Errors in telecom billing administration lead to an astounding amount of revenue leakage and unhappy subscribers. Having worked with large corporations and small service providers, our integration experts have seen it all.
Here are the seven most common – and most detrimental – functionality gaps our billing software specialists have come up against:
1. No switch auditing
Switch auditing asks a basic question: Do the number of services in your switch match the accounts in your billing system? If not, the difference represents two problems: subscribers currently receiving services without paying for them and services they aren't getting but are paying for.
Unfortunately, without a B/OSS solution that can immediately populate a list of unbilled accounts, your billing department must perform a manual 1:1 comparison to find out which subscribers require corrective actions. To truly remediate the issue, administrators will almost certainly need greater visibility into why services went unbilled. Moreover, CSPs require that same functionality to set up proactive preventive measures against such complications in the future.
2. Too much bypassed traffic
The communications industry loses substantial revenue through misprocessed usage caused by outdated filters set up by mediation providers.
When companies fail to document, review and reassess the configuration of the rules governing bypassed traffic, they expose themselves to the risk of recurring revenue leakage. Although these businesses may pay third-party vendors to oversee the logic therein, their billing teams must possess at least a rudimentary understanding of why their systems bypass traffic to guide their partnered mediation providers intelligently.
3. Permissive permissions
Not enough CSPs invest time and effort into carefully deciding what their representatives can do within their systems. Advanced telecom billing software allows department leaders to establish airtight permissions around crediting customers. When permissions are properly set, employees will no longer have free rein to deduct charges from subscriber accounts, which causes the business to miss out on revenue.
4. Unbilled late fees or penalties
Today, companies have opportunities to grow their revenues with late fees and penalties, but many lack the technology do so effectively. Make no mistake, carriers that cannot reliably levy fees are missing a crucial revenue stream, one whose magnitude will continue to be unknown without a robust billing solution.
5. Unapplied discounts
Forgetting to apply a promotional rate to a subscriber's account may accidentally save a CSP money, but it may also cause that same CSP to hemorrhage customers because of dissatisfaction.
These days, retention is as important in telecom as acquisition. With steep price competition and market saturation, a quick customer churn rate may indicate a large number of subscribers who were lured to a CSP by low costs but were not billed properly and took the error personally. In reality, the cause could be as simple as misconfiguration around, say, total usage versus local usage, which then fails to register the discount as intended.
6. Lax tax application
Taxing or exempting customers incorrectly are two insidious threats to telecom billing accuracy. They are usually caused by either bad data in their current tax engine, lack of an integrated tax engine entirely or the inability to hire in-house telecom tax service specialists dedicated to billing practices. Additionally, some companies may bypass address validations too often, which then do not levy local or county taxes even though state and federal taxes are applied.
In our experience, small CSPs are particularly vulnerable to tax-related complications because they don't have at least one of these three crucial ingredients to properly tax billing:
- Billing systems functionality capable of assessing usage jurisdictions.
- Knowledge regarding how to apply taxes or how tax codes change.
- Intelligent processes designed to streamline billing taxation and self-audit.
Those CSPs that fail to address tax issues tempt fate. They may one day receive a surprise audit that can tie administrators up in knots so badly that the price they pay will far outweigh the cost of attending to the matter when they had the chance.
7. Lack of people
Beyond technological functionality and process management, a dearth of people power also contributes to billing troubles. Understaffed billing departments often instigate, through no fault of their own, more problems than they resolve for obvious reasons. Smaller teams require greater investment into intuitive billing software that can automate tasks and minimize work. Moreover, when users decide to upgrade their B/OSS, it's imperative they assign dedicated project managers to ensure their conversions go as planned. How else will their companies realize the returns on investment for the new capabilities the systems provide?
At IDI Billing Solutions, we built and continue to evolve CostGuard®, our award-winning B/OSS, to address these seven concerns CSPs face and others. We also have the most knowledgeable migration and tax teams in the business. They specialize in telecom, so we continue to provide products and services relevant to modern communications companies.
For more information on CostGuard, our integration team and how IDI Billing Solutions fills the gaps in your telecom billing functionality, contact us today.