It's Crazy Efficient
Our retail telcos enjoy unprecedented levels of staff productivity because TBill 3 handles a lot of the day to day tasks involved in running an inbound telco.
- Seamless Client Onboarding – TBill 3 allows for a fully automated signup process for customers wanting a brand new number, including instant service activation. It handles account creation, service configuration and payment processing, resulting in a smooth and satisfying experience for new customers, and a low-touch process for telco staff.
- Customer Self Service – Through the customer portal, integrated into each telco’s own website, their customers can manage everything from service configurations to plan changes in real time. This level of customer enablement results in vastly reduced overhead per customer for each member of the telco’s staff, allowing them to focus on higher order functions such as proactive account management.
- Automated Billing and Invoicing – Customers are invoiced automatically and dependably every month from the day they sign up, without need for human involvement. Recurring fees and usage charges are automatically created and updated as customers add services and change their rates, all of which they can do themselves via the online self-service customer portal.
- Reliable Payment Processing – Via multiple 3rd-party payment providers TBill 3 automatically ensures that all outstanding direct debit invoices are processed on their due date.
- Bulletproof Credit Control – TBill 3 makes a number of techniques available through which telcos can manage the risks associated with providing paid-for services online. Firstly there are 3 possible billing modes for any given customer account.
- Prepaid – Requires that customers always be in credit otherwise their services will be automatically suspended (and likewise re-activated when they make a payment to get back into credit).
- Invoice – Allows customers to pay in arrears for their services.
- Direct Debit – Similar to Invoice but the customer’s payment will be processed automatically on the due date.
In addition TBill 3 provides a configurable credit control process which can send reminders to customers who are long-term in arrears and ultimately result in them being switched to pay-in-advance automatically, thus suspending their services until their debt is settled, which they can do at any time via the online customer portal.
It's Packed with Features
In addition to the above mentioned benefits, TBill 3 comes with a swathe of features for telcos and their customers to enjoy.
- Call Routing Features - The following routing features are available, and can be chained together in any combination imaginable.
- Simple Answer Point: Nominate any mobile, standard national or inbound number as the destination for an inbound call.
- Whispers: TBill 3 will tell you it's a business call as soon as you answer.
- Announcements: Upload audio files or use text-to-speech to make announcements to your callers at any time during the call flow.
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR Menus): Guide your callers to the correct department through a series of audio menus with touch-tone response. Each menu can have up to 10 prompts, and can be nested arbitrarily deep.
- Round Robin: Balance the call load across multiple staff or departments, where each subsequent call goes to the next destination in the list, before returning to the top of the list to start again. Each destination can make use of any of the available features, from a simple answer point to a full IVR menu.
- Simultaneous Ring: Another way of balancing calls across multiple destinations, this will dial all of the destinations at once and the first to pick up takes the call. In this case destinations must be Simple Answer Points since other feature types will pick up immediately, however if none of the destinations pick up, the call can overflow to any other feature type.
- Voice to Email: Upload a custom greeting or use text-to-speech, and ask your callers to leave you an audio message which will be emailed to one or more nominated email addresses.
- Fax to Email: Accept faxes without a fax machine and they will be emailed to one or more nominated email addresses.
- Time Based Routing: Direct calls based on the time of day and day of the week. For example have calls directed to your IVR menu during business hours, and straight to Voice to Email after hours.
- Reporting - Over a dozen interactive reports let telcos stay across everything from activations and call volumes through to overdue invoices and payments.
- Rating - Flexible call charging allows each plan to specify a monthly service fee and an included value.
- In addition to the usual types of call rates (minute rate, minimum cost etc), feature-specific rates can also be applied to any feature used by the service. For example a flag fall can be charged for each Announcement. You can even specify a monthly fee which will be pro-rated to just the days of the month during which the feature was active on the service.
- Telcos can define international rates at the plan level, and as global defaults to fall back to.
- Customers can peruse these rate details in realtime in the "plans" section of their customer portal and can change their plan at any time, up to once per month per service.
- There is built-in support for "promotional rates" whereby all customer who sign up for "Plan X" can be transitioned to "Plan Y" after a certain period.
- Billing and Invoicing - Many billing platforms perform a big bill run once per month for all customers which can often takes hours, and sometimes days to complete. TBill 3 avoids this by doing things differently. Firstly, anniversary billing means each customer's "bill run" day is the day of the month on which they signed up. This spreads the load across the month for staff handling account queries. Secondly TBill 3 performs daily snapshot bill runs in the background which keeps each customer's bill run current, so that on their bill run day there's not much left do to other than email them their PDF. And of course all of this happens automatically in the background, like clockwork.
Everything from instant activation of new services during signup through to routing changes and balance updates happens in real time. Our telco partners benefit from things like real-time credit control and service suspension for out of credit customers. And end users love that they don't have to craft an email or make a phone call just to change their routing, they just do it through their online portal and their routing changes take effect immediately, sparing them the usual hours-to-days turnaround they may have experienced at other telcos without a real-time platform.
It Looks the Business
Both the front end customer portal and the backend administrative portal were designed by a dedicated user experience team. Too often user interfaces are constructed, or worse yet, automatically generated from the low level data structures used in the database. This saves a lot of engineering time and effort, but results in a user interface that only really makes sense to the engineers who built it, leaving real users frustrated and potentially confused. This results in more support calls and busier staff.
Applying proper design rigour to the front end makes for a superior user experience for telco staff and end users alike. We're also incredibly careful about not just the features we put in, but also the ones we leave out, ensuring that the interface is only as complex as absolutely necessary to support the vast majority of end user requirements. For every rarely used feature that could possibly be added, we carefully consider the corresponding detrimental affect it could have by cluttering up the interface for the majority of users who will never use that feature. This again reduces the number of calls to support staff.
It's Secure by Default
TBill 3 uses industry standard APIs, encryption algorithms and techniques to secure access to all customer and telco staff accounts, as well as encrypting all data at rest.
On top of this, at the core of every component in TBill 3 is a domain-aware security checker that inspects every data payload as it comes into or out of the application. For example when a customer clicks on a service to see its full details, the user interface passes the service ID payload to the backend, requesting the full service details in response. The security checker understands that the service matching the given service id must belong to a customer, and that customer must match the currently logged in customer, otherwise the request will be denied.
This is an efficient and effective security model because it ensures that once a specific type of payload has been secured, all future API endpoints which use that payload type will be automatically secured as well. Also, if the checker comes across a request for a data payload that it hasn't been programmed to recognise (and thus doesn't know how to check) it defaults to denying that request. This prevents any new API payloads from making their way to production without the corresponding security checks also being put in place, since the API simply won't work without them.
Toll fraud and denial-of-service (DOS) attacks are also a common vector of attack for telephony systems. While TBill 3 only allows call traffic exclusively to and from our upstream carriers, they can still sometimes be a source of fraudulent call activity (despite some of them using Toll Shield internally). TBill 3 uses custom call rate limiting at the entry and exit points as an extra level of protection for our telcos and their customers.