Roger Oustecky, chief operating officer of Tenet International, a company that audits corporate telecommunications bills, claims that 80 percent of phone-company bills are wrong, accounting for customer overpayments of 7 percent on average. Spokespersons for phone giants Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. make a counterclaim of greater than 98 percent bill accuracy. Whichever number is closer to the truth, the fact remains that telecommunications costs still rank as one of the top four budget items for companies.
With that in mind, Russell Lipari, vice president, telecommunications, at Greenpoint Bank, in Lake Success, N.Y., decided to let Castle Rock, Colo.-based Tenet examine the bank's phone statements as part of an outsourcing agreement that pays Tenet based on the number of bills processed. Tenet cut the bank's telecom bill by between 5 percent and 10 percent during the first year, says Lipari, adding that so far, Greenpoint has "saved so much money that the first two years of outsourcing were essentially free." -- Joan Urdang