February 13, 2019

E-Billing: The Hero When Postal Service is Unreliable

The final stretch of 2018 in Canada was overshadowed by the Canada Post rotating strikes. As the weeks passed, consumers began to question when their parcels would arrive, when the strike would end, and when Canada Post would finally deliver their mail. The element that most impacted utilities was the question of mail delivery. If a customer depends on the mail to view and pay their bills, who is responsible for the late payments due to delayed postal service? The customer. But the utility does not escape unscathed. Your customer satisfaction rating feels the after-effects.

Enter e-billing: the hero when postal service is unreliable. Add in e-payment and you have yourself a superhero. E-billing has become a significant piece of the utility payment ecosystem. The standard that has been set for an omni-channel experience in e-billing and e-payments is crucial to customer satisfaction. Today, communication channels are abundant but they will only continue to evolve and grow in accordance with new technology.

The concept of omni-channel gives your customers a seamless experience across all billing and payment channels. Whether your customer is 56 and checking emails regularly for the latest news, 46 and sharing family pictures on Facebook, 36 and making dinner plans by text message, or 26 and asking Amazon Alexa to set their thermostat, customers of all ages should be able to view and pay their bills just the same. Artificial Intelligence has opened the doors to more communication channels that are convenient and live within the home. Email, text message, chatbots, smart speakers – these are all customer touchpoints that stand out when traditional methods fall short. Making these alternative and convenient billing and payment channels known to customers will save your organization from providing a negative experience.

A strong e-billing platform must be accompanied by strong notification tools, the type of tools that keep customers returning and, dare we go one step further and say, choosing to go paperless. As revealed in KUBRA’s 2018 Consumer Billing Trends webinar, the reminder is one of the top reasons why customers are stuck on paper. Give them an e-billing solution that can deliver timely reminders via the channels they use most – email, text message, or even smart speakers.

Household surveys have revealed that customers are quite interested in e-billing. Utilities need to give them a good reason to go the digital route and continue to do so every month. Impending postal strikes and cold weather delays present opportunities to communicate e-bill presentment and e-payment options. But why wait until the next postal strike or delay to integrate an omni-channel billing and payment solution or address the gaps in your existing platform? It’s the beginning of a new year. Be proactive. Be the utility with 50%-60% e-billing rates and the next time a postal strike rolls through December, the only mail delivery concern will be how will letters reach Santa.