What are the Benefits of Revenue Assurance in Telecommunications?

Businesses within the telecommunications industry deal with complex billing processes, especially when working in B2B conditions. Many businesses operate multiple tariffs, and – particularly for business clients – negotiate various discounts, as well as deal with historical charges. The complexity of this can lead to inaccurate billing caused by human error and compounded by scattered or out-of-date contract information.

To avoid revenue leakage caused by inaccurate billing, Revenue Assurance reviews the data that has been invoiced to a client and ensures that it complies with the usage and the details that have been defined in the contract. This way, revenue assurance can proactively identify revenue leakage caused by wrong data and claim any owed money back from the client before it lapses.

The problem of revenue leakage in telecoms

Telecommunication companies deal with large business clients that use their size as a negotiation lever throughout the procurement and legal process. This leads to many changes in the usual contract template and non-standard data.

Without proper management of contract data and unique clauses and conditions, clients can be undercharged, often for long periods, leading to significant losses.

Reclaiming underpayments from clients can prove costly through increased administration, and attempting to reclaim long-term underpayments can damage client relationships and business reputation.

What are the most common reasons for telecommunication revenue leakage?

Often, revenue leakage is caused by errors in the billing data due to manual data entry or automated workflows that do not cover all special negotiated terms. For example, if a client is invoiced per usage even though they committed to a minimum spend amount in the contract, this could lead to instances of lost revenue due to a billing error.

Other common reasons for telecommunication revenue leakage include:

Incorrect tariff plans

If tariff plan data within the billing system contains errors, these are going to be transferred to client charges, meaning incorrect payments and therefore increased revenue leakage.

Incorrect rating to billing, zoning, and roll-over balances

If billing systems are set up to use the wrong rating plan for a particular client, charges and amounts for their usage, zoning and historical credit/balance are likely to be incorrect, leading to revenue leakage and issues with customer satisfaction.

Incorrect logic for rejection

Billing systems can reject calls or events incorrectly, meaning clients aren’t charged for services that they should have been. These incorrect rejections can happen because: there is inaccurate or corrupt data in the event record; incomplete data in the billing database means processes cannot be completed; or rate plan data is incomplete or incorrect.

Double charging due to duplicate CDRs

Duplicate data from input errors can mean that two sets of bills are produced, and clients are billed twice. This is likely to lead to a loss of trust on the client’s side, and an increase in cost and resource usage for customer service and administration teams.

The impact of telecom fraud on revenue assurance

Fraud in the telecommunications industry has been an issue for many years, and as greater portions of consumers’ everyday lives utilise digital processes, it’s becoming more of a problem. For telecom companies, fraud can impact revenue assurance significantly.

Identity and subscription fraud in the telecommunications industry goes beyond illegally using another person’s services and products but also includes impersonating them to commit criminal acts elsewhere. Many banks and financial services use credential validation codes and passwords through SMS to verify customer identities. Therefore, someone with a telephone under another person’s name can then open new bank accounts and credit services, as well as a range of other services.

Related to identity theft, SIM swapping involves fraudsters taking control of a person’s account by using stolen personal data to apply for a new SIM or network divert in their name. This allows them to intercept two-factor verification codes, and therefore access a range of online services. Similarly, mobile number porting fraud involves a fraudster transferring a victim’s number to another network. These cases inevitably lead to both revenue and reputational loss and without proper checks can put companies at risk of regulatory penalties.

Scam calls and smishing (SMS phishing) are used by criminals to obtain personal information from victims through social engineering or defrauding them. As well as these, other fake calls such as robocalls and wangiri calls (whereby a number rings only once, leaving a missed call on the recipient’s phone. When they ring back, they’re charged premium rates) lead to customer dissatisfaction, and wariness towards answering their phones, which ultimately leads to a loss in revenue.

The benefits of revenue assurance in Telecommunications

 

Combatting revenue leakage

To ensure financial robustness and market confidence, as well as to boost profits, minimising revenue leakage is important. Because revenue assurance involves cross-referencing billing information with contractual data, errors are more quickly spotted and leaked revenue can be avoided or quickly recovered.

Reduced risk

Regular checking and monitoring of billing systems against contracts means that the risks posed by human error or tech malfunction are minimised. Additionally, revenue assurance also helps to reduce the risk of fraudulent activity, as anomalies and suspicious behaviour can be identified quickly, and action can be taken.

Improved efficiency

The availability of contracts and the analysis of contractual terms on a broader level allows telecom companies to reduce the complexity of their contract templates and therefore the legal resources required to draw them up. The efficiencies generated provide providers with additional time to review their processes and invest in platforms that support a smooth and positive onboarding and billing experience for the customer.

Improved customer satisfaction

With a clear overview of contract data, account managers can be more attentive to clients, and respond to their service usage and their needs They can proactively notify clients about services included in their contracts that they are yet to take advantage of, make them aware of renewals and expiry dates, and answer questions regarding contracts and products quickly and easily. Additionally, account managers can gain a deeper understanding of a client’s usage, suggest alternative services if required, and proactively build a trusting and long-term relationship with the client.

Increased revenue

By ensuring robust checking and monitoring measures, mistakes are rectified quickly, creating a solid foundation for customer trust to grow. The reputational benefits and word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied customers can lead to business growth and increased revenue.

Reduce revenue leakage in your Telecoms company with AI powered Revenue Assurance

Consistent and accurate revenue assurance can be costly in time, money, and resources. However, using automated, AI-powered revenue assurance software can not only cut costs but also improve accuracy and efficiency.

MRI Contract Intelligence is an AI contract abstraction platform which helps telecommunications businesses identify sources of revenue leakage and drive up margins to increase revenue independently of market demand.

The platform also offers additional functions in comparison to human-led revenue assurance. For example, having transparency around contract data in various languages from several regions and an overview of where commitments are being met, provides telecom companies with insights into its product offering. This allows companies to adjust their offerings to meet real client demand (e.g. reduce or increase Minimum Spend Commitments). An overview of contract data such as the type of discounts being offered to clients also provides an opportunity for a more consistent commercial structure.

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FAQs about revenue assurance for telecommunications

 

What are the challenges associated with revenue assurance?
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