Can utilities keep up with the times on mobile pay?

By Noah Solomon, Research Manager

It’s the start of a new year and utilities are already well underway in their 2020 initiatives to bring best practices, improvements and efficiencies to their customers. One of the key areas to consider in these endeavors is billing and payment, one of the most frequent ways customers deal with their utilities, and for some customers the only consistent interaction they have with their service provider.

With such an emphasis placed on billing and payment transactions, it is crucial to get these “right,” ensuring customers have a good experience and find their utilities easy to do business with. Additionally, as the primary method of both obtaining voice of the customer (VOC) and measuring customer satisfaction is post-transaction surveys, transactions such as paying a bill become extremely important in utility customer experience strategies.

As part of our annual Billing and Payment Surveys, Chartwell asks respondents what they see as the top trends in billing and payment in the industry over the next five years.

Respondents to both surveys replied they believed the expansion of mobile options was the top billing and payment trend in the industry, seeing providing mobile billing and payment options and getting them “right” as a priority across utilities in North America.

This view is reflected in both recent benchmarks and current initiatives. More utilities than ever before are offering billing and payment via an app and many others are considering offering an app for the first time in an effort to expand and improve their mobile offerings. Other utilities who already have more-robust-than-average mobile billing and payment options are looking into new digital methods of payment to expand their mobile offerings and work to make themselves even easier to do business with.

These efforts are primarily focused on mobile and digital wallets, with utilities working to make their customers’ billing and payment experience with them more on par with the experience these customers receive from other companies in other industries. As customers increasingly have their expectations set by the Amazons, Googles, and Apples of the world, any step toward providing more mobile and accessible options can go a long way to bringing the utility customer experience into line with that of these other companies.

Chartwell will be focusing in 2020 on the existing and emerging mobile billing and payment options in the industry, both on benchmarks and trends and the best practices in providing a best-in-class mobile experience for utility customers. Additionally, this is a frequent topic in Chartwell’s Billing and Payment Leadership Council, a utilities-only thought leadership and networking group dedicated to collaborative problem-solving in the billing and payment space. For more information on billing and payment, mobile options or Chartwell’s service offerings, please feel free to reach out to me at: nsolomon@chartwellinc.com.

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