Telecom Billing is a make-or-break aspect of the business for the companies. A BriteBill study in 2015 found incorrect billing to be one of the major reasons why customers choose to leave investing in a certain company, with one of out every three customers claiming that their telecom provider does not care about their individual billing issues.
Telecom billing includes the process of collecting information about the client’s data usage, applying the rental charges, presenting the billable amount with a generated invoice, processing payments and monitoring confirmation.
These days, we have a call center software that can automate the telecom billing process, which helps the company to cut down on costs and streamline the process to make it more efficient and accurate.
Software is employed by almost every major player in the telecommunications sector to manage their billing processes.
This includes mobile operators, satellite and cable TV companies, telephone service providers, internet service providers and other parts of the industry.
There are several billing software’s available in the market, and they all aim to perform the same broad thing. However, there are more nuanced factors to be taken into account while choosing the telecom billing software that is right for you and your company.
Despite the obvious importance of having the best software to handle such a crucial aspect of your organization’s business, many companies fail to look beyond the basic functionalities such as pricing and accuracy while choosing their billing platform.
Neglecting other less obvious, but important details could lead to data breaches, incorrect reporting, loss of trust and malicious attempts on your customers’ private information, all of which would lead to a drastic fall in sales and in the reputation of that company in the industry.
Choosing a billing platform that has a real positive impact on your business can be difficult, simply because it is very hard to wrap your head around all of the factors that make your business work at the same time.
To help out, we have provided a list of factors you simply cannot forget, when you are picking your telecom billing software.
Adhering to these verticals will direct you to a software that not only fits your company orientation perfectly, but can also influence smaller changes in the workplace to make everything more efficient and accurate.
1. Pricing: Pretty obviously, businesses are concerned with the amount of investment they have to put in, and the return they can expect.
Different telecom billing software’s have different structures of pricing, so it can be a difficult task to actually compare two different platforms for the value for money that they offer.
However, companies usually have an idea of how much investment they are willing to make, so they can surf the options available within that price bracket.
Software can be purchased in two common options – either a one-time license model where you pay for the software upfront and then use it, or a subscription model where the company pays a monthly or yearly amount to continue using the services of the billing software.
2. Scalability: Scalability is one of the most crucial features of a telecom billing software. Yet, it often gets overlooked by companies, and they suffer for this neglect.
It refers to the ability of the software to take up more and more load as time passes.
Business is expected to grow quickly for successful companies, and having a billing platform that can seamlessly deal with the increasing volume of data and workload can make a very significant difference in how day to day operations are handed and the sort of feedback that elicits from the customers.
3. Security: A billing system needs to safeguard against fraud, and provide complete security to sensitive information entered by the clients.
Attacks are becoming increasingly common and more potent every day, so companies need to invest on platforms that come with security options, stringent privacy settings and the capacity for updates of security protocol.
It also needs to ensure that under no circumstances can people’s private information become available to any public forum.
In case of a breach, the software must send out alerts at once so maximum damage can be prevented and the rest of the data can be cordoned off ensuring it cannot be tampered with.
4. Configurability: As a manager of a business, you would want the power to be able to control and configure settings in a manner that you find best suited to your endeavors.
Picking a billing system that allows you to configure settings, manages interfaces with other running systems, accurately schedules processes and manages pricing, allows you to pool in your resources at the company to other major requirements, while still reaping the benefits of the telecom billing software to its full potential.
5. Flexibility: In an age of automation, customers often complain that they are not given individual focus by the companies.
That is why one of the factors to take into account before picking a billing software is, whether it can flexibly generate data according to the preferences of a specific customer.
Invoice generation, payment processing and communications with the customer are all actions that require individual attention, and a software that scores high on flexibility in these fields is one that is more likely to give a robust, accurate result and influence sales.
6. Agility: Pricing plans, services offered, promotional pitches and other dynamic forms of marketing are never set in stone.
You need billing software that can easily adapt to the introduction of a new product, or a change in rental charges for any particular action, or removing archives of a discontinued service to provide efficient service.
Agility in your software can give you the edge ahead of competitors in the market by swiftly adapting to any change in the market or in customer preferences, and propel you to not only retaining clients, but luring new ones in because your competitors are still trying to convince them to buy into a one-size-fits-all solution.
7. Technology: Obviously, opting for software means the underlying technology will have an important role to play in dictating where your business goes.
Telecom billing software can be cloud-based, on stationed on-premise, or be a hybrid of both. It is important that you do your research about the pros and cons of all of these options to find your best fit.
In addition, your software needs to be one that can easily integrate with the existing CRM setup and gather information from those third-party systems for accuracy.
8. Additional: Modern telecom billing platforms offer more than just basic billing functionalities.
Comprehensive Operations Support Systems provide network management, service assurance and usage collection facilities, among the others.
Operations Support Systems/Business Support Systems (OSS/BSS) software comes with all of these additional functionalities
The Case Study
We have seen what operations a billing software performs, and how crucial a role it plays in the maintenance and growth of business.
Investing in the best call center software dedicated to telecom billing can go a long way in ensuring customer satisfaction, promoting efficiency in the workplace and building stronger bonds with existing customers and generated leads, all of which translates to a betterment in the net result of the company, that is, by taking sales up and increasing profit margins.
To highlight this point, we will take a look at a real-life example that played exactly according to the guidelines that has been outlined here.
The company in question is HawksVale Solutions, a telemarketing agency hired to provide call center solutions for a large telecommunications organization.
In this case study, we will delve into four phases of the company. First, we will take a look at the sort of situation the company found itself in.
Then we will take a look at the specific set of problems they faced and how those problems were affecting their presence in the market.
Next we will talk about the solutions that were drawn up in order to counter these problems. Finally, we will assess whether these changes were indeed sufficient to bring about a positive change, and what sort of a situation was caused due to the implementation of these changes.
The Problem Scenario
HawksVale Solutions is facing heat from customers regarding the service being meted out with regards to telecom billing.
Often, clients note that their billing is inaccurate, or that price changes had not been communicated to them beforehand, or that the customer service help lines were not able to comprehensively answer all of their doubts and clarifications.
As such, the company was losing goodwill and customers were beginning to jump ship in hopes of a better service from their competitor.
At this juncture, the organization needed to bring about quick and effective changes to grab hold of their market share and provide quality service again.
The specific challenges that the company faced in its daily activities are listed below.
1. The telecom billing platform that the company was using had all the functionalities that they required under normal circumstances, but failed to perform when agility was the need of the hour.
The system struggled to keep up with the changes in pricing plans, the introduction of new services and products, etc. This often left customers clueless about the latest developments.
2. The data that customers entered into the system was vulnerable to malicious attacks. The lack of security left many people hesitant to invest in the company.
Reports of a data breach maligned the company’s reputation in the entire industry, and they were struggling to prove their improvement in that regard, because their billing platforms could not support the best of security features.
3. The parent company that hired HawksVale placed its operations under a stringent budget, which left them unable to purchase software that had all of the features they really needed.
This communication gap between the call center and organization was leading to a loss of clients and drop in revenue.
The managers of the company recognized the need to act upon these issues quickly and surely, so as to get back on level terms with their competitors as soon as possible. They drew up the following list of solutions they could implement.
1. The company decided to change the call center software solutions that they were using to fit a more dynamic, heavy and fast-paced market. They decided to opt for the most flexible, secure and scalable model they could find within their budget.
2. Customers were notified of any changes immediately, so that everyone could be given a heads-up well in advance in case of a change in pricing policy, or the introduction of new services and notifications of that nature.
A clear, constant outlet of communication was managed between the company and every individual customer.
3. HawksVale provided a breakdown of the funds they would require, where that money would go, how much they were expecting as a return on that investment, and why that investment is necessary at this present scenario, to its parent organization.
This was done so that the company could clearly understand the circumstances and recognize the need to invest in technology that is essential to retaining clients and trying to reach out to new potential customers.
The changes implemented provided far more accuracy and efficiency in terms of the billing procedure. Within a year of investing in a subscription-based model of telecom billing software, the company was already raising more per month than they were spending on it, a figure which was projected to grow rapidly over the next five years.
Customer satisfaction levels were up, customer attrition dropped to a ten-year low, and sales went up every quarter over the previous one, all in a year of dedicated implementation of the right telecom billing software.
This example goes to show how much of a difference the correct usage of the most efficient software can make to the success of a business.
The factors mentioned in this article take into account different aspects of the business and optimize each one to give the best performance.
Opting for a software that covers all of these bases will surely account for your telecom billing needs.