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As VP of Product Management & Carrier Relations at thinQ, Mark Speer ensures that our cloud voice and text messaging solutions deliver maximum value and efficiency across a wide variety of implementations. Mark has seen his share of economic swings as a telecom industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience working at US West, MCI, Level 3, IntelePeer, and ANI Networks.

“As COVID-19 continues to impact every company’s day-to-day,” Mark says, “there are a few key steps telecom CEO’s can take to survive and thrive in 2020 and beyond.”

1. Communicate with your customers, suppliers and employees–regularly.

Assure them that you have the staff, processes, and communication flows in place to support each unique audience, and hold weekly employee all-hands meetings online to keep everyone focused and reassured through the crisis. In a recent Harvard Business Review post, author Paul Argenti added these communication tips:

  • “Focus on what is important to the customer. For example, Target sent out a note from the CEO to customers, describing enhanced cleaning procedures and additional staffing for order pickup and drive-up services.”
  • “Provide relief when possible. JetBlue became the first airline to waive change and cancel fees for coronavirus-related concerns. The move went a long way towards reassuring current customers as well as bringing new ones on board. CVS Caremark is working to waive early refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications. Insurance companies, in contrast, do not consider the coronavirus a valid reason for canceling a flight.”
  • “Focus on empathy rather than trying to create selling opportunities. Companies should rethink advertising and promotion strategies to be more in line with the current zeitgeist.”

2. Optimize supplier payment terms.

Don’t let a crisis stop you and your financial team from leveraging flexibility built into your contracts. Review them and request assistance to stretch your dollars as far as you can.

3. Save on calls with LRN.

If you’re running a Least Cost Routing (LCR) engine not using Location Routing Number (LRN) to squeeze every last penny out of your calls/routes, you should. (By the way, it’s free when you send your calls through thinQ.)

4. Add multiple voice carriers to scale, improve call quality, and maximize delivery.

With so much stress on the voice networks right now, and most calls starting at the top of the hour leading to quality issues, you need more redundancy. The top carriers include AT&T, Verizon, Level 3, and others.

Did you know thinQ has more than 40 carriers in route for your calls, with total routing control to mitigate outages? If you’re working with us, let’s talk about sending more of your traffic across our platform to save money and help you scale. If you’re not yet a partner, reach out today to start scaling/saving up to 70%.

5. Optimize your sales strategy and team.

Make sure you’re pursuing the right customer prospects with the right sales team. Are new customers generating enough revenue to offset your support costs, is the traffic high-quality, delivering margins that grow your bottom line every month?

6. Position your company with the right public policy messages.

You need to be part of the solution when it comes to combating and aligning with new technology to fight illegal robocalling (especially COVID-19 scams), keeping up with STIR/SHAKEN implementation, and understanding your HIPPA compliance to work with telehealth and telemedicine companies, hospitals, doctor’s offices, and more.

7. Implement telecom cost efficiencies to strengthen your balance sheet.

a. Leverage LRN billing (versus dialed number, thinQ can help)
b. Set up indeterminate jurisdiction (IJ) rating flexibility
c. Install appropriate short duration call thresholds and surcharges to keep your COGs (cost of goods) optimized

Do you work in a telecom environment? What tips would you add to Mark’s to help your company and its CEO weather a crisis? Send your bullets to tim@thinq.com and we’ll add them to our list. Stay safe and healthy.