A colleague recently told a story that should serve as a warning to any small business owner when it comes to mobile phone usage. She recently was surprised to find that one of her mobile phone bills was for several hundred dollars!
The reason was that she had bought the phone for her mother, who typically also acted as a babysitter and needed to remain in touch. But because this colleague paid the bill, the mother never knew how many minutes were in the plan. So when the mother “loaned” the phone to her son (brother of the colleague) the problems began. The brother ended up over using the phone and ran up incredible charges from text messaging.
All would be bad enough, but because the bill didn’t arrive until well into the next month’s billing cycle the damage was already being done yet again. By the time the plug was pulled, the bills had further escalated.
The same typically happens to many small businesses. Long distance phone calls have always been a problem for businesses, and many companies have tried hard to stop abuse. With mobile phones, the problem is now two-fold or worse. There are the monthly minutes to worry about, plus texting charges that can add up quickly. Factor in mobile Web usage and suddenly giving every employee a company phone can be a surefire way to blow any chance of being profitable.
There is no moral of the story, and every small business should come up with its own strategy as to what works best. Yet the point remains, don’t just hand out mobile phones and hope for the best. You might not need to be Big Brother, but sometimes making sure that employees understand that even corporate plans don’t mean to go crazy with the text messaging and mobile Web. With great and powerful tools comes some responsibly.