Billing Software: How Self-Service Can Be Key to Locking Out the Competition

Easier, better, cheaper – the demands of the consumer have become those of the enterprise too.

Since when did that happen?

Since when has that most unsophisticated of wish lists become an ever-present daily mantra for those running complex businesses?

Answer: it’s always been the elusive Holy Grail; it’s just that ever-evolving technologies have now matured to make it an oh-so-matter-of-fact expectation.

Automation and self-service are the big enablers.

Deploy any degree of either and enterprises really can begin to shift the efficiency dial.

And improved efficiency always equals increased productivity and, ultimately, enhanced profitability.

Self-service, in particular, has the power to transform in that way.

And nowhere can increased self-service make the most immediate difference to enterprises’ bottom lines than in the area of billing.

“Over the last two years we have seen a rapid evolution in the way we work, with business users coming to expect the same levels of simplicity and efficiency in their work interactions as they experience in their personal lives,” says Vincent Disneur, Managing Director at leading UK telecoms billing and provisioning software provider Union Street Technologies, whose market-leading aBILLity billing platform now boasts the smart, new ‘Billnow’ self-service management portal which delivers on those demands.

“Enterprises want an increasingly broad range of options to self-manage and control the services they buy from the channel. It is now a powerful differentiator capable of keeping customers loyal and locking out competition.”

Self-serve simplicity is of course inextricably linked to that other giant differentiator: user experience.

Refreshingly – and in stark contrast to price – the UX revolution has created an ongoing (and brilliantly innovative) race to the top as opposed to the bottom.

“Enterprise customers in the telecoms market have always expected basics like quality and fair pricing, but now they also have more modern expectations such as proactive service, personalised interactions and connected experiences across the whole spectrum of digital channels,” says Sam Dennahy, Product Owner at Union Street Technologies.

“The consumerisation of B2B customer service means that those end user enterprises are demanding more from their technology reseller. They want fast turnarounds, more ways of communicating, and they want more self-service.

“Our own resellers are reporting that they are under increasing pressure from their customers to provide more ways for them to help themselves rather than calling or emailing the reseller.

“As a result, resellers are looking for tools which can put information directly into their customers’ hands and empower that self-service experience. It puts the end user customer in greater control of their own services and makes it easy for them to interact with their reseller at the right time and in the most appropriate way.”

In the case of Union Street Technologies’ margin-rich aBILLity platform, its new, optional Billnow portal enables resellers’ customers to view up to the minute changes in usage, conduct their own reporting, and make changes to their services.

Users are able to perform SIM swaps, check associated networks and SIM numbers themselves, and set bars for certain services.

The white-label portal features a user-friendly, modern design that can be customised to complement branding, and additional products, services and special offers can be displayed within strategically-positioned advertising panels.

All at once, it responds to the key areas of focus for today’s smarter enterprises.

“We take pride in understanding market trends and getting to the heart of what our resellers  want and need from us as a partner,” says Dennahy.

“Customer experience; self-service; omni-channel communication functionality; and proactive service are the four big areas of focus for most organisations. These are playing a big role in our understanding of what our resellers want from our software.

“With pricing becoming increasingly regulated, and the increasingly-common offer of unlimited packages, resellers are looking for new ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

“Customer experience is becoming much more of an important factor for customers when choosing a supplier and the ability to provide self-service functionality options is a big and important part of that.”

It seems the traditional B2B market may have morphed into more of a B2C one.

And, as is so often the case in the channel, that spells opportunity for those resellers who pick the right partner with the right solution at the right time.

This article was originally published on UC Today.