The following is a guest post by Matt Swain, Managing Director and Practice Lead for Broadridge Communications Consulting
With consumers often pressed for time, utility companies are seeking ways to improve their business processes and make customer engagement easier – whether customers are paying a bill, checking on an outage, or ordering new services. At the same time, many utilities are focused on improving days sales outstanding (DSO), reducing call center volume, and driving customers to lower-cost payment channels.
Given the unique nature of the utility industry, with its revenue model and regulatory constraints, companies are in a position to offer a superior customer experience, and bills and payments are a good place to start.
You may think of bills as being outside of the customer journey, but they could be one of your most important existing customer communications. Bills offer a monthly opportunity to connect with customers about the services and products they receive from you, as well as pique their interest about new offerings. Whether you send physical or digital bills, consider how these communications fit into the overall customer journey to maximize the experience.
According to Chartwell’s 2017 Payment Survey, while traditional mail remains the primary payment channel for three out of 10 customers, digital channels continue to grow. The percentage of customers posting payments through utility websites and mobile apps has risen year over year. In fact, eBill enrollment is at approximately 28% for the utility industry with incremental increases occurring each year. When paper bill customers convert to eBills, the savings equates to about 47 cents. That may not sound like much, but for every 25,000 customers that go paperless, a utility can expect to save about $141,000 each year.
Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends research validates the growing digital trend, specifically with digital delivery of bills. In its 2018 State of Transactional Communications: Consumer Survey, nearly half of surveyed consumers indicated they would be moving to “electronic only” in the next year:
To help make the leap from print to digital, our clients are offering their customers the benefits they derive from print but in a digital format, e.g., offering customers digital reminders to pay their bills, such as text messages and calendar alerts. It’s about creating a convenient omni-channel experience that meets their needs.
These trends are paving the way for utilities to reduce costs, accelerate payments and improve the customer experience.
I look forward to continuing this discussion at EMACS: The Customer Experience Conference in the general session titled Reimagining Customer Connections in an Evolving Digital Marketplace, which will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 10:30 a.m. Together, we will explore how you can:
- Leverage technology and communication trends.
- Revisit your communications in context of the customer journey.
- Execute and benefit from content syndication.
- Drive digital engagement to reduce costs and improve the customer experience.
Let’s transform your communications into strategic engagement opportunities. See you there!
Matt Swain is a recognized Customer Communications industry thought leader. Hundreds of well-known companies have relied on Matt’s expertise and research for their current and future omni-channel communication initiatives. As Managing Director and Practice Lead for Broadridge Communications Consulting, Matt brings invaluable market research and consulting expertise to clients relative to benchmarking, customer experience optimization and digital transformation. Prior to joining Broadridge, Matt spent more than a decade at Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends, where he was a member of the senior management team with global responsibility for Business Development and Customer Communications advisory services. Matt is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology and holds a master’s degree in print media.
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