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Why utilities need to digitize their collections notices

Utilities Why Are You Still Sending Paper Based Collections Notices

Originally posted on Energy Central

While paperless initiatives top the list of digital transformation goals for most utilities, many have yet to adopt this philosophy for collection notices.

Utilities are still sending out the same paper-based collection notices they have for decades, missing out on a simple change that could save costs, get payments faster and reduce the debtors’ book.

Research by Mckinsey shows that people are 12% more likely to pay in early delinquency when sent digital collections notices, instead of  paper notices, and 30% more likely to pay in the event of late delinquency

If every other form of communication sent to a customer is digital, why not do the same with collection notices?

The move to digital communications should incorporate all types of organizational communications sent to customers.

Eliminate complexity

Digitizing collections notices will result in a much more consistent customer experience when all other communication is also digital.

Bills have been the priority digital communication for many years, so it makes no sense to send a paper notice to these paperless customers if they’ve missed a payment or even forgotten to pay – which is the case for many customers in early stage collections.

Also worth noting that, if you send your collection notice via text or email, it’s almost guaranteed to land on a device that the customer has on them at all times, unlike physical mail, which goes to their physical residence.

Then consider the collection notices that go unseen because the account holder is either traveling or they were mailed to a different residential address.

%

Research has shown that 97% of people open every single text message they receive, and that emails are now opened more regularly on mobile than on desktop.

Another benefit of digitizing collection notices, whether by text message, email, or a combination of the two, is that the immediate payment of the outstanding amount can easily be facilitated.

Customers can simply click on a link in a text message, or a button in an email and be directed to a payment page.

Customer experience and the bottom line

For an organization the size of a typical utility, collecting payments faster from early and late delinquents can represent a significant amount of revenue. Importantly, this is revenue that can be recouped without having to engage the services of a debt-collection agency.

It’s obvious then that digitizing collections notices is no longer a nice-to-have, but should be a critical part of every utility’s wider customer communication strategy.

We can help you reduce the costs associated with communication around delinquency and past due accounts

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Mia Papanicolaou

Mia Papanicolaou

Vice President, General Manager at Striata, a Doxim company

Mia heads up strategic consulting, providing strategy and advice to companies and is a regular speaker on digital customer communication, digital maturity and improving the customer experience.

Mia has been named as an email marketing influencer multiple times and is passionate about helping organizations improve their digital communication maturity. Prior to joining Striata in 2006, she served as a business director for email marketing company, eMessageX. Mia relocated to the UK as Striata's UK Head of Operations in 2010. After 3 years in the UK, she transferred to the USA (2013) to take up the post of General Manager of the region and then took the reins as Chief Operating Officer.

Read more of Mia's blog posts here or connect with her on the following social channels:

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