Catering to Utility Customers’ Payment Preferences
- Jun 8, 2018 10:30 pm GMTJun 8, 2018 9:06 pm GMT
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This item is part of the Special Issue - 2018-05 - Customer Care, click here for more
As a company with close to 30 years of industry experience, we have seen a number of changes in consumer payment preferences, including the technology consumers use to process payments. However, by integrating ourselves into our clients’ lives, we learn more about how their customers prefer to process and make payments, and gain a better sense of what customers are looking for in their “ideal” payment solution, whether that be digital, mobile or in-person.
For this reason, Speedpay recently commissioned a longitudinal consumer research study – the Speedpay Pulse – to follow the evolution of consumer payment preferences as technology such as smartphones, mobile apps and mobile wallets, continue to have an increasingly important role in our industry. Through this initial research, we secured some very interesting results related to how and when consumers like to pay their utility bills. They include the following:
- A biller’s website and mail are the leading channels through which consumers pay a majority of their one-time utility bills.
- A biller’s website is the most preferred channel for recurring utility bills.
- Checking account deduction is the most frequent and preferred method for recurring utility bills.
Based on this information, it is clear that consumers desire a seamless, convenient, digital payment experience, where they can log onto the biller’s website, make a payment within a few clicks, receive a confirmation, and then no longer have to worry about the payment being processed. However, we also understand that many consumers are often on the go and want to have the flexibility to process payments using their mobile devices. For this reason, the payments industry needs to offer customers a variety of payment options that offer flexibility to cater to consumers’ ever-evolving preferences. Based on this research, it appears that consumers want to have the option to make payments using a variety of payment methods, and do not want to feel restricted. Since checking account deduction is the most frequent and preferred method of paying recurring utility bills, according to our research, utility clients should consider implementing offerings that provide their customers with a quick, digital payment experience to allow them to make recurring utility payments directly from their checking accounts.
We are continuing to explore ways to provide customers with seamless, on-the-go payment solutions. Our ebilling offerings, allows customers to receive email statements that contain an encrypted PDF with an embedded payment form. Through our partnership with the Walletron moBills® platform, customers are able to make payments in two taps right from their phone’s mobile wallet. We feel that by catering to customers’ preferences and listening to their feedback, we are able to keep them happy, while continuing to adapt to their needs. This in turn helps to ensure the processing and completion of more on-time payments, which is a win-win.
Furthermore, along with a preference for digital payment transactions, our research also found that paying in-person at a biller’s office is more popular within the utility vertical, especially for water and sewer bills. Although it may feel like everyone is stuck behind a computer or cell phone screen, our research shows this is simply not true! Although the payments industry is moving toward a more mobile and digital mindset, we also understand, we still need to cater to our utility clients’ customers who are not yet ready to make payments from their phone, tablet or laptop. One of the ways Speedpay is working to make in-person bill payments more seamless is by aligning with a solution kiosk provider to expand customer payment solutions for utility clients. Through this alliance, utility customers can make payments at easy-to-use self-service kiosks placed on-site at a utility provider or at a location of the utility client’s choice, enabling customers to conveniently pay their bills.
As we learn more from our research and as consumers continue to become more comfortable adopting the latest technologies, including virtual assistants and artificial intelligence, Speedpay will continue to adjust and adapt to meet these ever-evolving payment preferences.
To learn more about Speedpay’s payment offerings, please visit: https://www.speedpay.com/