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Utility Billing - There's an App for That!

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Nevelyn Black's picture
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Nevelyn Black is an independent writer with a background in broadcast and a keen interest in renewable energy.  In the last few years, she transitioned from celebrity interviews and film shoots...

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Apple fittingly trademarked the phrase, 'There’s an app for that' and in every other corner of the business world there is.  However, “one-third of large utilities still do not have an app,” said Jon Sundberg, senior digital manager at J.D. Power.  The issue is long-standing, but many utilities are making the digital transition to better serve their customers.

The City of Escondido implemented the InvoiceCloud payment solution to provide more options for customers.  The new system allows customers to pay utility bills via digital wallet, text, phone, or PayPal.  After integrating the system in 2018, the Escondido staff immediately began to see positive results. In the first nine months, the City of Escondido saw a 69 percent decrease in payment-related customer service calls and an 83 percent increase in paperless billing enrollment which equals $23,000 in annual savings.  “Since we transitioned to InvoiceCloud, billing and payments have been much easier for both our customers and our staff,” said Christina Holmes, Director of Finance for the City of Escondido.

Apps have consistently outperformed other customer engagement channels.  According to a collaboration survey by PYMNTS and ACI Worldwide, 97 percent of billing and collections execs say digitization raises satisfaction.  McKinsey and Company found from 2018 to 2020, utilities that maintained or improved digital satisfaction saw overall customer satisfaction rise by an average of 2 percent.

Based on those results, utility companies like NiSource are improving customer engagement through digital means.  The company will use chatbots and live chat to help customers get immediate answers to key questions.  "At NiSource, we are dedicated to providing an enhanced and effortless experience for our customers," said Jennifer Montague, senior vice president and chief customer officer at NiSource. "Customers have continually asked for more options to handle their needs. The chatbots and live chat give them the ability to engage with us in the channel of their choice at their convenience." 

As customers continue to request more digital options to do business, how well is your utility delivering digitally?

 

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jun 30, 2022

Such a great opportunity to break down the wall with customers who are stuck in the mindset that utility-customer interactions happen once per month. There's so much more to offer these customers. 

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