 customer service/account management which could address issues quickly while working across different time-zones. Together, these initiatives can deliver an end-to-end solution for managing costs and mitigating bill shock.
For fee earners, a personal mobile app could show users, in real-time, how much they’re spending and if they’re close to hitting tariff caps; allowing them to monitor their usage and avoid any excessive bills. For IT administrators, complete visibility in the form of a ‘heat map’ for devices, which instantaneously shows where users are on a map, what they’ve spent so far – and generates spend alerts if there are issues, providing invaluable support. Another useful tool is the ability to add and remove bolt-ons to tariffs, depending on the location, on a user-by-user basis. These tools could all help control costs and keep end users accountable for their mobile activity.
With the right telecommunications partner, businesses can profile employees’ usage patterns and create bespoke tariffs to reduce high roaming costs – and automate spend alerts and bolt-ons to prevent bill shock and ensure there’s no risk of human error. And, ultimately, fee earners won’t face unexpected costs when roaming or working remotely – and the firm’s bottom line is vastly improved.
Keep an eye on our blog for part 3 in our legal pain points series, looking at delivering a full connectivity suite with strategic account management. And for more information on how Adam Phones can help you with sorting telecommunications problems get in touch or visit www.adamphones.com.