Paperless billing, often known as ebilling, is the process of sending your customer’s utility bills to them online, whether it be via a desktop computer, tablet or smartphone. In turn, this gives consumers the ability to receive, pay, manage and track their bills all at the simple click of a button.
By giving customers the ability to view their utility bills on any device, as opposed to the traditional method of sending a paper bill each month and then waiting for payment, your utility can empower its customers to pay their bills from the place and time that is most convenient for them.
This automated billing process can benefit your utility – whether operating in the electricity, water and sewer, natural gas, telecom or multi-service utility sector – in a range of ways, including:
- Reducing administrative error rates associated with a manual process.
- Speeding up your revenue cycle by giving customers the ability to pay their bills immediately.
- Reducing the costs associated with physical bills and lost/misplaced bills.
- Freeing up employees to concentrate on more complex tasks that will give your customers higher-value.
- Creating an automated system of record for both your utility and customers.
- Give access to detailed data that empowers your customers to manage their monthly bills and save money/reduce their carbon footprint.
You can read more about the benefits of e-billing in our blog, titled ‘What is eBilling and how can Utility Providers Successfully Implement it Into Their Business Processes?’
Despite the benefits, as well as a 2017 study from ACI Worldwide and Aite Group U.S. finding that Americans pay more than half of their bills online, utility providers are still struggling with engagement and adoption when it comes to e-billing methods.
However, this doesn’t mean that consumers don’t want it. There are some simple steps that your utility can take to drive consumer adoption of paperless billing. Here are the top two most effective methods:
1 – Make it easy for your customers
A successful customer journey, which we discussed in our previous blog titled ‘The Importance of Customer Journey Mapping and Why It’s Crucial for the Customer Experience (CX)’, is highly important for your utility’s customer experience. A seamless journey will leave your customer satisfied with your product, more likely to engage with your services and less likely to complain about the way you operate.
That’s why it’s important that you deliver e-billing in an efficient, easy-to-use and user-friendly format that will take no additional effort for your customers to use – this is where a customer portal comes in.
The SilverBaze Customer Portal for Utilities, for example, allows for the integration of innovative technologies such as eBilling in a one-stop-shop self-service solution.
The SilverBlaze Customer Portal offers exceptional convenience and a variety of features for utility billing and payments. By giving customers access to e-billing and online payment functionality every day of the year, they can resolve most billing questions themselves by simply viewing their account activity and usage information online – in real time.
Not only do customers highly enjoy using an innovative, easy-to-use customer portal, but your utility can realize a significant return on investment (ROI) and improve overall customer satisfaction levels.
2 – Offer an incentive
Is your utility in a position to offer incentives or promotions that will encourage your customers to adopt paperless billing? Incentives could include anything from a discount on their bills, entering customers into a raffle or simply giving them the opportunity to donate to a charity of their choice with each bill they pay online.
You’ll first need to get to know your customers and find out which incentive would work for them. Not everyone will want to be added to a raffle and not everyone will want to donate to charity when they pay their bills.
Want to learn more about the benefits of e-billing, why it’s important for your customers and how an innovative customer portal solution can transform your entire customer billing experience? Contact SilverBlaze today and find out how we can help.