Simplify Complex Billing Tasks with Telecom Billing Software

Being a telecom professional, I have been questioned many times about the trustworthiness of telecom billing. Whenever my friends or relatives get a bill that they think is too high, they call me up and tell me how they hardly ever use their phone and only make short calls. It’s another matter that these calls are frequent, last for over an hour sometimes and I am the one who is striving to end them. Alas, the customer is always right!

It is often hard to satisfy customers, especially in the current state of affairs, when the telecom market is probably at its competitive apotheosis. All good logics stop being useful when there is a cheaper service available that promises better quality calls and higher data rates. So, should we truly consider that the customer is always right or believe in the telecom billing software solutions employed by us and stand up for what is right? I agree with the latter and it is all because of the trust I have in the telecom OSS solutions that we use today.

Telecom Billing Software: The Lifeline of Telecom Industry

With new customers joining the network frequently and many individuals using more than one SIM, the number of subscribers in the telecom industry has reached an all-time high. The task of keeping a record of all the interactions that go on between the user and the service provider has become tougher than ever before. Given the magnitude of the task at hand, the telecom billing software solutions have become extremely important. If you are wondering how these billing solutions get the job done, then have a look at some of their implications in crucial telecom billing tasks:

  1. One of the biggest gripes customers have had with the billing system has been the lack of transparency and clear bifurcation of various charges that make up the total bill amount. Telecom billing software allows for complete itemization of the bill, so that customer knows exactly for which services he has been charged for. Whenever my friends doubt the bill amount they receive, I tell them to subscribe for itemized bill over emails and get clarity (I am all for saving paper). Most of them do not call me back after seeing the bill details.
  2. Once my father-in-law asked me that he hasn’t received the 5% rating time discount over the international call he made to me. I had to clarify to him that this 5% rating time discount covers only the first hour of any international call. As he had already exceeded the time limit before he made the call to me, it wasn’t applicable in this particular case. If he was getting a billing time 5% discount than the offer would have been applicable on all the calls.

The fact that billing system can automatically differentiate between the  various discounts and offers provided by the service provider makes it a reliable and convenient mode to track complex transactions.

The above mentioned implications are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the usefulness of telecom billing software. When combined with other telecom OSS solutions, it works wonders in the overall billing and customer tracking activities. For those of you who do not know about OSS, it is a system that performs back-office processes and ensures proper operation of a telecom service provider’s network.

OSS and BSS Integration

In the past, OSS and BSS were seen as two distinct entities with one dependent over another. Formerly, BSS used to capture customer details and forwarded it to OSS for completion. Nowadays, the demarcation is not clear and most telecom billing services employ an OSS/BSS paradigm that performs remarkably well in better implementation of the following systems:

Service Assurance System – OSS/BSS liaison allows for pro-active identification of network failure along with notification of priority customers. This ensures service providers can nip the problem in the bud, unlike in the past, when they came to know about a failure much later.

Service Management System – With greater interactions between OSS and BSS operations, it is possible to complete a service order that involves multiple OSS systems. With OSS and BSS integration, a team that interacts with customer becomes better equipped as they get access to real-time information about progression of a task and delivery problems.

 

Need of the hour: Integration of OSS and BSS Services

The operational support systems (OSS) and Business support systems (BSS) are often interchangeably used in the industry. Both are essentially systems for provisioning customer service to telecom operating companies. However there is a thin line of difference between the two. Let’s first understand both.

The focus of OSS is on the status of operation of business transactions. The BSS on the other hand focuses on interface with the actual customer who is the end user of the business services.

The purpose of OSS is basically to generate and maintain data regarding the status of facilitates and network provisioning to the customers.

At every level of an operating system, there are separate management systems which are customized and configured according to the vendor. All of these distinct systems for different vendors together constitute OSS. The OSS solution also has inbuilt ability to highlight inconsistencies, errors, faults and also helps in identifying its causes. Most OSS billing software have the ability to automatically rectify, once the instructions for rectification are fed. Usually the technical staff of the company manages OSS and monitors its functioning.

The purpose of BSS is to deal directly with the customers and the consequent revenue stream generated through this customer interaction. BSS solution helps in customer care, order management, service/product delivery management etc.
Being the point-of-contact for customers, BSS is responsible for performing various functions like billing, activation, trouble-shooting etc.
It is the one responsible for keeping a track of all the customer issues and ensuring they are resolved. The staff which engages with customers, like a customer care call center, makes us of this BSS solution.

As is clear from the above explanation, both OSS and BSS are distinct and they have different roles to play. However, their roles are complimentary to each other. If the OSS is updated and well-maintained, then the staff providing BSS services would be able to update the customers also in real-time.

The ultimate goal of both OSS and BSS is customer satisfaction and retention. A better alignment and coordination of effort by the back-end staff providing OSS and the front end staff providing BSS is therefore essential.

As telecom operators are now taking charge of selling value added services directly to the customers, there is an emerging need for integrating BSS and OSS solutions. The telecommunications industry today needs efficiency in CRM (Customer Relationship Management). So that the customer care agent should be able to immediately provide information to the calling customer. For instance it will not be possible to answer a customer who asks about VAS order status if the OSS does not feed data into the BSS.

Now one finds that all the vendors providing OSS services are also providing BSS services as well for both postpaid and pre-paid mobile users. The industry has realized that both systems are interdependent and the business needs an amalgamated solution to achieve the business goals.

CareTel cares for Agents too!

Every business makes tall claims of customer care. Some say they would like to treat their customers as kings and others say they will be available even in midnight – round the clock, for customer service. But it is ironic how the business forgets to care for own Employees. The employees who serve in the Call Centers or Telecom Billing institutions are called as Agents. Yes, yes the spy heroes are also called as Agents but this post is not about them. We are talking about how a telecom company can care for its Agents by making their job easier to do.
CareTel the custom-made OSS Billing software, which can further be customized as per your specific requirements, is the notable telecom billing solution which cares not just for the customers but also for the Agents. How? CareTel has the following features to make the life easier for Agents:

  • Portal for Agents

The Agents get complete information about the customers’ account, the services subscribed by them, any new service requests, details of their invoice, the payments already made, everything online! They can also see the commission reports on the web through this portal. Obviously the access to this portal is restricted strictly to Agents.

  • Locator system for Agents

Many times the customers are required to meet an Agent to exchange documents or for verification. As an Agent based in a different city than the customer, co-coordinating this meeting becomes a difficult task which starts with contacting the branch office of another city and then fixing up the whole thing. CareTel makes it simple with its Agent Locator where data is fed about locations of all the Agents, and one can easily contact the one closest to the customer.

  • Commission platform for Agents

The Agents are often driven by commissions and they play a big role in motivating them to achieve targets. With an in-built platform for processing of commission amount through ACH or Credit Card, the Agents get their earned commissions conveniently.

That is why if you are a business who cares for own Agents also, then go for CareTel!