I recently added a blog on how simple it can be for data resellers to offer voice services such as VoIP which you can find here, but choosing a billing platform that augments those services is also pivotal for success.
Once you have chosen your preferred method of sourcing converged voice solutions for your customers, you have to establish a billing platform to invoice those services. If you have partnered with a network wholesaler and they are billing the customer direct, then this function is covered. Even if you are invoicing the customer and taking white-labelled services from the network wholesaler, they may still provide the billing under your brand.
There are however, substantial advantages to having your own billing platform. Most obviously it puts you in control and you have the reassurance that all the services you are providing to customers are being billed accurately, rather than taking this on trust. Voice billing charges can rise rapidly to over £100,000 a month so accuracy is critical.
Having your own billing platform also allows you to provide consolidated single-source billing for all types of comms services including data and mobiles as well as fixed line voice telephony from multiple carriers. Coherent, consolidated billing is a major selling point for customers and can be as important to them as cost savings. In addition the billing platform can be used for other types of contractual arrangements such as software licenses that you are providing.
Many data resellers that move into the voice telephony reseller market assume that the process of billing is complex and time consuming. With the latest billing platforms such as our aBILLity platform this is certainly not the case. The product automates many processes around CDR (call data record) processing and rating whilst also providing tools for revenue assurance, margin analysis, reporting and managing customers and their services.
It’s also worth considering how you would like the billing platform to be provided. Starting off you may prefer to use a bureau service where the billing platform is managed for you, usually for a pre agreed percentage of the monthly billing value. Alternatively a licence for the billing platform to run on your own hardware is also commonplace and many billing software vendors will also provide a hosted alternative which offers many benefits.
Greater sophistication can be achieved with online, real-time reporting via the web. This will allow your customers to access telecoms billing information from a secure web portal in real-time, which is a terrific selling point for larger customers, especially those operating contact centre operations.
Authored by Vincent Disneur, Head of Sales for Union Street