This article gives you a brief overview on getting things up and running using the telecommunications billing functionality offered by Billingbooth.
Before you can start using the telecoms functionality, your account will need to be enabled with the correct customisation. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get this process completed fairly quickly.
The following steps describe the basics to get your customers set up and ready to be billed with CDR / call charges:
Create your customers
Set up your customer's Caller Line Identification
Set up your peak time schedule
Upload your rate sheets
Upload your calls
- Process your calls
1. Create your customers
Billingbooth is very much customer-centric. Charges and invoices are based around the customers you have set up in your account, and are the pivot point for matching call charges. To create a new customer, simply click on the "Customers" link on the left hand side, then at the top right of the page, click on "New Customer".
Most fields are fairly self-explanatory, but a few may be worth noting:
- Read our article on Billing Type for more information
- Customers can be on different tariffs, which allows for different call pricing to be set up. For more information on creating different tariffs, click here.
- Schedules define how often the customer gets invoiced. For more information on creating schedules, click here.
2. Set up your customer's Caller Line Identification
Under "Customers", find the newly created customer, and click on the "View" icon. In the customer page, click on the "Caller Identification" or "Caller ID" tab button. Here you can set up all matching CLIs that are used by the customer.
A customer may have one or more CLIs, and these are typically either a DDI such as +44123456789, or potentially an account or SIP trunk code used by your provider. These are typically found within the CDR files provided by your communications provider, and they should be able to point you in the right direction.
3. Set up your peak time schedule
Billingbooth supports the concept of having different call rates for different times of the day. These are offered in the way of Peak, Off peak and Weekend rates. You can define your peak rates in the form of one or more schedules, found under the "Charge Peak Times" button on the main menu.
If your rates offer a flat fee, regardless of time or day of the week, then one schedule with Monday to Sunday selected, 00:00 to 23:59 will be enough. If you have different rates for each time, then you will want to create multiple schedules to suit your offering.
4. Upload your rate sheets
The basis for being able to charge calls is stored within the rate sheets. These provide a complete list of all possible dial or charge code destinations, along with their respective charges. For more information on the format of rate sheets, please click here. To upload a new rate sheet, click on "Rate Sheets" and then "Upload Rate Sheet".
If you have different Tariffs already created, you will want to upload a rate sheet against each tariff. If you want different pricing for different tariffs, you will want to modify your rate sheets accordingly. For more details on how to support different rates for different providers on the same tariff, visit our article here. If you need to also bill for Inbound calls, such as toll free billing, you can upload a separate rate sheet specifically for Inbound calls.
5. Upload your calls
Your wholesale VoIP or SIP trunk provider will have supplied you with a CDR of all your customer's calls, which you can then upload by going to "Upload Calls" and then "Upload CDR file". In here you will want to select your communications provider. If your provider is not listed, please drop us a line on email@example.com and we'll try and get it integrated. You will also need to choose whether the calls contained within the CDR are Outbound or Inbound. Most call billing is Outbound, but you may have some customers that also require Inbound billing for things such as Toll free numbers.
Please note that If you are billing for both Inbound and Outbound calls, you will need each CDR to have calls in the same direction, so all Inbound calls should be contained within one CDR, and Outbound calls in another.
6. Process your calls
Once the CDR file is uploaded, it will automatically be analysed, and once the file is listed as "Ready", you can process all the calls which will create the charges against your customers.
It is highly recommended that you read our article on reconciliation of calls to ensure you are maximising the call revenue from your CDR files. Once a CDR file has been processed, the charges applied cannot easily be undone, and the CDR file can no longer be re-analysed.
To process a CDR file, find it under "Upload Calls", click on "Details", then click on the "Process" button. This will kick off the processing phase, which may take some time depending on the size of the CDR file uploaded.
All calls matching the customer will be displayed, along with date/time filters. A summary for the total amount of unbilled calls is displayed at the top - you can upload CDR files multiple times during a billing period, and the unbilled cost will increase.
Once the schedule associated with the customer triggers (manually or periodically, i.e. Weekly/Monthly/Quarterly), a new charge will automatically be applied to the customer encompassing all outstanding calls to date. This will appear as a single charge with the description "Call Charges", along with the outstanding amount.
An invoice will be created using this newly created charge, as well as any other outstanding charges during the billing period. If the customer has been set to Email delivery notification, a copy of the invoice will be sent to the specified email address, as well as an attached CSV file detailing all calls relating to the call charge.