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Here's How to Figure Out What Every Dial Tone Line Does
- First, get a recent copy of every fixed-line communications bill you receive monthly. Since different bills may go to different departments, it’s good to get a list from your accounts payable department of every communication account paid monthly.
- Next, get a detailed inventory of all services paid for under each separate bill. Ask each communications service provider to give you this inventory broken down to the smallest individual billable item. Keep in mind that communications service providers typically give marketing names to their services, so the same service from one company may have a different name than the exact same service from another.
- Note what you are paying monthly for each line (it may vary) so that if you do not need it, you will be able to track your savings.
- Even a single dial tone line can have multiple billing components, so be sure to take each of them into account. For example a directory listing charge (or non-published charge) or a separate charge for touchtone. Account for taxes and surcharges, which can add 20% or more to each line's billing sum. Within your organization, there may also be more than one person needed to identify the purpose of various lines. Be sure to include anyone responsible for keeping your business telephone system up and running.
- Once you receive the details, if it’s not clear, ask for a call with someone who can explain it. This will typically be your carrier's billing specialist rather than your account executive—although it is a good idea to keep your entire account team involved.
- First, see if anyone in your organization has been keeping records. Even if records have not been kept up-to-date, they can be a helpful resource indicating the original purpose of the line.
- Request the service address from the provider. This is often different from the billing address and will let you know where the line is physically located.
- Call the number. If someone answers, identify yourself and ask who it is and where they are located within the organization (address, floor, room, department). You can also ask if they know what the line is used for. Just because someone answers does not necessarily mean the line is needed.
- If you call the number and reach an announcement that says the line is “not in service,” this is a pretty good indicator that you are paying for a service that is not working.
- If you call the number and reach a “fast busy signal,” this is also an indication that the line is not working.
- If you call the number and it rings, but no one answers, make a note of this– you'll need to do more research.
- If you call the number and hear a high-pitched tone, you may be reaching a fax or modem.
- Another approach is to ask the service provider to let you know if the line is in use. This can be an indicator of whether a line is needed. Ask for usage for both outgoing and incoming calls.
- As mentioned above, alarms for fire and other purposes often use a dial tone line, so you may be able to get the numbers from your alarm company.
- Sometimes toll-free numbers (like 800 numbers) forward to a dial tone line. You can ask the toll-free provider to identify the dial tone line number to which the toll-free number is forwarded.
- There is also call forwarding from one dial tone line to another, in which case your service provider should be able to tell you both which lines are forwarded and the telephone numbers they’re forwarded to.
Keep track of the result of calling/researching each line. If the use of the line cannot be determined, you can likely disconnect it.
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