Essential Features of a Telecom Billing System

Essential Features of a Telecom Billing System

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 make precise billing information every time. A robust telco billing platform will also have other important back-office processes integrated.

Key Telecom Billing System Features:

Infrastructure and Security

Look for a system that prioritizes up-time and security. For example, hardware redundancies, failover clusters, off-site back-ups, firewalls, SSL, and VPNs. Find a telecom billing software vendor that is SOC 1 Type 2 compliant. SOC audits evaluate an organization's cybersecurity controls over time. Meaning their safeguards to protect customer data are sufficient and designed correctly.

Taxation Engine

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

Customer Care Web Portals

Reduce customer frustration by finding a billing platform with an integrated web portal. Customers can access online bill presentations, 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 convergent blend of voice, data, video, IoT, labor, and 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. A bonus feature would be a vanity number search by digits or letters.

Quote to Cash Workflows

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 Management

Architecture should be able to manage multi-level partners, distributors, or agents and their commissioning plans.

Automatic Invoicing Capabilities

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 cancellations.

Usage Data Imports and Rating Engine

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 can be configured to detect and mitigate fraud by metering the usage.

Reporting Tools

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.

Partner Ecosystem

Billing vendors with a robust partner program can help you enhance or expand your customer offerings by connecting you with a reliable network of compatible partners and features.

Extensible Architecture

Any billing system under consideration must be able to "fit" within your existing architecture and business processes. Look for a system with APIs, webhooks, and customizable workflows.

Training and Support

At a minimum, the billing system vendor you chose should provide phone support, a 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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