11 December 2012,

Most ISPs go with an off the shelf billing product when starting out. It can inexpensive, familiar and it often comes recommended by their accountant due to its popularity.  For most ISPs, homegrown or store bought software tends to work well until they reach a few hundred customers.  At that point, most find themselves wanting a solution that handles more as the burden of billing consumes more and more hours each month.

That is where industry specific billing solutions such as Platypus excel.  Not only can Platypus handle your billing, it can handle your business.  Below are a few talking points that I usually cover when I discuss billing with a customer still using homegrown or off the shelf solutions.

*External System Integration – Platypus knows your customers.  It knows what they are paying for, when they don’t pay and how fast they should be able to go.  Our external system integration allows us to share this information with routers, customer premise equipment, email servers and more using our standard integrations.  This allows you to not only be able to turn customers on and off automatically based on account status, but also control their speed and bill for their usage.

*Trouble Ticketing – With a built in trouble ticketing system, all of your customer information can be found in a single location.  Use Platypus to communicate with your customers via email, keeping a full account history right in the system.  Track calls, make customer notes or search tickets to quickly find old support incidents for this customer or other customers with similar issues, thus reducing support costs.  A built in knowledge base can be utilized by staff and customers alike.

*Online Account Management – Platypus provides both a staff and customer interface that can be accessed via the web.  This allows customers to view and pay their invoices online, manage their email accounts and view their tickets online.

*Credit Card / E-Check Integration – Platypus integrates with a number of online gateways such as IPPay, ProPay, Authorize.net to process all of your charges with a single click.  Integrating with multiple gateways allows you to shop for the best processing rate.

*True Recurring Billing Support – While some software seems to support recurring billing, most off the shelf software has its limitations.  When pricing changes, transactions must be edited in order to reflect the new pricing.  Not with Platypus.  Platypus is a recurring billing system, first and foremost.  With Platypus, you define the rate plan once, tell it what services it includes and how you want it to bill.  When it comes time to update pricing, there’s only one place that has to be changed.

*And More – While I won’t cover all of the features of Platypus in this post, the above gives you a good idea of why you should look for an industry specific solution to manage your business.  In addition to the above, Platypus can manage bonuses and commissions, enforce contracts, allow for promotional rates, send both email and PDF statements, export reports for FCC 477 reporting and more.

While Platypus can’t always be a complete replacement for general accounting software in your organization, it can handle all of your accounts receivable needs.  Most customers keep their existing accounting software for accounts payable and general ledger entries based off of reports generated by Platypus.

I hope this helps you understand how Platypus can better manage your customer base and gives you more time to concentrate on other areas in your business.

Grant Spradling

Platypus Product Manager

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