Now more than ever, communications services providers (CSPs) need to have the flexibility and agility to respond to changing market conditions. The telecom industry is continually evolving with new technologies that pave the way for future growth and success.
As Deloitte analysts recently pointed out, 5G’s long-foretold arrival will finally come to fruition in 2020, opening new markets for many CSPs. Your telecom billing platform can either be an asset that supports new services and business development, or a liability that stands in the way of reaching your full potential. With the expansion of technologies like 5G and IoT on the horizon, now is a good time for organizations that have held off on upgrading their billing platform to make a change.
If you’re not sure that the time is right to replace your platform, keep an eye out for these seven telltale signs that your legacy solution should be retired.
1. Your billing platform can’t keep up with new services
When launching new services, some organizations find that their billing platforms are not able to account for the increased complexity involved with invoicing. They may not be able to accurately charge users the right amount for all services rendered or account for shifting tax requirements in different markets.
As a result, internal teams get bogged down parsing through everything to produce the correct invoices for customers. That means CSPs have to wait longer to retrieve revenue and employees have less time to spend on other strategic tasks.
Today’s leading telecom billing solutions are designed to account for the nuances and complexities of multi-tiered service platforms that reach various markets. They can simplify billing processes, streamline revenue collection and remove this painful thorn in the side of many CSPs.
2. Your billing processes are not scalable
Expanding into new markets comes with a slew of logistical challenges. In some cases, technical obstacles can stand in the way of business growth and undercut revenue opportunities by requiring an increase in headcount to overcome them.
Billing processes need to be extremely scalable to support rapid business growth without negatively impacting service quality. Many legacy billing platforms are on-prem or in-house solutions that will not support a major increase in user activity – at least not easily.
Meanwhile, a cloud-based billing solution facilitates business expansion by scaling services and capabilities to meet demand.
3. Your billing platform developer no longer supports your platform
There are many concerns with relying on an outdated billing platform, and it’s hard to call out just one, but losing developer support is a huge issue for CSPs. When a company stops releasing patches and software updates, it leaves users in a major bind. Those platforms and applications are left susceptible to bugs, vulnerabilities and malware threats.
Organizations are then left to their own devices to find workarounds. Some may try to pay for ad hoc patching from the original developer. Others may choose to forgo software updates altogether and roll the dice.
Neither option is advisable, and CSPs would be better served to simply replace their aging and outdated platforms with a new solution.
4. Manual billing processes are slowing you down
Billing is an incredibly time-sensitive business process, but many organizations rely on slow, manual workflows to create invoices, charge users and facilitate customer payments. That can mean that revenue collection is delayed while time-consuming billing processes unfold.
Manual billing is also at risk for errors that can lead to inaccurate invoicing and revenue leakage. Switching to a sophisticated billing solution that includes automated workflows and processes accelerates billing and invoicing, reducing costly errors and delivering revenue quicker than ever.
5. Billing discrepancies have become commonplace
A single discrepancy between billed amounts and collected revenue could be a one-off mistake, but if it happens repeatedly, that’s a sure sign there’s an issue with your billing platform. Such issues are more likely to emerge as services, offerings and billing demands become more complex.
When your delivered services, submitted invoices and paid statements don’t line up, more often than not, you’re losing out on revenue. In essence, you’re giving away your services for free – or at best, a discounted rate.
Get your billing practices back on track with a reliable solution that can account for the various nuances of telecom billing and help you capture the revenue you’re owed.
6. Your customer experience could be better
Customer experience strategies often focus on service delivery and user outreach, but don’t overlook the importance of billing and invoicing when building relationships with your customer base. Think of it this way: What’s the most consistent touch point with your users? It’s when they receive an invoice and pay their bill.
Any issue that creates friction during the billing process can negatively impact customer experience and potentially increase churn rates. For instance, users who have been overcharged on their invoices multiple times will likely start looking around for a different service provider.
Unapplied discounts or other promotional offers are just as likely to frustrate customers who may feel like they have been lured in by bait-and-switch tactics. The problem may be that there was an error with the billing platform, but that won’t mean much to dissatisfied users.
Protect your revenue and keep customers in the fold by upgrading to a high-quality telecom billing solution that charges each customer precisely what is owed – discounts and all.
7. Your organization just merged or has plans to acquire
Mergers and acquisitions are fairly common in the telecom world, with companies favoring this approach to building out their services, capabilities and market footprints. Bringing two disparate organizations together or planning to acquire additional companies is a major undertaking, however, and reconciling different internal processes, applications and platforms can take years to sort out.
Finding a modern, comprehensive billing platform that meets requirements for all stakeholders should always be a top priority following a merger or acquisition. Integrating existing systems may be extremely difficult and expensive to accomplish – not to mention, it may lead to additional errors in billing processes.
Rather than taking on the arduous task of updating legacy billing systems, use a new merger or acquisition as an opportunity to upgrade to a better solution. Feature-rich, cloud-based telecom billing platforms help position organizations for whatever developments arise in the future, offering scalability, reliability and streamlined automation.
If these signs seem all too familiar to your organization, contact IDI Billing Solutions today to learn more about choosing the right billing, automation and workflow solution.