How to make your customers happier

For the last eight years, Fiserv, a global company in the financial services industry, publishes an Annual Billing Household Survey. This survey reports trends in how consumers receive and pay their bills.

Past Utility Information Pipeline articles referenced this survey in 2012 and 2014. The Eighth Annual Billing Household Survey is now available and this issue will highlight a few statistics from it.

Customers want choices

This graphic, from page 20 of the report, highlights how offering different billing and payment options impact customer satisfaction (clicking on any of the graphics will open a larger image in a new window):

Customer Satisfaction Factors
 

Multiple payment options

Almost as if it were written for the audience of this blog, consider this quote from the graphic on page 21 of the report:

“The expectation of multiple payment options does not vary depending on the type of biller. In fact, consumers expect a local utility to provide the same options as a national wireless carrier or cable provider.”

As the graphic shows, 79% of customers expect your utility to provide the same options as much larger national companies:

Expectation of Multiple Payment Options
 

Preferred payment options

According to the survey respondents, as shown in the graphic below from page 8 of the report, the majority of online households prefer to pay their bill at your website, ahead of paying by check:

Online Household Payment Methods
 
In third place is paying the bill online at the customer’s financial institution website. The text accompanying this graphic says:

“Between the Seventh and Eighth Annual Billing Household Surveys, there was a 72 percent increase in consumers making payments at both biller and financial institution websites. Paying bills at a financial institution’s site also grew significantly by 55 percent.”

Clearly, the trend is toward paying bills online, whether that is your website or the customer’s financial institution’s website. The next Utility Information Pipeline issue will deal with automating payments made by your customers using their bank’s online bill pay.

Paperless billing

The final statistic I want to highlight is how important paperless billing is becoming to customers. The graphic pictured below, from page 14 of the report, shows that 79% of households receive some of their bills electronically, and 25% receive all bills paperlessly.

Paperless Billing Preferences
 
In addition, only 22% have no interest in going paperless! Clearly, paperless billing is the way of the future.

Are you offering your customers the choices they want?

Are you offering your customers all the payment options they desire? Are you offering paperless billing? If the answer to either question is “no”, please give me a call at 919-232-2320 or email me at gsanders@logicssolutions.com to learn how a business review could help you learn how your office could better meet your customer’s needs.
 

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© 2016 Gary Sanders

Are you staying abreast of the latest trends…?

Two years ago, I wrote about the 2012 Fiserv Billing Household Survey and offering your customers payment choices.

2014 Billing Household Survey

In December, Fiserv released the updated 2014 Billing Household Survey slideshow. Below is an infographic highlighting several key points from the 2014 Survey. Clicking on the infographic will open a larger version from the Fiserv website.

Billing and Payment Options Positively Impact Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty

In this article, I’ve recapped some of the highlights of the 2014 Survey.

Multiple payment methods

According to the survey, the average household uses three different payment methods each month (slide 5) and offering multiple bill payment options increases customer satisfaction (slide 7).

Customers paying with a mobile device increased 69% from 2013 (slide 12). Over half of all tablet owners have used their tablet device to pay a bill (slide 16) and the most common way to pay a bill by mobile device is your website (slide 15).

What this says to me is, if you’re not offering your customers online bill pay, they aren’t going to be happy with you.

Late payments

36% of customers pay bills late for several reasons, and second only to cash flow problems is forgetting the due date (slide 8). Over 75% of customers say due date reminders increase customer satisfaction (slide 17).

Offering due date alerts can increase the chances of those same customers adopting e-billing (slide 18).

If you aren’t alerting your customers of an impending due date (and I’m not talking about old-fashioned printed second notices), you’re missing out on an opportunity for improved customer service.

Paperless billing options

Almost a quarter of all U.S. bills are sent electronically

Almost a quarter of all U.S. bills are sent electronically with no paper bill produced and nearly half of all customers indicate that receiving paperless bills increases customer satisfaction (slide 19).

As could be expected, the youngest customers are most interested in doing away with paper bills (slide 20). However, nearly half of all bill payers choose to receive a combination of paper and e-bills (slide 21).

Knowing the demographics of your customer base can help predict the adoption rate of offering paperless billing.

Need assistance?

If you have questions about offering additional payment options or improving the way you communicate with your customers, please give me a call at 919-232-2320 or e-mail me at gsanders@logicssolutions.com to learn how a business review could help your utility.

Still time to complete the 2015 Utility Fee Survey

Just a friendly reminder – if you haven’t yet participated in the 2015 Utility Fee Survey, there is still time to do so. Please click here to complete the survey. It should take less than five minutes to complete.

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at gsanders@logicssolutions.com or call me at 919-232-2320.

I’m looking for as much participation as possible in the survey, so please feel free to pass this on to your colleagues at other utilities.

Thank you in advance for your participation in the Utility Fee Survey.

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© 2015 Gary Sanders