How to Cut Your Mobile Phone International Calling Expenses in 2010

Everyone is looking for ways to cut costs in 2010 - including us. We are using a NEW mobile service called "Skype to Go" that is very easy-to-use and has been saving us a lot of money each month. The service lets you make international calls from any mobile phone at dramatically reduced prices, compared to typical phone company rates. You do NOT need your PC or Mac to make these calls.

We call London (UK) on a regular basis using an Apple iPhone or a Google Android MyTouch mobile phone. Our carrier, AT&T Wireless, offered us an international discount plan that reduced our mobile phone costs from $1.25 to 99 cents per minute when calling London. That sounded good before we tested the new "Skype to Go" Service.

A few months ago, we switched to using a "Skype to Go" number which dramatically cut our costs to about 2.4 cents per minute.. a 96-cent per minute savings. We talk about 8 hours per month on international calls and now save approximately $460 per month. Wow!

The "Skype to Go" number is very easy-to-use and set up.

8 Easy Steps to Set Up the "Skype to Go" Service

  1. Go to the Skype Website
  2. Select either the Pay-as-You-Go or Monthly Payment Plans to set up your account. There are NO long-term contracts to sign.
  3. Important: Once Your Account is established, Look for the "Skype to Go" Set-up Button and Press it.
  4. Select a "Skype to Go" Number. The number is your "Skype to Go" local phone number. Write it down.
  5. Enter the Mobile Phone Number(s) you plan to use to call overseas.
  6. Enter up to 10 phone numbers that you commonly call overseas in the Auto-Dial Fields.  Note: You can also directly dial any international number from your mobile phone when you are out and about.
  7. Key in your "Skype to Go" number into your mobile phone Contact List to make life easier when you dial international calls.
  8. You will get an email confirmation for your new account and your new Skype to Go Number..

3 Easy Steps to Use "Skype to Go"

  1. Go to the "Skype to Go" Number in your mobile phone and Dial It
  2. After the recording, either Select a Pre-Set Phone Number or key in the International phone number you are calling
  3. That's it!

So... is There Anything else You Should Know?

The phone service has been wonderful, sound quality has been very good. However, we have heard from others that the Skype customer service could be improved. The good news is that there is NO contract! If you don't like Skype, and the money you are saving,  just cancel the service.

My other comment is, if you don't like new technology, and saving money is no big deal, then skip this service... but then again, you probably wouldn't be reading this article... would you?

If you want to instantly cut your monthly international calling costs, get a "Skype to Go" Number for your small business or personal use.

For More info click on this link and Search on: "Skype to Go"

Top 10 Things NOT to do When a Customers Calls!

I've had lots of bad experiences (and a few great ones) this HolidaySeason with automated phone systems and customer service centers.  I will not name the poor company experiences here...tis the holiday Season :)  However, if you want a great experience... call with a customer service problem...and listen to the magic. According to a recent survey of 8,880 consumers across 16 countries, poor customer service cost an aggregate of $338.5 billion per year, the average value of each lost relationship across all countries surveyed costing $243.  2009  (Survey by Greenfield Online and Ovum).

It's hard enough to find a customer service phone number on a customer website.  However, when you make the call, the experience should not make the situation even worse.

Phone System Best Practices

I thought I would share some Phone System Best Practice Reminders for Small Businesses:

  1. Don't transfer the customer to a non-working phone extension (or busy signal)
  2. Don't trap a customer in your automated self-service (so you need to hang up, re-dial and start again)
  3. Always have  the option to press "O" to get to a live operator at any time (only the better companies do this)
  4. Don't make the customer wait too long  before reaching a live rep (especially during the Holidays)
  5. Don't require customers to repeat themselves to several Representatives
  6. Don't be cheap on continuous Representatives skills training  on how to answer inquiries
  7. Don't forget to train outsourced Reps on US (or any host country) Culture and Thinking
  8. Offer to send an email confirmation of the conversation (Great way to collect customer email addresses)
  9. Always put your phone number on your "Contact Us" web page.
  10. Don't forget to Thank the Customer for their Business

You may want to complete a quick audit of your customer service and phone system NOW to fix any short-term major issues.   However, plan on a more formal review and repair of your phone system, customer policies and call center  procedures in Q1 2010. If you are concerned about the cost, review the costs of lost business at the beginning of this article.

Important 2010 Tip

Don't forget to budget time and money for adding and  expanding Social Networking Programs. It's NOT an option anymore...but a "requirement" for high customer satisfaction.

Feel free to add comments on your own Holiday Customer Service Experiences... any great company customer service experiences out there?

Happy Holidays!