Recently we were asked this question by leading channel publication, Comms Business. Here’s what our Managing Director, Vincent Disneur, had to say.
Barring a few exceptions, I don’t believe that the C19 pandemic has necessarily changed much about what CPs need from a billing provider. However, due to the challenges caused by Lockdown, CPs have definitely needed their billing vendors to step up and do more of what they were already doing.
Whilst some of our rivals furloughed staff and reduced their support provision, Union Street maintained full service levels without any restriction throughout the lockdown. We proactively contacted our customers to find out if they needed assistance with anything, and introduced initiatives such as our Billing Continuity Service which, in an emergency, enabled our customers to outsource their billing functions to Union Street at short notice. Despite the difficult circumstances, the feedback we received from our partners was amazing and really encouraging.
With regard to the exceptions I mentioned before, we have a number of partners, FourNet for example, that work extensively with clients in the blue light sector, and they did have additional requirements as a result of the pandemic. Due to the tremendous strain the blue light sector was under, it became essential to provide additional levels of care for WLR3 faults and orders. We took advice and recommendations from our partners to see how we could better manage escalations for the blue light sector in response to the pandemic then changed our working practices accordingly.
Whether the effects of the Pandemic will have a lasting impact on the channel remains to be seen. There’s no question that the lockdown provided time and space for many channel businesses to reassess their billing operations and that it exposed many actual or potential vulnerabilities. I think many CPs were forced to ask whether it’s really wise to have critical operations such as billing, dependent on suppliers with limited resources. Our longevity and stability, combined with our robust response to lockdown, gives reassurance to our partners that they can rely on us to scale up quickly and smoothly in response to the unexpected.