How destructive can billing breakdowns be?

As if to add huge emphasis to Eric Priezkalns’ story this week about nPower and its scary levels of customer complaints, yesterday the company announced significant job losses. 1,460 jobs out of a workforce of 9,600 in the U.K will go, with around 500 being transferred to outsourcers Tata and Capita – the I.T company that has been struggling to transform Government systems for many years.

We know that big transformations are risky. We also know that a part of the plan is generally to reduce costs (or ‘optimize’ some of the workforce – our new expression meaning ‘right size,’ ‘re-size,’ ‘down size’ – let’s face it, sack people).

That said, complaint levels were at five times that of their competitors over the summer and almost 70 percent related to billing. This was caused by new billing system implementation problems. And even if the optimization of 1,460 was in the roadmap, the billing problems triggered their demise.

As Eric points out, that large companies do not implement tried and tested methods for assuring large migrations of information is not entirely prudent. In fact, it is close to foolhardy, and as this case suggests, puts people’s livelihoods at risk.

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Alex Leslie
About Alex Leslie 400 Articles
Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet.

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