ASCENT GROUP
Customer Experience Consulting and Publications

Insight

Improving the Customer Experience

Eliminate EBPP Adoption Hurdles

Make sure your self-service billing and payment options are user-friendly and make it easy for customers to see or get their bills and make their payments. It should be easy to enroll in an electronic billing and payment option, and easy for customers to turn paper bills off/on and enable account notifications and reminders. Encourage representatives to enroll new customers while they are signing up for service.

Make sure your online experience provides the necessary account billing and payment history. Customers who have access to a year’s worth of billing and payment history are less likely to feel the need for paper bills. Bills presented on the website should look exactly like the paper bill, to eliminate confusion and unnecessary billing inquiry calls. This will also help customers feel more comfortable with paperless billing.

Customer frustration with EBPP services can be linked to poorly configured/integrated systems, inadequately tested features, incomplete billing and payment information, or inflexible billing and payment options. For instance, offering web-pay options under the conditions that the customer must give up receiving paper bills. Or, failing to list all payments received (regardless of channel) in the customer's web account payment history.

Self-service defects like these arise when companies fail to think through the customer experience as the EBPP services are deployed. Often, these defects are not quick fixes. The impact can be disastrous, reflecting poorly on the company and undermining goals to increase EBPP utilization.   

A recent billing study by Forrester Research revealed that half of consumers will leave a website in less than 8 seconds if they do not find what they are looking for.

New features and services should be tested with employees and customers to fine-tune the customer self-service experience, before deployment. As with any customer-facing technology, it is critical to understand and incorporate your customers’ needs and expectations. 

Companies interested in improving the customer bill paying experience should tap into their customer’s experiences, through focus groups, usability testing, and other customer research. Customer research will arm you with the information you need to match service offerings to preferences. Additionally, customer payment patterns change over time—with the economy, personal financial status, and through the introduction of new technologies. Make sure your EBPP services stay in tune and above all, make sure it is easy for customers to pay.