With cloud quickly becoming the technology with the most far-reaching impact, migrating enterprise unified communications to the cloud is no longer a matter of if, but when. Unified Communications and Collaboration as a Service or UCaaS that integrates disparate communication systems into one comprehensive platform is picking up immense steam – research by Global Market Insights indicates that the global Unified Cloud market is likely to grow to $96 billion by 2023.
However, UCaaS providers often struggle with a host of challenges that range from combining product offerings into a single bundle, generating one unified invoice, dealing with different pricing models, managing various quotes and quote cycles, handling various taxation requirements and more. The need to streamline the whole process of pricing, billing and invoicing to create ultimate end-customer experiences is imminent. If you are looking to differentiate yourself from other UCaaS providers, here’s are some tips for you:
- Offer a range of pricing models: Although flexible pricing can seem too complex to track and manage, taking a one-size-fits-all approach not only overlooks customers’ needs but also risks your competitive standing. For any subscription business, an innovative pricing strategy can be the difference between success and failure. Since customers have different communication needs, and different billing cycle preferences, a customer-centric pricing model becomes inevitable in the subscription world. Offering a range of endless pricing models makes sure each one is uniquely suited to meet the needs of your customers. Usage charges are a powerful way of billing; hence, if you want to differentiate yourself, you need to offer a variety of charge types like one-time, recurring, usage-based, feature-based, volume-based, rule-based pricing and more. You can also offer elastic subscription or a bundled strategy for your partners and preferred customers, and offer products in multiple currencies – without having to define separate products for each currency. And finally, offering promotions such as free trials, coupons, discounts and grants in your pricing strategy can truly make you stand out in the crowd.
- Enable real-time order orchestration: While offering a plethora of different services to customers, simplifying interaction from quote creation to order fulfillment becomes the need of the hour. Whether you are creating a quote or need to convert a quote to order, fully automating the process to create and fulfill orders quickly and easily becomes crucial. A range of quote templates can enable you to prepare individualized quotes that can be directly sent to your customers in minutes. Having a platform which allows you to build custom business process workflows can help you deal with quotes and order approvals automatically. What’s more, if you provide digital quotation documents with e-signature capability, you can eliminate the need for manual approval flows in your order life-cycle; when the quote is digitally signed, it can automatically become an order. With integrated product catalog capability, you can ensure quotes are instantly created and sent to your customers directly for a streamlined experience.
- Offer multiple billing options: Billing is a complex process, especially when you have to manage multiple customers with multiple billing models, cycles, currencies and more. One way you can make billing easier and more dynamic is by offering custom bill cycle duration or custom billing modes; this can enable you to have complete control over the billing cycle with on-time and precise billing methods. Enable your customers to bill when they want, and how they want – either on service initiation date, the same day of the month or on a specific billing date. Give them the freedom to choose from a wide array of billing methods – standard, flexible, recurring, order-based, limit, suppression, or on-demand billing – that is tailored to their needs. In addition, if you allow add-ons and other features like discounts, taxes, run-time charges etc., you can truly enhance their satisfaction across all phases of the billing cycle.
- Support easy tax compliance: As a UCaaS provider, you might often find yourself struggling with computing tax for different communication services like VoIP, wireless, service bundles, internet, satellite, cable, IoT services, and more. Challenges include setting up taxation rules that adhere to location regulations, taxation policies for different states, exemptions, and inclusions, special rates for specific scenarios, dealing with Universal Service Fund (USF) contributions, among others. If you want to differentiate yourself from other UCaaS providers, you need to enable custom and real-time tax calculations for compliance across various services right from the start. Define appropriate jurisdiction rules and simplify the tax jurisdiction identification process using various attributes. You can also allow configuration of tax exemptions through a set of predefined codes to govern the type of taxes that are exempted and the authority level for each. By allowing customers to choose tax exemption codes that are relevant to their business, you can minimize their headache and maximize your revenue.
- Generate a single invoice: Combining product offerings from various vendors into a single bundle and generating one combined invoice for customers is a herculean task. And reminding customers about overdue payments and taking necessary actions such as service suspension, late payment fees, automatically downgrading service level etc. based on organizational policies is another huge challenge. If you want to stand out, you need to streamline the invoice process; this can be done by offering a variety of out-of-the-box invoice templates and designs that best suit the needs of your customers. By building workflows, you can quickly and easily send invoice notifications to customers with payment due date, payment reminders, online payment collection and more. Offering customization options that allow customers to choose the language of their choice, modify the layout and basic configuration such as terms and conditions will also go a long way.
Drive Efficiency and Profitability
Cloud, with its promise of flexibility and ease, has revamped traditional business models and its influence continues to grow. There are over 100,000 UCaaS providers existing globally. And although the market is slowly warming up to the UCaaS value proposition, providers have to deal with significant challenges ranging from changing customer demands, and increased competition to generating a single invoice for multiple services and integrating multiple isolated systems such as billing, invoicing, CRM, service desk and more. If you want to differentiate yourself from other UCaaS providers, you need to offer a range of pricing models, enable real-time order orchestration, provide multiple billing options, support easy tax compliance and generate a single invoice – irrespective of the number of vendors you are dealing with, or the number of services you offer. This way you can not only streamline the subscription billing and invoice process for your customers but also drive better efficiency and profitability.