Telecommunications is a tricky business when it comes to billing. Large B2B commercial accounts tend to change frequently, and the pricing structures are complicated. MACDs happen all the time, but too often news of those changes doesn’t roll down to your frontline billing team in time—and that’s how billing errors rear their ugly heads.
When your billing system doesn’t reflect those up-to-the-moment product or service changes, there’s no way for billing analysts to know for sure what the customer contracted for, what they ordered, and what was provisioned. Without that critical information, over- or underbilling errors run amok.
Does your team have all the answers?
Before billing your customer, you should clearly understand:
What did the customer buy? What did they order?
Is there a conflict between what they purchased and what they are using?
What is the correct amount we should charge this customer?
What fee recoveries and other unrealized revenue are we entitled to?
If your team is making billing decisions without all the answers, you’re rolling the dice every quarter. Because with every inaccurate bill, the revenue assurance DEFCON level rises. Keep letting it escalate and you risk frustrating customers to the point of them taking their business—and your revenue—elsewhere. Not to mention the onset of major compliance headaches.
When Revenue Assurance is not so sure
During the deal negotiation process, your sales team bakes in a number of Assurance Mechanisms across the various elements of your commercial relationships. While they are well-intentioned to improve deal economics, they can be subject to varied interpretation, and can differ from deal to deal and customer to customer.
This inconsistency leaves your billing team with the task of tracking down these assurance mechanisms, interpreting them, and entering them into the billing system in time to take advantage of the right pricing terms. Converting all of this unstructured information into a format the billing system can accept is no small feat, and a big drain on productivity.
In general, less than 20% of these assurance mechanisms are ever implemented, causing lower than expected customer lifetime value (LTV) realization, lower revenue and margin, and reduces a company’s ability to utilize such mechanisms in the future. And in a telecom industry that’s feeling the pressure to increase margins and revenue per customer, while keeping costs down, you can hardly afford to miss out on these assurances.
How do you capture the revenue you’re due
When your billing team has immediate visibility into the most current state of your commercial relationships, compliance and customer retention risks drop significantly. Account updates, MACDs, assurance mechanisms—all aspects of the relationship organized for relevance and precedence give billing analysts the facts they need to bill accurately.
They can use all economic levers such as CPI uplift, usage restrictions, complimentary products and price holds to slow the decay of maintenance revenue and preserve recurring revenue. They can capture entitled recoveries like price increases, early termination fees, late payment penalties, power pass-throughs. And they can stop unentitled incentives like rebates, discounts, price holds, or discounts on missed revenue or usage commitments and payment terms.
It may sound impossible, but it’s not
Pramata’s Billing Accuracy solution helps you ensure an accurate bill every time, keeping customers happy and maximizing monthly recurring revenue. You’ll have confidence that the most up-to-date billing variables are included in every bill, and that you’re always billing for the right product or service at the right time and for the right amount to the right business entity.
I invite you to take a closer look at our Billing Accuracy solution for telecommunications companies. Or if you’re ready to take the first step right now toward ending the vicious cycle of under- and overbilling, let’s talk!