In a fiercely competitive industry where the commoditisation of connectivity services is driving end-user pricing as low as possible, reducing costs is a key factor for the long term success of all resellers.
In the second of our Value Add of Billing series, we look at how you can reduce costs through your billing system.
A modern and intelligent billing system can add a huge amount of value to your business. Our aim is to showcase this value through this series. Future posts will cover how to optimise margin, increase productivity, improve customer experience and ensure compliance.
To find out how you can increase sales through your telecoms billing platform, read The Value Add of Billing: Increasing Sales.
How to reduce costs through your billing system
1. Buying data in bundles
One of the major ways to reduce your costs is to buy group data bundles from your network suppliers, then re-bundle them for your individual end-customer accounts. For instance, you can buy 100GB of shared data and then sell it on as 10 bundles of 10GB. This results in classic economies of scale where you have more buying power and can purchase the data for cheaper, thereby reducing your costs.
It is important that your billing system can provide this disconnect between what you buy and sell. Our software, ZOEY, enables the re-bundling of data packages to your end customers, separate from any purchased arrangements between the reseller and the supplier. ZOEY’s in-depth reporting capabilities ensure bundle allocations can be optimised based on actual consumption data, preventing disparities between a customer’s purchased and available data allowances.
2. Self-serve functionality
Offering customers self-serve functionality not only improves customer satisfaction and reduces the chance of ‘bill shock’, but it has multiple internal benefits too.
Allowing customers to check their own usage, set spent limits, create alerts, manage bolt-ons and even perform SIM swaps puts them in control. It also reduces your billing overheads by reducing the need for large headcounts in your support team. In essence, the number of support calls is reduced as the user can answer all their quick questions within the platform.
With less support calls, your team can focus on more complex issues, delivering a better level of service and reducing ‘time to resolution’. It means they can spend more time on training or other internal projects.
Empowering your customers to be more self-sufficient can significantly reduce your billing overheads and costs.
3. In-built helpdesk
Having an in-built helpdesk means you don’t have to pay for multiple systems, for instance a billing and CRM system. ZOEY already offers an in-built helpdesk which provides:
- Full SLA tracking
- User Permissions
- Department Tagging
- File attachment
This can be particularly important for newer resellers and can help keep costs down.
4. In-built contract management suite
Similar to the point above, having an in-built contract management suite helps lower costs by reducing the numbers of systems required. For instance, using ZOEY’s contract management suite can save your billing managers considerable time when calculating ETFs. ZOEY will automatically calculate and display the remaining contract value, meaning a quick resolution if the customer does decide to terminate the service.
5. Advanced reporting capabilities
Billing accurately requires vigilance. Previously, this would entail scouring spreadsheets for values that ‘seemed wrong’, putting the responsibility for catching missing charges on the billing team. While ZOEY can’t 100% remove that pressure, it makes it more manageable by automating many of the processes required to ensure a time-efficient bill run that maximises revenue and reduces billing overheads.
Any loss-making services need to be resolved before invoices are billed. ZOEY’s ‘Unallocated Usage’ tab alerts billers to any imported CDRs that cannot be billed. Admins can easily understand the cause with clear reasons and wizard-based functions designed around specific scenarios. This enables quick resolutions and allows resellers to be proactive, not reactive!
Another way ZOEY helps billers become more proactive is with its range of automated reports. Admins can keep an eye on margins, usage, spend and more using whichever metric (percentage, currency value, M-o-M change etc.) is most appropriate. This is an incredibly cost and time-efficient way to highlight accounts that may be ready for upselling to a higher bandwidth or data cap.
6. Bulk Management of data and automation
Many legacy billing platforms only allow users to manage their data on a one-by-one basis. This can be fiddly and time consuming. By contrast, our ZOEY platform uses a wizard-led, modern, clean and easy-to-use interface that enables users to bulk remove and replace services, all in just a few clicks.
We have enhanced our batch and bulk update functionalities to cover billable services, cost centres, usernames and contract end-dates, alongside the more typical bulk changes (product, add-ons, ratings, bars etc). What may take hundreds of clicks on another billing platform, only takes a couple through ZOEY.
These efficiencies not only increase productivity and reduce billing overheads, they also take human error out of the equation, resulting in more accurate bills and better cashflow.
Another good example of the benefit is with yearly RPI increases. With our bulk update functionalities, we can update RPI changes for our partners free of charge in a matter of minutes!
7. Cloud Software
Billing is a business-critical system that is vital to your operation. If you are still using an on-premise solution, we strongly recommend considering a Cloud solution. This will reduce your costs by reducing investment in hardware, facilities, utilities and software updates.
Cloud solutions provide 24/7 access and availability for a predictable fixed fee. Included in this fee are software updates, backup and security, making it easier to budget.
By working with Tekton Billing, you can take a massive weight off your mind and your wallet! ZOEY is a scalable, secure and user-friendly cloud billing platform that is offered as an all-inclusive solution with no hidden extras or out-of-term penalties.
Billing can make or break a telecoms company. The right billing system can help improve your margins, better service your customers and reduce your costs.
Read our contribution, Creating a Competitive Advantage with Billing, featured within Comms Business magazine to find out more.
Keeping costs down is the holy grail for all businesses. When it comes to billing and reducing costs, your billing platform can play a huge part. The ability to buy data in bulk and disconnect your billing from your wholesale supplier and retail customer enables you to reap economies of scale and manipulate pricing. You can also reduce your billing overheads with self-serve functionality, in-built features, automation and bulk data management.
“The team at Tekton have been brilliant with our system migration project. Knowledgeable, thorough and very helpful and quick to respond. The system itself blows the other systems I’ve used out of the water and makes the billing process quick and easy. The customer portal functionality is fantastic and allows self-service for customers that not even the big networks offer. They may be fairly new on the scene compared to some of their competitors but this has allowed them to re-think how a billing system should work and man it’s good.”