May 30, 2019

5 Ways to Drive More Electronic Bill Payments

According to a 2018 Chartwell survey, utilities can save $0.60 per bill every month just by moving their customers to electronic billing. But even the most user-friendly and visually appealing e-bill system is not enough to guarantee customer engagement and adoption. This is a challenge every utility and government entity is currently tackling, so in this blog we’re sharing five simple things your organization can do to drive more electronic bill payments.

  1. Optimize Web and Mobile Pages
    How well do you understand your customers’ journey? The top two reasons customers are visiting your website is to check a balance and pay a bill, and they aren’t all sitting at a desktop computer. 63% of all U.S. online traffic comes from smartphones and tablets. Before investing in promotional materials, ensure that your website, whether accessed by desktop, mobile, or tablet, gives visitors a clear path to what they are most likely searching for – “Pay My Bill.” A simple “Pay” button added to your home page will give customers a more intuitive experience. It says “We know why you’re here and we’re going to help you get your task done faster.” And who says you should stop there? If a website visitor gets distracted by an interesting article about energy saving tips or available rebate programs, these inner pages should not add friction to their original goal. Consider adding that same “Pay” button to inner pages as well to continue offering a simple path to electronic bill payments. When you offer an intuitive and simple payment experience, chances are your customers will be more likely to continue using that payment method and take advantage of your other digital services.
  2. Make Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse
    The power of incentives is huge for every generation. That is why several utilities turn to promotions to help incentivize their customers. Four types of promotions to consider are:

    • Charitable Donation: by signing up for electronic billing, the customer has a donation made in their name to a charity of their choice or selected by the utility.
    • Discount: by signing up for electronic billing, the customer will receive a fixed amount or a percentage off of their bill.
    • Green Giveaway: by signing up for electronic billing, the customer will receive an eco-friendly gift such as an energy efficient shower head or LED light bulbs.
    • Raffle: by signing up for electronic billing, the customer will have their name entered into a draw for a chance to win a gift card of significant value.

    The tricky part of incentives is knowing what type of incentive will drive action. Not every customer segment will be interested in donations or going green, but money could be their driver. Find the right incentives by getting to know your customers first. Learn what your customers like, and use this information to delight them.

  3. Engage Staff in Gamification
    Your customer service representatives are a front-line promotional channel that should be leveraged to get more customers on board with electronic bill payments. But how can you get them engaged? Gamification. Gamification is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts. When Deloitte built a leadership training curriculum for senior executives but had trouble encouraging the executive team to begin and complete the program, they turned to gamification. By introducing gamified elements like badges, leaderboards, and status symbols to measure executive participation, the average time to complete the courses decreased by 50% and the program saw nearly a 50% increase in the number of daily returning users.

    If you replace the audience with your customer service representatives and swap the goals for electronic bill enrollment, this concept can work to drive your team to engage more customers in electronic bill payments. Just as the customer incentives noted above, gamification can be extremely effective in facilitating a change in behavior and encouraging more engagement.

  4. Influence Through Social Platforms
    If social media is not part of your electronic bill payment marketing plan, why not? 42% of the current population engages in social media today and Facebook leads the charge with 2.38 billion active users as of March 31, 2019. Therefore, there is a really good chance that many of your customers who are not currently signed up for electronic bill payments are signed up for Facebook.Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are natural outlets for advertising and promoting your services and payment options digitally. Communications via social platforms are only getting more advanced to accommodate the expectations of customers, and products like KUBRA IQ enable utilities to show balances and accept payments in the same channel as promoting their electronic bill payment options.
  5. Give Them a Little Taste
    Over half of American households are interested in turning off paper bills. If they’re holding back because they are not aware of the option, do not know how to enroll in electronic billing, are afraid of change, or feel they need that paper reminder every month, consider giving them a little taste of convenient electronic bill payments.A large energy company working with KUBRA rolled out a secure email feature to encourage electronic bill payments among their customers. They ran a program where customers were automatically signed up for a three-month trial for secure email delivery that included their bill as a PDF attachment. During this three-month trial, their customers received a series of emails that promoted full enrollment of electronic billing that would allow them to pay directly from their PDF-attached bill. After the three-month trial, customers were asked to go paperless and officially enroll. This strategy got this utility on their way to their 50% paperless goal. Click here to view the full case study.

    If you’re feeling like your electronic bill payment goals are out of reach, you’re in good company. But there is hope. New technologies are making it easier for organizations to tap into what will drive a change in customer behavior and these five tactics will certainly help.