Things to Look for When Selecting a Telecom Billing Software Vendor

Billing for telecom is a complicated process. If accounts and services are incorrectly billed, it can lead to lost revenue. The ability to produce both accurate and timely invoices is paramount. The software platform you select should be able to produce precise billing information every-time.

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A robust telco billing platform will have other important back-office processes integrated as well.

Here are some key telecom billing features to look for:

Infrastructure and Security – Look for a system that prioritizes up-time and security. For example: hardware redundancies, fail over clusters, off-site back-ups, firewalls, SSL and VPNs.

Customer Experience – Reduce customer frustration by finding a billing platform which includes an integrated web portal. Customers can access online bill presentment, account summaries and usage history. The portal should allow secure payment methods, with the ability to set autopay. An integrated help desk/trouble management component is helpful as well.

Flexible Billing Cycles – Because all customer requirements are unique, you should be able to bill customers on a one-time, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or yearly basis.

Unified Product Catalog – Modern telecom offerings include a blend of voice, data, video, IoT, labor or hardware. Your billing app should handle multiple tiers of pricing, product bundling, discounts and promotions.

Number Management – Billing software should be able to manage all of your NANP number inventories in one centralized place. Bonus feature would be a vanity number search by digits or letters.

Quote to Cash – An ideal system would generate flexible customer quotes with an E-signature workflow. Approved quotes could trigger workflows to automatically convert items into billable services... maximizing your cash flow.

Commissioning – Architecture should have the ability to manage partners, distributors or agents and their commissioning plans.

Auto Invoicing – Another "nice-to-have" feature is automatic invoice generation. Invoices can get transmitted to customers when purchasing a service for the first time, during renewals or after making cancellations.

Usage Data – Telecom call data can include millions of records. A billing system should be able to handle data imports every 5-15 minutes from multiple usage sources. Data alarms could be configured to detect and mitigate fraud.

Reporting – Make sure you have access to your data when you need it. Ad hoc and canned data reports are helpful when analyzing financial data for accounting or auditing purposes.  Consider this a "must-have "feature.

Taxation – Another "must-have "feature is often overlooked, but essential for FCC regulatory compliance reasons. Up-to-date tax tables contain codes which can be looked up "on-the-fly" during the usage rating process.

Existing Infrastructure – Any billing system under consideration must be able to "fit" within your existing architecture and business processes.  Look for a system with API's, web hooks and customizable workflows.

Training and Support – At a minimum, the billing system vendor you chose should provide phone support, training portal, webinars, and/or access to a help desk ticketing system.
There are many telecom billing systems out there. Start by defining your requirements. This will make it easier to find the software which best fits your needs.
Related article: Telecom Billing Vendors Checklist

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