This book explains how companies bill for telephone and data services, information services, and non-communication products and services. Billing and customer care systems convert the bits and bytes of digital information within a network into the money that will be received by the service provider. To accomplish this, these systems provide account activation and tracking, service feature selection, selection of billing rates for specific calls, invoice creation, payment entry and management of communication with the customer. The authors have worked with hundreds of companies and many types of billing system and discovered that in the early 2000s, the functions of billing systems were dramatically changing due to the combining of voice, data and other types of services. Billing systems have also been transforming to allow for charging of non-traditional products and services such as candy from vending machines, tickets for entertainment events, and home delivery of pizza. This book provides the fundamentals for telecom billing and customer service systems.
The topics that are explained include: types of services, standard billing processes, real time billing, multilingual support, multiple currencies, inter-carrier settlements, event sources and tracking, mediation devices, call detail records (CDRs), call processing, cycle billing, clearinghouse, invoicing, management reporting, processing payments, and posting to the financial system. Also included are the fundamentals of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), account activation, account management, billing system costs, call center, collections, exchange message record (EMR), automatic message accounting (AMA), carrier inter-exchange billing exchange record (CIBER), transferred accounting process (TAP), network data management-usage (NDM-U), interim standard 124 (IS-124), applications service providers (ASPs), local number portability (LNP), and customer self-care.