ETIS Gathering, benchmarking and billing

Written by on October 21, 2015 in BillingViews, Opinion with 1 Comment

direct measuring tapeBenchmarking is funny. At least the discussions around benchmarking exercises can be funny. One such, at the recent ETIS Gathering, was about cash. While the majority of operators around the table were comparing notes about how quickly they could get the money from payments allocated to customer account, one was sitting and smiling quietly to himself.

We asked him why.

He said that there are surprises when it comes to comparing notes on issues such as payments proficiency. While the emphasis in the city is to get the money in and allocated as fast as possible, there is a different emphasis in rural areas. The pace of life is slower, the average age group is higher, there is a clearer focus on lunch and the better things in life.

And paying bills is not about paying bills.

In the country, the trip to the Post Office to pay the bills, probably with cash, is a social occasion. A morning is dedicated to it. And the fact that customers probably pay a charge to pay in cash, and another to pay at a Post Office or a bank, is a cost to be welcomed. And, on a small-scale, that way of life, of paying bills and enjoying the experience, is really quite profitable.

So, of course, is the ‘dark’ revenue that operators get from charging for paper bills. It may be that it makes ‘green’ sense to abolish paper bills, and we will, sometime soon. But in the meanwhile, operators are making a tidy sum from charging customers from continuing to get paper.

The discussions about benchmarking last week were not all fun and games. Slightly disappointingly, only six operators took part in the benchmarking survey and it is difficult to extract completely relevant data from that number. The problem, it seems, is that while benchmarking is extremely useful, some KPIs are easier to get data for than others. Next time, we decided that there will be a next time, we will concentrate on KPIs that the billing department can collect for themselves, without having to ask others. And we will limit the number of KPIs, possibly to five, and measure them once a quarter.

The discussions at the benchmarking session, indeed the whole billing session were interesting and informative, and there is a great ‘buzz’ among the group. We are all looking to meeting in Edinburgh next April to continue the discussion, perhaps over a dram or two of whisky.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .


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  1. Tony Poulos says:

    A few drams of whisky should certainly add a new dimension to benchmarking!

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