The business model in telecommunications has traditionally been based on a high-touch model. When a customer needs a new service they either go to a store or pick up a phone and speak to someone. If they want to know about their current bill they do the same thing. The trouble is that over the last few years telecoms have become a highly competitive market place. All this contact costs money and worse – it doesn’t even make the customer happy. The client sees the travel to the store or the wait to speak to someone as an inconvenience.
Customer Self-Service Portals
Telcos that use a convergent billing system find that one of the big advantages of these systems is that they facilitate a move to a customer self-service model. This reduces their operating expenditure while increasing customer satisfaction. This is a win-win approach for the company and its clients.
The Benefits of Customer Self-Service
If a telco moves to convergent billing all the data for a customer, no matter how many services they use, is held in a single repository. This can then be reported on through a web platform that allows customers access to their data – in much the same way that online banking works.
This web platform is known as a customer self-service portal. The customer is able to log on to an interface and decide which services they want. They are able to determine the exact billing status of their account and make online payments towards any outstanding bills they may have. They can request an improved credit limit, and they can find out about any value offerings provided by the operator – all without any waiting or traveling time.
Of course self-service isn’t the only advantage of convergent billing. The platform also provides a lower cost of operations to the operator because it eliminates the need to send out a bill per service used (reducing both admin and often postage costs). It also allows for a higher level of account management when it comes to credit risk. A single account allows for the most accurate calculation of risk to the telecoms provider and thus minimizes the risks of customer default. This is a vital facility when many telcos are struggling to remain profitable in the light of more stringent regulatory frameworks around the world.