What is an Order to Cash Process?
Businesses and their actions are made up of hundreds if not thousands of processes. These processes affect every aspect of the business and how they interact with employees, other businesses and most importantly customers. One of the more definitive processes for consumers is the “Order to Cash Process”
Order to Cash, also known as O2C, can be defined as a journey that starts the moment a customer places an order, finishing only when the order has been fulfilled. Previous interactions between a customer and a company, in the run-up to purchasing, can be defined as either a sales or marketing process and although these processes don’t stop just because an order has been placed, it is important for Order to Cash to focus solely on the journey from the point of ordering.
How The Order to Cash Process affects Telecoms
A telecom order management process can have a massive impact on all other areas of the business and having a streamlined and optimised process will be reflected in a successful operation. It has often been a mistake for telecoms to focus resources too heavily on the customer journey leading up to the point of purchase. The customer journey, however, doesn’t stop after an order and therefore it is vital to continually streamline and improve the process based on analytical insights and customer testimony.
Failure to optimise a telecom order management process flow can have knock-on negative effects throughout your company. Telecoms could find their supply chain, inventory and cash flow all hampered by failing to optimise the process correctly. With physical and financial stock negatively impacted, telecoms could soon find themselves on a slippery slope.
Finally having a difficult consumer journey from the point of purchase can reflect badly on an organisation. It gives the impression they only cared about getting money from a customer, once they have they will abandon the overall customer experience. This can lead to many customers cancelling orders or contracts, submitting bad reviews and making repeat or new customers near impossible to capture.
How Technology can Optimise the Telecom Order Management Process
The good news is that a variety of steps and technology can be deployed to optimise a faltering telecom order management process, in fact there isn’t a step in the journey that can’t be improved by deploying an innovative piece of tech.
Moment of Purchase
The first step for telecoms to improve their order management flow should kick in instantaneously at the moment of purchase. The purchase includes scenarios such as purchasing a SIM, enrolling in a new subscription service, buying an add-on or others. Any chargeable event is an order and it should trigger several automatic responses and actions within your organisation. Failure to automate these processes can create unfulfilled orders, incorrect stock management, revenue leakage and extremely unsatisfied customers. The moment of purchasing should be as effortless and frictionless as possible. To efficiently manage orders telecoms need a flexible system that streamlines orders and allows using a product catalogue, promotions and vouchers.
In the case of new subscribers, the process should enable a seamless onboarding experience. Number porting must be provided according to the notice period regulations. It’s important to comply with all regulations and applicable laws during the purchase and after the purchase, including GDPR.
Upon joining the network it’s important to offer a self-care app to provide customers with instant access to information about the available services, remaining allowance and more. The app saves valuable time and organisational resources, improving customer satisfaction and optimising operational costs.
It’s also important to keep in mind the KCI concept (Keep Customer Informed). Customers appreciate being updated from day one. In the case of a new SIM, it’s valuable to send notifications for the online orders when the SIM has been despatched and when it will arrive.
Many of the purchases telecoms receive from customers are for long-term contracts, either for use of the mobile phone service or for long term payment of the device itself. Wanting to protect themselves many telecoms will require would-be buyers to fulfil a credit check before the contract or device order can be fulfilled. These credit checks can be lengthy and mistakes in data entry can lead to eligible customers getting rejected. Automating the process can speed it up not only for customers but for members of your sales or financial teams as well, with them only needing to jump in to help customers if the system flags them.
By deploying a quick automated but secure credit checking system, telecoms can ensure the customer journey isn’t affected by lengthy form fills or delays while also keeping themselves secure.
The concept of KYC - Know Your Customer is being explored by telecoms to support prepaid models and save costs while making the customer experience user friendly and effortless. At the same time, it protects from identity theft and fraudulent activity. KYC gathers information about the customer during the journey and uses information data points as business insights. It can be used for ports and new orders and to facilitate the credit check process.
The ability to manage, provision and assign SIM inventory is essential for an operator. The order to cash process looks through activation, porting and in-life changes to support the customer lifecycle in a seamless way. Once again, automation is key for efficiency. Communication Service Providers must rely on a flexible system, ready to tackle connectivity challenges and adapt to the evolution of the telecom landscape. That will facilitate the billing and order fulfilment of complex and disparate products and costing options across a range of usage and subscription-based services. The ability to configure workflow triggers can be key to controlling services, raising alarms and delivering notifications.
In terms of fulfilment, the CRM used by telecoms has a central role. This platform can be used by customer care representatives to assist all aspects of a customer's onboarding and in-life journey. They can fulfil customer requests for additional sales, update tariffs or product subscriptions as well as action queries or complaints. The CRM must be integrated with internal systems and third-party applications to deliver seamless provisioning with suppliers, and activation of services, ensuring automatic fulfilment of the processes.
Invoicing & Billing
Billing or invoicing processes play an important part within any telecom. Sending invoices and collecting bill payments on time is vital to cash flow and means that finance teams can plan accordingly. Automating these processes has proven to be extremely effective for businesses. By deploying automation they can save finance teams vital time, allowing them to focus on more long term business goals. It can also remove human error or delays which occur from manual data entry. Many telecoms also like to deploy bill related triggers for customers. These are often used to alert customers when they are close to/or at their agreed bill limit for the month. These alerts are effective as they protect not only the telecom but the customer as well.
Some of the must haves for telecom billing include supporting different costing options, with different taxes, and currencies is useful for global billing. At the same time, telecoms should be able to charge for single, multiple or recurring subscription fees with bundle allowance and discount options.
In the event of a bill not being paid late or unfulfilled it is important they are flagged as soon as possible. This means that the telecom can offer quick payment reminders or switch off access to networks if they feel that action is needed. Doing this quickly protects telecoms from unfulfilled payment and fraud. If the telecom is using a converged charging system such risks are greatly reduced. Real-time charging is able to protect telecoms from revenue leakage by considering CDRs and events in real-time, removing possible leakages associated with latent CDRs.
One of the advantages of having so many interconnected systems working together and communicating with one another is the amount of data and reporting that can be pulled. These reports are critical for analysing your telecom’s order to cash processes, how the process flows and how changes within this process can have knock-on effects on other parts of your business. Likewise, you can use data from other systems to see if they have any impact on your order to cash process and how you can minimise them if possible. Business Intelligence enables customers to build and configure their own analytical reports, meeting the needs and requirements of any department, from operations to sales and finance.
By successfully optimising a telecom order management process, you can deliver value to their customers, whilst still collecting payment in a timely and accurate manner, Automation can effectively free up employees to focus on more cost-effective and customer-focused tasks.
Lifecycles ALLinOne Business Support System is a comprehensive suite of modules that support the telecom order management process and other subscription-based service enablers. With billing, payment, collection, reporting, self-care and more all in one flexible and responsive system. We also have the capability to automate business processes to maximise growth without detracting from customer experience.return to resources