Customer Master 17.1 highlights
By Lori Bayne, Customer Master Product Owner
The following is a summary of the major new enhancements included in Customer Master Version 17.1.
To create greater service order efficiency, account templates have been added to Customer Master with the 17.1 release. Users have the ability to set up common templates for account, customer and network tiers. Users will have various fields at the tier levels that can be setup as defaults in their templates. This improvement will greatly reduce the number of key strokes needed to create an account and will reduce the number of potential errors that could occur. An example would be a network level template. Users can establish a template for telephone service with all required USP codes, including regulated charges, OCCs, carrier information, and toll codes. The template can also include the defaults for the service area, report area, plant area, serving area, work group, special needs exemptions, tax area, tax-exempt code, BUS/RES indicator and trouble priority. As users are creating a service order, they will add the required name and address information to build the account, customer, and network levels. Then users can simply select the network template they want to use and the information will populated.
As the telecommunications industry evolves, many times companies are looking for new avenues of revenue. For example, some have expanded into hardware maintenance or maintaining key systems. A monthly recurring charge could always be billed, but tracking how much time was spent each month and billing any overage charges was a manual effort. However, we are easing those manual burdens with service agreements in Customer Master 17.1.
Service agreements can be placed on any tier of an account. Users could have multiple service agreements on a tier, but the service agreement description needs to be unique. New maintenance tables have been added to allow users to customize their service agreements to meet your company’s need. The recurring charge can be billed by USP codes of any bill frequency on the desired tier. Within the service order, users can indicate the number of hours per bill cycle included in the agreement and during the monthly bill transmit, the labor hours accumulated from service orders or trouble tickets are totaled and any overage to the agreement is automatically calculated for that bill cycle. The overage will be billed as an OCC on that tier of the account. Reports have been included for pre-bill, post billing and profitability reporting needs.
In previous releases of Customer Master, we introduced the import tool to execute the import of addresses, CRM rows and OCCs. We are excited to add USP codes to the tool in Customer Master 17.1. The import tool has been enhanced with the ability to mass insert or delete USP codes and complete USP code quantity changes from a .CSV file. The import tool can be used to correct data from audits and eliminate the need for numerous manual service orders to be completed.
The USP import tool is similar to our previous import type options that were added to Customer Master. The tool gives users the ability to define the field values to correspond with a .CSV file layout. Numerous available fields can be used in this tool to validate and update the correct accounts with the data from a .CSV file. The tool has error checks to confirm fields are formatted correctly, allowing users to revise the file before it is imported into Customer Master and accounts are automatically updated. All updates indicate the changed by, date and time stamp and can be viewed in the Service Order Revenue and Service Order Activity reports.
With the new HUBB reporting requirements, we have added additional data elements to the Customer Master address maintenance table to capture internet deployment information. The new fields are deployment date, max download speed, and max upload speed. These new fields will allow users to indicate the exact maximum deployment speeds available at that address. In turn, as users are completing equipment upgrades or fiber buildouts, they can update the deployment information accordingly to all addresses in that area. Subsequently, the mass address edit tool from the Maintenance|Common|Address editor has been enhanced to update internet deployment information. Users can highlight the network address rows they would like the internet deployment information updated to, click the mass edit lightning bolt on the tool bar, enter the deployment information and execute the tool to update those selected addresses.
A new report generation tool has been added at Packages|Internet|FCC HUBB Report. This tool is very similar to the Form 477 reporting tool, in that users can verify the Missing Data Report prior to creating the file. The HUBB Report can be created by main report area. The records will be displayed in the grid in the desired file layout for USAC. Records can be updated from the grid, allowing users to make any changes before exporting the file to .CSV. The .CSV file can be used and directly uploaded into the HUBB recording tool on USAC’s website to meet a company’s reporting needs.
ACH Refunds for AM/CM Refunds
Companies utilizing the Accounting Master/Customer Master interface have a new option to allow an ACH transaction for closed account refunds, miscellaneous open account refunds, and security deposit refunds. New indicators have been added to the refund screens to allow for ACH information to be sent to Accounting Master through the refund process. Users also have the ability to de-select any account they do not want refunded through an ACH transaction. ACH indicators have also been added to all the refund reports for users to identify the accounts processed by ACH. After the refunds have been processed in Customer Master, the account information needed for the ACH transaction is sent to Accounting Master to finish the ACH processing within the bank file.
E911 File Templates
A new grid has been added to store the PSAP File Creation settings per PSAP provider. In previous releases of Customer Master, users were required to select the file creation perimeters each time they created an E911 file for their PSAP provider. This enhancement will allow the new grid to store all the E911 extraction data options in a template and will allow users to highlight and click the desired icon to execute the function directly from the grid. This will prevent users from accidently choosing the incorrect option when creating their E911 files.
E911 File Name Formats
To meet our clients’ needs and allow them to create E911 files in the PSAP desired format, we have added three new file naming options to Customer Master 17.1. For companies using AT&T, we have added the option to create a file with assigned name + four digit cycle. For companies utilizing Intrado as their PSAP administrator, we have added two new file naming options of assigned name + Julian date + four digit cycle and assigned name + Julian date + four digit daily cycle. Users will need to update their PSAP administrator maintenance upon upgrade to ensure the correct file name option is being used with future E911 file transmissions.
Cross Referencing Account Information
A new cross reference search based on account name, address, credit ID or Federal tax ID, has been added to help eliminate duplicate entry of accounts. As users are entering new account information, a cross reference will occur at the account level, credit, co-applicant, and quotes/prospect information screens. Users have the ability to select the criteria searches they would like to enable at Tools|Options|Service Order Options. Checkboxes can be enabled to provide the validation for name, address, and credit ID, as well as allowing users to exclude disconnects older than a selected number of days.
Capital Credits- Yearly Disbursements Option
We are enhancing the disbursement functionality in Customer Master. A new option to print a check, if an OCC amount is greater than the selected maximum amount, has been added to yearly Disbursement Processing. When users select the check and OCC disbursement method, the field will be enabled and thresholds can be placed into the amount fields to validate if a check or OCC will be generated for that account. The reports created during yearly disbursement processing have also been enhanced to include the column displaying if that member met or exceeded the threshold and is receiving a check, instead of an OCC.
Confidential Report Disclaimers
We have expanded the ability to produce confidential disclaimers on reports in this release of Customer Master. Previously, a confidential information disclaimer was printed on a service order or trouble ticket when the user ID and password checkbox was selected. We have enhanced this option to display a disclaimer on all services orders, trouble tickets, and reports. There is some setup to enable the disclaimer, but we have loaded a default disclaimer into the software. Users can customize each report with a different disclaimer as desired. We have also provided the ability to grant or revoke the disclaimer text from printing on all reports or groups of reports using a right click on the disclaimer grid. Users are also allowed to update the disclaimer text from that grid.
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