Channel Partners Salute the Back-Office

Agents, its time to be all you can be. The Channel Partners Conference & Expo is offering you the chance to go through basic training on the latest OSS/BSS applications for streamlining order management, trouble ticketing and customer service in todays concurrent session, Special Ops: Back-Office Boot Camp for Agents.

Jim Lazeroff, director of marketing at Info Directions and leader of the back-office panel, aims to inform agents what types of capabilities they should expect their suppliers to offer them and what the agents should ask for. Be sure to stand at attention during this drill to find out how to use networks and the Internet to discover ways to reduce costs, better manage volume and support people/businesses in their daily operations.

Greg Taylor, director of OSS for Access Point Inc., will join the panel to discuss several OSS operations, as well as the two back-office issues he says are most problematic for any base of operations: up-to-date status information on orders and timely and accurate order fulfillment. In todays very competitive and complex environment, a well-developed and managed back-office can pay back significant rewards, says Taylor.

A key to being successful is to provide the sales channels with not only efficient and reliable order results up front, but to effectively support the customer base through informative customer service, online data sharing, accurate billing and proficient maintenance. All these activities are made possible by implementing a back-office solution that is supported by technologies that can handle the task, adds Taylor.

Also joining the panel will be Jan DeRobertis, vice president of NBC Solutions Corp. DeRobertis agrees response time is one of the most prevalent back-office problems, and she says the solution is communication. We are in the industry but most carriers forget to communicate with the customer and agent, says DeRobertis. Up-to-date and secure back-office technologies are great, but technology is only as good as the person who uses it, DeRobertis explains.

Lazeroff says a lack information and responsiveness from other partners is a challenge to channel partners. Problems can arise when [agents] do not have enough visibility into or control over their suppliers processes. For example, if a customers order isnt met on time, and the agent has only poor and possibly inaccurate information to pass on regarding the status of the order and reasons for delay, the customer is going to be dissatisfied and see the agent as lacking the power to help, explains Lazeroff. This gives the customer good reason to take its business elsewhere, which is simply unacceptable in a highly competitive market.

Although Back-Office Boot Camp will be a crash course, the panelists agree that there arent many back-office quick fixes. There is no substitute for a good, solid underlying OSS/BSS to support the back office, says Taylor. This session will help channel partners see the value in a solid back-office foundation, while providing them the tools to research, implement and utilize such a system to improve their bottom lines.

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