Beyond the numbers: Billing statements can provide consistent engagement opportunities

By Allison Herdic, Industry Researcher 

Month to month, utility customers anticipate continuity of service. In return, a standard customer expectation is the timely receipt of a billing statement. While this exchange may be an ordinary practice within the utility business, what evolving opportunities does a billing statement provide?

To remain abreast of the latest trends, Chartwell’s 2017 Billing Survey took a look at the issues currently facing the industry. As an accompaniment, Chartwell’s recently published 2018 Billing Trends and Opportunities report (user login required) offers a qualitative sampling of a number of successes, challenges, offerings, metrics and future initiatives.

According to Chartwell’s 2017 Billing Survey, many utilities across North America are in the process of revamping their standard customer billing statement, attracting more customers to eBill, and/or enhancing options for customers to access billing information via the web or mobile devices. Some changes designed to improve billing processes are being facilitated through system advancements, while customer feedback has driven many other improvements.

These trends acknowledge that remaining in a perpetual state of billing status quo may stagnate program growth or adoption of more cost-effective channels. Accordingly, a number of utilities are working diligently to deliver a better billing experience.

For example, Sacramento, Calif.-based SMUD recently unveiled a digital bill designed to provide customers with a simplified, yet content-rich view of monthly billing usage and expenses. The project has laid critical groundwork for the utility’s transition to residential time-of-day rates in 2019 and has created an architectural framework for providing customers with billing information via preferred channels.

Approximately three years ago, Jacksonville, Fla.-based JEA, a public power utility, strategically focused on growth of its eBill offering. Consequently, the utility has successfully grown its eBill adoption through default settings and focused promotions, according to Brian Pippin, JEA’s strategic customer solutions manager for billing and payment programs.

These efforts are just a sampling of insights featured in Chartwell’s 2018 Billing Trends and Opportunities report, now available on Chartwell’s EnergyLibrary (user login required).

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