iiNet begins Netspace billing migration

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iiNet begins Netspace billing migration

Completes 'capability review' of AAPT's billing platform.

ISP iiNet has begun migrating Netspace customers onto its billing platform, after having acquired the Victorian company for $40 million last March.

Chief financial officer David Buckingham told iTnews that the "very careful", four-month migration was expected to wrap up within the current financial half-year.

He said iiNet would re-use processes and software tools developed for migrating Westnet's customers to its platform. iiNet bought Westnet for $81 million in 2008.

Netspace customers would be "drip fed" onto the iiNet platform. "It's a very methodical, standardised process," Buckingham said.

Buckingham said having Netspace customers on the iiNet billing platform would streamline the way the customers engaged with call centre representatives.

AAPT's billing system under review

iiNet has not yet decided on a billing system for the customers it acquired from AAPT's consumer business for $60 million last year.

Last week, Buckingham said iiNet had completed a "capability review" of AAPT's $100 million billing system, which went by the name Hyperbaric.

"We're in the process of making a decision [about its future] but it's not likely to be a quick process," he said.

"If we choose to migrate [AAPT customers to iiNet's billing system] it will be over a long period of time."

Buckingham declined to reveal what the capability review had concluded.

But a quick drill down of the customer numbers suggests iiNet is more likely to migrate customers off Hyperbaric than adopt it as a new, company-wide billing platform.

iiNet will have 550,000 customers on its existing billing system once the Netspace migration is complete.

Hyperbaric supports 100,000 former AAPT broadband customers, and a similar number of phone users.

Beyond the billing system

Buckingham highlighted further considerations in integrating the AAPT business. "There's a lot to be migrated rather than just billing," he said.

In recent months, iiNet had been focused on a "service improvement" project within AAPT's call centre in Manila.

The ISP sent a team of customer service personnel to retrain AAPT staff and had "put additional resource" into the centre.

"iiNet's service strategy is not about the length of time we deal with a customer on the phone, it's the quality of service [provided]," Buckingham said.

iiNet had also "revisited the remuneration scheme" in Manila and had begun aligning customer-handling processes between the two call centres.

Buckingham said the rewards had been an "immediate benefit" in Net Promoter Score (NPS – a measure of customer satisfaction) and reduced complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

However, Buckingham acknowledged it could take some time to change the perception of quality-of-service in the whole AAPT customer base.

"At the moment, churn [in the AAPT base] is tracking as expected but once we get the Net Promoter Score to a high enough level on a consistent bases, we expect that to translate into lower churn numbers."

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