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:
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.
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.
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
Vice President, Utilities Vertical Lead at Doxim
With over 15 years of experience in providing information technology and services to the utility sector, Erin's expertise extends across project and operations management, as well as sales and account management.
Erin was Director of Customer Solutions at Utilitec, (acquired by Doxim in 2019) having been with the company for 15 years. Prior to that, she worked as a Project Manager at MSX International.