Boerne, Texas 78006
and billing can be complicated.
Contact: CACC, Inc.
Carolyn Arnold took the phrase, "keep it in the family" to heart when she decided to start her own business back in 1987.
Six of her Boerne-based company's 12 employees are Arnold's family members. Together, the family has a common goal: saving money for their customers.
CACC Inc. (Carolyn Arnold Communications Consultant) specializes in helping its customers receive cost-effective telephone service and equipment. The company accomplishes this goal by offering services such as auditing, analysis and management of clients' existing telephone systems, as well as offering assistance in choosing new services.
To that end, the Arnolds have saved their clients, which include private businesses, schools and large corporations, millions of dollars through auditing their bills and checking their existing services and equipment.
"Our claim to fame is getting (clients') money back," says Carolyn Arnold, president and chief executive officer of CACC. "We get it back for people who have been overcharged. We research the tariff rates, and then we go to the telephone companies and present a claim. Then we wait for them to do their research."
In fact, the Arnolds claim to have a 90 percent to 95 percent success rate in their claims. Aaron Arnold, Carolyn's son and tariff analyst for the company, attributes that success rate to the amount of work that goes into each claim.
"We do very good research," he says. "(Telephone companies) know that when we have made a claim, we have thoroughly researched it."
CACC offers its services to a variety of businesses, but Carolyn says that a large portions of its work comes from financial institutions.
"We don't care how big or small, we love to work with banks," Carolyn says, "They appreciate our services."
She explains that many problems in billing stems from businesses and customers not understanding the charges on their phone bills. Other times, she says, customers aren't given clear answers from their phone-service providers.
"A customer should be able to call a phone number on their bill to resolve their problem on that phone call," she says. "Telephone billing is so complicated."
Sandy Guillaudeu, information systems manager for UETA Inc., a duty-free distributor, says that they have had a relationship with CACC since 1988, and that the Arnold family's auditing and analysis services have been invaluable to the company.
"(CACC) has saved us a substantial amount of money," he says. "They help us to keep track of what (telephone services) we are and aren't using. I am very pleased with what they have done for us, and I would hate to have to work without them."
A True Vet
Carolyn Arnold certainly has experience in the telecommunications industry. She spent 23 years working for Southwestern Bell in different regions, including Laredo and San Antonio. At one time, she even did auditing for Southwestern Bell. When she lost her job in 1984 with the communications company due to the Bell/AT&T break-up, she says that there were not a lot of options for her.
"I only knew telephones," she recalls. "It really felt like nobody needed me."
However, in 1987 Carolyn says her oldest daughter, Michael, approached her and told her they could do the same work on their own. Soon, daughters Lynette, Georgeanne and son Aaron came aboard, and Carolyn even got her husband involved with the company, as the executive director of the company's building in Boerne. He takes care of all maintenance and renovations, and even does some public relations work as needed.
"I thought we'd only have the business for a couple of years," Carolyn says. "The truth is that we can't move fast enough," she adds, in reference to the amount of business the firm has chalked up.
Carolyn says that it is a testament to her family's commitment to each other and their business, that the Arnolds have been able to make things work. The family literally paid the price during one bleak period in the business' history.
"There was a time when every Arnold left their commission and left their (salary) in the company to keep it afloat," she says. "But we held tight and we crunched up where we could."
The sacrifice helped the company ride out the storm.
"Things turned around," she adds. "They went so well that last year I was able to set up a retirement fund for everyone. This just proves that you can never give up."
Carolyn says that the business can only get better in the years to come, as the competition among local and long-distance phone companies heats up. Where there are more companies and phone service, she says, there will be more billing headaches that will bring a calling for her services.
"I want customers to feel safe about their billing," she says. "Whether they save a lot or not To me,it is not the amount. It's the principle. My whole goal is to have correct bills, and with all of the companies now saying that they can provide services, it's only going to get better for us."
Small Business Weekly, Published Sept. 22, 2000
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