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Thread: Refinement Request: Various usage reports need to match up

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Exclamation Refinement Request: Various usage reports need to match up

    It has taken me 3 years, but I think I finally got my head around the various usage reports, and the small, yet significant discrepancies in them.

    I thought I'd share my observations about these discrepancies with resellers, since it can affect billing if you're basing it on info that isn't clearly understood.

    Specifically, resellers should be aware of how toll free calls and 2-leg (forwarded/failover/simultaneous-ring) calls are reported, or not reported.

    1) The account summary page (where you set the limits) shows *total* usage, including domestic, toll free, and 2-leg calls. (plus separate usage and limits for int'l calls)

    2) The call history and downloadable reports that end-users see, show *partial* usage, including domestic, toll free and int'l, but NOT the 2nd leg of forwarded calls.

    3) The reseller "usage" page will show total usage as well, but it lumps toll free calls with domestic calls. And you have to really "drill down" to find the 2nd leg calls... not easy at all.

    4) Since 2-leg calls are NOT shown in the call history or downloads, the amount you are billed may be MORE than expected... and what you bill your customer may be LESS than it should be.

    5) Since toll free calls are free, the dollar amount you are billed may be LESS than expected... and what you bill your customer may be MORE than it should be.

    In short, the result is that if you're a reseller, this could lead to confusion and errors in your pricing and billing processes.

    Example 1: Lets say you sell pre-set minute packages, like a 1000 domestic minute plan. Customer then forwards all calls to their cell phone. So after 500 minutes of inbound calls (plus 500 minutes of 2nd leg forwarded calls), their account usage would be at the 1000 minute limit. Reseller would be billed for 1000 domestic minutes. All is well, except that the customer might want proof that they have used 1000 minutes, so they download their usage history. When the report only shows 500 minutes of calls, the customer will be confused and complain they are being over billed. You may try to explain that 2nd legs count as usage, but there is no way you can generate a report showing this forwarding usage to the customer. You have to tell them to "trust you".

    Example 2: Same 1000 minute plan. This time, customer makes about 750 minutes of inbound and outbound domestic calls. No problem. But customer also needs to make about 750 minutes of toll free calls. So, his call history will show 1500 minutes of total usage, 500 minutes over his limit. Reseller's "usage" page will show 1500 minutes of usage, but if you look closely, you'll find that voipo charged for 750 domestic minutes. This is all technically correct, but if customer asks why they are being charged for toll free calls, you have to tell them that toll free calls count against their domestic limit. Essentially resellers are forced to "charge" for outbound toll free calling, since there is no way to exclude toll free calls from the domestic limit. If toll free calls are free to resellers, then it seems resellers should have the option of offering free toll free calls to their customers.

    Example 3: If you charge by the minute, the problems are magnified. Your customers will want to see proof of 2nd leg calling, and will want to know why you are charging for toll free calls. If you choose to offer free toll free calling, you'll have to manually open the usage page (which takes a looong time to open or refresh) for each customer, in order to then separate out toll free usage.

    Therefore, I would humbly recommend/request making (with reasonable priority) the following refinements and improvements to the reseller reports and billing features.

    1) Add a Toll Free usage and limits feature to the account page, just like domestic and int'l, so that toll free calls are separated out. Let reseller set limits, or select "unlimited".

    2) Show the 2nd leg of forwarded calls in the Call History and downloadable usage files. This would make it more clear for resellers, and end users, what they are being charged for.

    3) Create a new, usage overview report page, showing usage and limits of all accounts (or paginated in groups of 25, 50, whatever). For resellers that have hundreds of accounts, and need to check for overage each month, it is incredibly cumbersome and time-consuming to open each account, one at a time.

    4) Offer a usage limit email notification feature. Email the reseller when a particular account reaches some threshold, such as 90% of the domestic, toll free or international limit for that account. Or better yet, it could be a separate alert-only soft limit. Reseller could then take appropriate action if necessary, such as informing customer, charging for overage, etc.

    The first 3 items are just database manipulation and reports, so shouldn't be too major. When I requested the dollar limit feature on Int'l calling, that was added in a day or two.

    Item 4 could be handled with something like a chron job once or twice a day or something... doesn't have to be instant or "real time", unless that is readily doable.

    I'm eager to see what other resellers think, and hopefully see voipo implement these improvements for the benefit of all involved.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Irvine CA

    Default Re: Refinement Request: Various usage reports need to match up

    Thanks for the detailed feedback. We will add your post to our notes for future development suggestion to consider for future updates/releases.
    Timothy Dick

    Interact with VOIPo: Twitter, Facebook

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