In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, delinquency in utility bill payments continues to be a pressing issue nationwide. However, modern, dynamic communication options can allow utility companies to tackle this challenge head-on.
According to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA), more than 20 million families are behind in utility bills, totaling over 16 billion dollars. Presenting customers with digital payment methods provides options that can work to decrease this enormous debt, including easy-to-set-up payment plans. Adopting innovative communication strategies allows utility companies to expand their revenue streams by decreasing delinquency, creating benefits for both utility companies and their customers.
Traditional paper bills and snail-mail reminders are a low-impact, high-cost notification solution that gets easily lost in the noise of daily life. Outbound messaging enables utility companies to send automated notifications to customers in the places that are already grabbing their attention: their smartphones. With SMS, email, and voice message options, these timely reminders can help customers stay on top of their bill payments, reducing the likelihood of delinquency due to forgetfulness or oversight. Without the manual intervention needs, staff is freed up to handle more complex issues.
Modern self-service web solutions empower customers to take control of their utility accounts 24×7. These user-friendly interfaces allow customers to view their billing statements, securely store payment information, set up automatic payments, and access payment history. By providing easy-to-use online platforms, utility companies enable customers greater access to manage their account, reducing the risk of delinquency and ensuring a smoother billing process.
Increasing payment options allows for customers to stay in better communication with agency staff. By utilizing a solution that integrates directly with an agencies back end database, customers can set up payment-plans or payment extensions that will remove them from the delinquency list, allowing call center staff to focus on other customers.
Offering real-time payment options with an integrated, highly configured solution is an effective method of decreasing delinquency and increasing revenue. Utility companies can offer secure PCI-DSS compliant online payment solutions, allowing customers to make immediate payments using credit or debit cards, and e-checks. Some Selectron utility clients experience a 50% rate of payment immediately following reception of a delinquency notification.
Real-time payments provide more than just convenience and flexibility. With an integrated solution, customers on the shut-off list can make a payment and our system has the ability to not only take and post the payment, but also delete the service order and notify the work crew in real time. This prevents enormous confusion and frustration for both the customer and the utility agency.
By leveraging automated notifications, self-service web portals, and real-time payment options, utility companies can transform their approach to addressing delinquency. Implementing these solutions not only benefits utility companies by reducing financial strain, but also empowers customers to manage their utility accounts more effectively.
Selectron understands the unique billing and payment challenges utilities face. Our organization’s expertise allows us to deploy solutions that drive efficiency and support staff workflow. Our fully integrated solutions are built based on your business rules to make sure our solutions solve your problems, not create new ones.
As more agencies understand the need to modernize their approach to digital communication and customer service, we provide a depth of experience to lead them toward solutions that address their challenges and support their growth.
If you’re interested in exploring your options with digital communication channels, contact your account manager Sandy or Aulyn to learn more.