Utilities are facing a lot of expectations from their customers. Utility bills are particularly problematic because customers pay after using the product, and the amount due can change considerably from one month to the next. The billing experience is a key part of the customer life-cycle and a major influencer on satisfaction and churn.
When customers identify high bills or experienced a bill shock, the overwhelming majority of them ask the root cause of the increase. A few thoughts of a Bill Shocked Customers are:
• Why do I owe this much? Why is my bill so high?
• What are these pro-rated charges and why do I have them?
• Help me understand my bill.
• How can I sign up for automatic payments?
• How can I switch to paperless billing?
• Where is the contact information?
• Why I have to hunt for the answers?
This leaves not only confused customers frustrated, but floods utility provider call centers with the same kinds of queries, repeatedly, dragging down their call center rep’s productivity. The issues arrived when the amount billed greatly exceeds what was expected and they have a lack of information they’re being charged for and why.
Of course, it wouldn’t make business sense to simply reduce the utility bill in order to keep customers happy, but it would make sense for the utility to engage with their customers better by alerting them and assisting them to control these high bills.
Most utilities would no doubt accept that they have a responsibility to educate customers on what affects usage and how to employ conservation measures, therefore, helping to manage expectations of future billing amounts. Utilities have the opportunity to leverage communication channels to alert customers well in advance.
Deliver an exceptional billing experience and keep your customers informed and loyal
All of this can be avoided right out of the gate by taking a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to billing. Engaging customers with smart technology is certainly a key way in which customers can gain more insight and control of their consumption levels before the bill is issued.
That not only produces a strong relationship between you and the customer, it also cuts down sharply on the volume of angry bill shock-related calls that utility provider call centers have to field so that they can allocate their time and effort into something more productive.
FCI interactive utility bills anticipate the questions that potentially bill shocked customers have and can answer them before they’re asked.
This seamless, automated and proactive approach to customer communications give households visibility during every step of the billing journey—from before their bills arrive to after they have acted on them—utilities can deliver a deeper, more satisfying billing experience that has proven to build trust and lower costs by sparing their call centers from being bogged down by billing queries.