Redesign Your Utility Bill to Cut Costs and Increase Customer Engagement

by | Feb 15, 2021

When Planning to Redesign Your Utility

For some providers, the monthly utility bill is the only regular communication sent to customers. In many cases, the utility bill is not user-friendly, nor does it provide the kind of insights that today’s utility consumers expect.

An article published on EnergyCentral – Reimagining the Electricity Bill agrees that many utility bills are way too full of jargon and technical terms. They also fall short of providing information in a way that regular folks would find useful.

While the catalyst for a redesign of the bill may be any number of reasons, there are certain key outcomes that should always be part of the plan. 

Redesign your utility bill to reduce costs and increase customer engagement. 

Redesigning a utility bill is not simply about adding some color and a better layout. There is far more to take into consideration and a wealth of potential for positive impacts.

As a starting point, aim to achieve the following objectives when redesigning your utility bill

  • Enhance the customer experience through a better representation of the key information
  • Improve operational efficiency and manage service costs by reducing inbound calls
  • Drive customer engagement by including information that adds value to the customer

When done well, the benefits of a redesign will be felt, not only by customers but also across the utility.

Of course, this cannot be achieved by a designer alone. The project requires input from many departments – billing, marketing, customer services, information systems, and more.

Do not attempt to redesign your utility bill without the following key inputs: 

Customer Centricity Customer Input

When embarking on a utility bill redesign project, it is important to get insights directly from customers themselves, as to what information they need and want to see on the bill.

Often, internal teams, like marketing or billing, will add elements to the bill based on where there is space or how an accountant would read it. However, customers extract very specific information from their bills and when available, facilitate payment from within, so having all billing-related customer journeys well defined, will ensure that the redesigned bill meets customers’ needs.

Customer feedback can be obtained via surveys and/or focus groups and consultation with community advisory groups.

Internal Teams iconInternal Teams

Preparing for a bill redesign needs multiple sources of input. Various departments have different vested interests in the bill and therefore need to contribute to the bill design.

The project team must include representatives from billing, marketing, customer services, information and data systems, as well as accounts payable. Some utilities will be obliged to get input from legal teams to ensure regulatory compliance.

While all the participating teams must be involved when you redesign your utility bill, the actual design decisions should, first and foremost, accommodate customers’ needs.

Experienced Partner

 

Experienced Partner

Most utilities have a billing and/or payment partner. This is critical, as the partner must have specialist skills in utility customer communication and should bring best practice bill models to the table, as well as learnings from other utilities as input to design decisions.

Your billing partner also needs to guide the team on accessibility requirements and have the skills to implement customer-centric functionality that will achieve the goals.

One of the key areas of frustration for customers is billing errors, so the billing partner should advise on an automated bill verification process to reduce the likelihood of sending an incorrect bill.

Engage utility customers with data-driven personalized design and targeted messaging 

Working with customers, internal teams and an experienced billing partner will drive measurable benefits from a successful redesign.  

At the very least, a utility bill redesign should remove the costs associated with supporting a complex bill and increase the value of the information provided to the customer. 

What utility customers really want from their bill: 

  • How much do I owe?
  • When must I pay by?
  • How is this calculated?
  • What other value can I get?  

How you communicate with customers and present valuable information, such as usage, on the bill can have a huge impact on the success of any efforts to drive or change customer usage behavior, for example, drive energy or water conservation. 

The right billing partner will assist the team in using the data on hand to personalize the utility bill and insert targeted messages and offers – further improving the customer experience and encouraging the right customer behavior.  

Let Doxim assist with your utility bill redesign. GET IN TOUCH

3. Expansion of digital products

As banking customer behavior shifts, banks must move with the times, or risk getting left behind. Many banks today are exploring the power and potential of open banking, which can allow them to offer more innovative products and services to their customers, as well as to better compete with fintech companies and other non-traditional financial service providers.

As you shift your banking business model to reach new segments or provide an enhanced array of services, communication becomes even more pivotal to your success. After all, if your customers don’t know which new services they qualify for, or how those services will help them meet their goals, then they are unlikely to explore them further. CCM technology can be leveraged here to provide personalized on-statement messaging that directs customers to the right products and services, as well as 1:1 personalized “explainer” videos to help them get started.

Adjusting your bank’s priorities to thrive in 2023

In an era of constant change, the key to successfully transforming your bank’s business model will be to stay attuned to the changing needs and preferences of customers, and to be open to exploring new opportunities and technologies that can help your FI stay competitive and relevant. But these new opportunities are doomed to fail if you do not clearly communicate their benefits and make it simple for customers to access them.

That is why transforming your customer communication strategy is the best first step to broader digital transformation. By updating your approach to communications to meet omnichannel customer needs, you also position your bank to communicate the benefits of changes in your broader organization, like new or enhanced products and services. The pace of change in banking has never been brisker – but with the right strategic approach to these changes, the future is bright.

Investing in a modern customer communication management and engagement platform is an essential part modernizing your banking strategy, as it can provide the personalized digital experiences that will keep your bank or credit union ahead of the competition. It helps provide a great customer experience, and builds rich relationships, which in turn results in customers for life and a competitive advantage in the rapidly evolving financial marketplace.

How Doxim can address the banking customer communications trends identified and help future-proof your digital banking strategy

banking customer communications trends

Doxim’s experienced consultants and omnichannel platform can help transform your customer experience in many ways, including:

  • Gathering and utilizing customer data to continually improve the personalization of communications.
  • Building trust with customers via communication (via print, PDF, HTML, email, text, and online interactive experiences).
  • Leveraging interactive video to drive personalized digital customer experiences, such as interactive statements, bills, or reports, that offer visual engagement and real-time interactivity
  • Putting customer data, including customer statements, at the fingertips of your service representatives for immediate and personal service.
  • Making a meaningful connection with value-added content, like information about philanthropic activities, on customer statements.

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