Superior mouse trap


When we started the company that ultimately became BillMax, some 25 years ago, as engineers we naturally thought “Build it and they will come”. Build a superior “mouse trap” and our products would sell themselves. Today, of course we realize to succeed you have to have more than the best product or service. Equally or maybe even more important is messaging – the ability to communicate your product strengths and place within the marketspace.

As an example, my previous employer used Ingres which competed head-to-head with Oracle. Ingres was considered by us and many others to be technically superior to Oracle, yet Oracle ultimately won the battle due in large part to better sales and marketing.

Anyway, the other day I had just completed answering a ticket from one of our customers when I realized the interaction illustrates very well both BillMax’s technical merits and our approach to customer service.

So, if you are in the market for ISP billing software or just curious about BillMax, the following will tell you a lot about BillMax:

From Customer:

For account # 131, $288.14 has been returned but it hit the bank only $88.14. But the transaction clearly says the refund amount is $288.14 and also the transaction is in the refund report.

Transaction List

From support (me):

The CSR edited the refund transaction so that the refund amount was $288.14. Here is the evidence:

Account Note

The actual processed ELECTRONIC refund was for $88.14. Here is the evidence:

Electronic Refund

BillMax only allowed/did the ELECTRONIC refund of $88.14 because that’s the amount that was left over that was actually paid by the bank account. The remaining $200 was paid by cash. Here is the evidence for this:

cash Payment

Bottom line, your CSR shouldn’t edit the transactions in this way (unless there was a real error that needed to be fixed). Editing in this case doesn’t reflect reality! IE. BillMax won’t magically issue an external refund!
Re-edit the refund transaction to have the correct amount. Cut a check for the $200, then enter a “Book Refund Made” transaction for $200.

This correspondence is fairly typical of what you can expect from our support. In it, a client of ours is asking why a refund doesn’t reconcile with their bank account. Upon research we discovered a CSR had edited a transaction to match what he/she wanted to happen without actually processing an electronic refund transaction.

Some technical takeaways from this:

  • BillMax supports a number of transaction types not typically seen in other products. These include:
    • Store Credits
    • Sales Returns (full and partial)
    • Deposits
  • BillMax supports Accrual (including deferred) as well as Cash based accounting. Our clients with data supplied by BillMax have undergone successfully numerous and extensive audits from banks and government agencies.
  • BillMax while supporting full automation, allows mistakes to be fixed. Edits and deletes of all transaction types, invoices, and statements are possible. Such edits can be done in a way where financial history is maintained so changes after a financial close are not allowed.
  • BillMax supports the generation of true invoices as well as utility style statements (which have beginning and ending balances and transactions since the last statement).

Some support/customer service takeaways:

  • Tickets are almost always answered by senior staff or the owners themselves. In addition to getting your questions answered we also take the extra effort to educate and also suggest different approaches, make recommendations, etc.
  • We believe our clients are best served by more of a partnership like approach where we interact with our clients often so we can understand their problems and advise on best practices.
  • Many of our client’s BillMax instances are premised based, but we often, where permitted, will login remotely to research issues or fix a problem. All of which, unless stated otherwise, is covered as part of our client’s software lease/agreement.

Hope this helps explain a little more about BillMax and what makes us different. What do you think? Useful? Have other questions or article suggestions? If so give us a call or send us an email. Always happy to chat.

— Bill