All telecoms billing platforms should be able to manage the basics of processing usage records for communications and connectivity services, rating these according to resellers’ tariffs, and generating invoices for resellers’ end customers.
Market leading platforms such as aBILLity can even automate large parts of this process as well as providing comprehensive tools for revenue assurance and analysis.
Providing these functions should be the bare minimum, but many billing platforms will offer much more.
So, what are the more advanced features that resellers will find most useful?
Features to Make Billing Better
Clear and Concise
Additional features that are of benefit to add onto a billing system are anything that makes the billing process easier for the reseller to manage, and anything that puts power into the hands of end customers to facilitate self-service.
As the IT and communications markets increasingly converge, resellers are looking to their billing provider to be able to process different supplier file types in any given format.
A reseller doesn’t want to have to manage different billing systems for different product sets. They want to be able to throw everything into one place and it come out the other side in a clear and concise way that is easy to report on and easy to onward bill to end customers.
Many resellers have a disparate supply chain which brings all sorts of complexity to collating and managing billing data.
Having a strong reconciliation process within a billing system will take a lot of the stress out of managing multiple supplier files every month.
The billing system is often the only place a reseller can access a single view of an end customer and the various products and services they use.
Resellers need a billing platform that can help them demonstrate to their customer how well they are valued and how well they are being managed.
The billing platform is the place where usage comes together with product charges, and a good system will be able to calculate and demonstrate if the end customer is getting value out of what they are paying for.
Better managed customers leads to less churn and gives the reseller an excellent base to grow their business from.
Simple, Speedy Reporting
Once all that data is in one place, what resellers need is for their billing system to provide them with easy ways to report on the gaps in their product spread across their customer base.
The right data analysis tools will support a reseller to produce targeted sales and cross sell marketing campaigns to win more business and drive more revenue.
Billing and provisioning go hand in hand. When a billing system expands into automated provisioning, it’s extremely powerful, saving the reseller time and effort and drastically reducing the risk of incorrect or missed billing.
Portals and apps that link into a billing system are also really beneficial end customer tools which can reduce the cost of service whilst offering a better level of customer service.
Combining automated provisioning with end customer tools enables a reseller to put the power into the hands of the end customer to place orders themselves, directly onto the resellers preferred supplier.
With the billing being automatically generated upon completion of the order, the reseller saves time and effort while proactively driving sales and revenues.
Automation is the key to achieving a high percentage of successful customer onboarding activities, and reducing internal costs associated with new customers.
For lower margin products, it is essential to automate on boarding in order to reduce the timescales to reach profitability. This is also true for all aspects of customer management including invoicing, cash collection, debt management, management reporting, fault handling and reconciliation.
A good billing platform will offer automation in all of these areas and will improve the resellers processes and margin.