Types of Services & Standard Billing Process | Introduction to Billing

The control of a billing system is usually under the finance department. Billing systems are often viewed as accounts receivable as the billing system assists in the collection (receipt) of money from customers. Billing systems are also is part of accounts payable (for inter-carrier settlements) as customers often use services from other companies such as long distance and call completion through other networks. The network operator is usually financially responsible for services provided to their customers by other networks regardless if the customer pays for the service or not.

Types of Services

There types of services that a customer may use in a network include system access (basic information transfer), information processing (such as email), and content delivery (current traffic information for example). When the communication service involves system access through different networks, the call is normally routed through a toll center and a toll charge may apply. A toll is any message telecommunications charge for services provided beyond a local calling area.

Examples of system access services include plain old telephone service (POTS), integrated services digital network (ISDN), digital subscriber line (DSL), and other data connectivity services that transfer information between points. Information processing services include phone card (Telecard), voice mail, fax store and forward, and other services that involve the processing of information that is passed between two or more points. Content delivery involves linking customers to sources of information content and transferring the content to the end customer. Examples of content delivery include weather advisory services, stock quotes, and the delivery of other sources of information that the customer requests.

Standard Billing Process

The typical billing process involves collecting usage information from network equipment (such as switches), formatting the usage information into records that a billing system can understand, transferring these records to the billing system, assigning charge fees to each record, receiving and recording payments from the customers, and creating invoices.

Figure 1 shows a standard billing process. In this diagram, the customer calls customer care or works with an activation agent to establish a new wireless account. The agent (customer care) enters the customer’s service preferences into the system, checks for credit worthiness, and provides the customer with a phone number so that the customer may make and receive calls through the telephone network. As the customer makes calls, the connections made by the network (such as switches) create records of their activities. These records include the identification of the customer and other relevant information that are passed onto the billing system. The billing system also receives records from other carriers (such as a long distance service provider, or a roaming partner). The billing system now guides and updates these call detail records (CDRs) to their correct customer and rating information. As information about the customer is discovered (e.g. rate plan), the updated billing records are placed in a billing pool so that they may be combined into a single invoice that is sent to the customer. The customer then sends his payment to the telecom service provider. Payments are recorded in the billing system. History files are then updated for the use of customer service representatives (CSRs) and auditing managers.

Figure 1: Standard Billing Process. Source: The Billing College

1 comment:

Danielle said...

Great post about the different types of services. This is really worth reading for. Thank you so much for the share. It was very much appreciated. By the way, hoping to read more about services specifically customer service. More power to you and your blog.


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