TC3 Speak Peek: Interactions – Breaking the 50% E-Billing Enrollment Barrier with Proactive Voice Self-Service

Author: Kelly Zunker, Sales Director at Interactions Corporation

Interactions CorporationFor every service provider, the simple act of collecting payments from consumers is actually quite complex. The service provider wants to make it easy and convenient for customers to pay, so they offer multiple choices of payment types and channels. The most compelling channel for both the businesses and their customers is electronic bill presentment and payment or e-bill. Electronic bill presentment and payment continues to grow in popularity largely driven by greater web and mobile access. This is great news for billers looking to lower printing and mailing costs, speed payment funding, improve collections and of course, help the environment.

 

Just the cost to print and mail a multi-page statement each month can be upwards of one dollar per statement per subscriber. Those numbers can add up quickly for businesses that have a recurring billing model with millions of customers. In addition to the costs of printing and mailing paper statements, there are additional support costs to these organizations. In the service provider industry, it is estimated that 40 percent of all inbound call volumes are related to billing and as much as one quarter of that volume can be directly attributed to paper statements.

 

Service providers cannot only enjoy reduced costs through electronic billing but also reduced wait time (days sales outstanding or DSO) for payment after a statement goes out. The vast majority of customers who receive an electronic bill will eventually pay the bill electronically. Ease of payment can lead to more responsive customers and help cut collection time. Specialists note that many e-bill customers pay their electronic bill before the paper bill would have even arrived in the mail. In many cases as many as twenty percent of e-bill customers will pay their bill the same day it is delivered.

 

In addition to all of the direct financial benefits of paperless billing, service providers may also see an increase in customer satisfaction and loyalty by going electronic. A Harris Interactive study found that a quarter of customers felt their relationship with their biller was better after switching to electronic billing. This increase in satisfaction with the biller reduces the likelihood of customers switching providers.

 

With all of the benefits of electronic billing to service providers, they have been already been pretty aggressive in signing up their subscribers. Industry statistics show that business are already reaping the benefits of electronically billing somewhere between 40 and 50% of their subscribers. When you are talking about subscriber bases in the millions that is a huge number. It also leaves a very large number yet to be signed up. Getting to 100% enrollment is unrealistic because some percentage of customers will always want their paper statements but how far can companies expect to get? Most billing specialists believe that in the average subscriber base, 70%-80% enrollment is achievable within the next few years but getting there is going to require more creativity than getting to 50% did.

 

As service providers have increased enrollments over the last few years, they have gotten very aggressive with reminders and incentives to the consumer. These campaigns have taken the form of e-mails, web site logins and glossy inserts in the paper statement envelope. Those approaches have garnered some nice gains as have incenting call center agents to push the enrollment. One approach that has not been widely employed for e-bill enrollment is voice self-service. While a voice-self-service application to enroll subscribers is extremely cost effective the technology has been a limiting factor due to the need to collect or verify the callers e-mail address and or SMS contact number. The technology now exists to resolve those problems making this type of application another great tool in the arsenal of the billing managers. At TC3, Interactions will be hosting a session to discuss the effectiveness and benefits of these new technologies and how they can help service providers, large and small break, through the 50% enrollment barrier.

 

About TC3:

TC3: Telecom Council Carrier Connections is a 2-day executive summit which highlights the relationship between the companies building communication networks, and the companies with new ideas that are fueling its growth.  500 executives will join to discuss how to get innovation to the market faster. At the summit, speakers include carriers and operators, entrepreneurs, investors and leading vendors from telecom infrastructure, platforms, mobile apps, IPTV, content and media, gaming, big data and more.  For more information on the Summit, please visit www.telecomcouncil.com/tc3.

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