BackOffice Support, the Achilles Heel of the VoIP Industry - Part 1

Posted by Jason Tapolci on February 14, 2013 at 12:12 PM
Jason Tapolci

In this 3-part series on BackOffice support, we will analyze why the VoIP industry seems to drop the ball when it comes to day-to-day BackOffice support. We will dive deep into the operations that are necessary to run a successful telecommunications company by discussing the three key BackOffice components; provisioning, support, and billing.

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Let’s start with provisioning, the first step. What is provisioning? Provisioning is the act of onboarding a new customer or turning up a new service. This could be processing a sales order, so that a new customer can start using your service or adding new or additional services to an existing customers account. Either way, it is important to make this an instant and painless experience.

How is this done? There needs to be a sales team in place that knows what their customers want. Next, there needs to be the customers who are willing to trust and listen to the sales reps. Once those reps target their customers needs, they prove that your company is the best thing since sliced bread, which ultimately leads to the sale. Unfortunately, once the sale is made things can start to spiral downward if communication is not up to par. We know that there are two sides to every sale, or promise; there is the guarantee of great services, features, and timeframes and then there is the actuality of whether or not those things can be done by the operations staff. If that guarantee doesn’t come through, the “my company is the greatest thing since sliced bread” idea that was sold to the customer turns into an idea comparable to that of a loaf of uncut, moldy bread.

So, when it comes to delivering what your sales team promises, there are a couple rules to remember. The #1 rule is to focus on training your entire team to speak the same language. At VoIP Innovations, we call it being on the same page. Everyone on our team (marketing, sales, provisioning, support and billing) knows what products and services we sell and how we sell them. Each department has a say in how they want each process to flow through their department. We call it passing the baton. The #2 rule to focus on is building a repeatable and scalable process that is well documented and simple to execute. Each part of the process should have a defined starting and ending point. These are the points where the baton is passed from one department to another. It also provides clear accountability and predictability throughout the entire process.

Let’s talk about the steps that VoIP Innovations takes when handling new customer onboarding. Keep in mind the goal is to make this as quick and painless as possible. Our process starts when the sales team emails an electronic order form to the customer. The customer completes the form online and executes the order via e-signature. The order is instantly delivered to the billing department, passing the baton to them. The new account is created, the service billing is configured, and the baton is passed to the interop team. The purchased services are provisioned for production, tested, and then released. Both support and sales are notified and the process is completed. Similar processes are required for services provisioned to existing customers such as; DIDs, LNPs, 911, 411, rate decks, SMS, and fax services are just a few.

The key to a great provisioning process is giving the customer a quick and painless experience. A well-defined provisioning process allows for more predictability and less human error, equaling a better customer experience. At VoIP Innovations, we are constantly striving to please our customers and make things easier for them. Their feedback is what keeps us on our toes and puts us in an industry leader role. It also allows us to keep producing the newest and most user friendly features and functions on the market.

Jason Tapolci is President of VoIP Innovations, an Inc. 5000 company. They specialize in providing the largest DID and termination VoIP footprints in North America. Their network includes over 500,000 DIDs in stock in over 8,500 rate centers in the US and Canada. Recently, VoIP Innovations expanded their footprint to include DIDs in over 60 countries and now offers A-Z termination. VoIP Innovations is owned by ABG Capital and is based in Pittsburgh, PA. To learn more about VoIP Innovations, visit them at http://www.VoIPInnovations.com.

Tags: Entrepreneurship

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