Customer Experience and the Humble Bill
I’ve been involved in billing now for 20 years and in that time you could argue that (in spite of my best efforts) not much has changed in terms of customer experience.
Apart from the introduction of electronic billing (email-based and online bill presentment), what have the big advances been?
As companies battle for market-share and customer satisfaction, it seems almost bizarre.
This leads me to the BIG eBilling question:
Does customer experience influence your billing approach?
BillingViews.com, a ‘beyond billing’ telco-focused analyst company, recently asked some telcos the following question:
In over 60% of responses, the billing team had no real influence on customer experience strategy at all. And yet billing is one of the main touch points that any company has with its customers!
To be honest, the fact that BillingViews.com felt the need to ask this question is just as telling as the results. In today’s competitive environment, how can a billing team even think about excluding customer experience??
So what is your customers’ billing experience?
Interestingly, telcos probably have more areas that influence the customer experience than other service companies. Everything from handset availability, service plans, pricing, network quality and coverage all contribute to the customers’ overall experience. But billing, and bill shock (unexpectedly high bills) still contribute hugely to the customers’ perception of the service received.
Looking at other industries like utilities and banking, it’s different. Pricing is often set and there is an expectation that the lights will stay on, the water will flow when you turn on the tap, the ATM will cough up cash and your credit card will be accepted everywhere. The only memorable customer experience will be a negative experience when one of the above doesn’t happen.
And yet in most companies across all industry verticals, the one common touch point – the regular customer bill/statement – still languishes as a forgotten weapon in the war to provide a better customer experience than the competition.
Take up the fight!
Yes, the humble bill can be so much more than just a demand for payment nowadays…
Here are 7 ways to fire up your customers’ eBilling experience:
1. Electronic delivery is a great place to start; the inbox is the customer’s preferred electronic channel and is much cheaper than paper/post too.
2. Graphs and comparisons with neighbors can help customers easily understand their usage.
3. Click-thru eMarketing (Transpromo) within the eBill adds measurable value and additional revenues.
4. Payment from within the PDF eBill is not only convenient for the customer (a good experience!) but generally gets customers to pay faster too, which is great for business!
5. Automated email reminders (also with payment facilities) can help reduce late payments.
6. Update forms within the PDF allow customers to provide amended email/physical address details.
7. Personalized videos can guide customers through complex billing plans and explain changes in a simple, easy-to-digest format.
So, if you’re looking to restock your ‘Customer Experience Arsenal’ and fire off another salvo at the competition, don’t forget to include interactive eBilling – it is possibly one of your biggest guns!
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