Now is the time for utility companies that still have to tackle digital payments. In 2020, the adoption of the digital wallet has increased globally to 55% and industry experts predict it will reach 75% by 2025. In addition, the demand for expanded payment options, which are essential for achieving accessibility, is increasing. and the convenience that people increasingly expect in every area of their lives.
In addition to improving the customer experience, modernizing collection processes simplifies the payment process for utility workers, leading to higher employee satisfaction rates across all types of organizations. Some benefits include fewer employee exhaustion, higher on-time payments, and a path to more efficient and profitable organizations. According to the latest job vacancies and turnover from the US Bureau of Labor reportUtilities are ranked among the highest for increased job opportunities, which means there are fewer people to handle billing-related customer calls and in-person visits.
Utilities that push payers to use digital solutions won’t suffer the hassle of a smaller workforce, as digital channels and self-service options are key to freeing employees from time-consuming manual tasks. Instead of chasing late payment or answering countless customer calls, digital payments act as a force multiplier, allowing employees to spend time on high-priority projects, increasing overall production, organizational efficiency and morale. employees.
Provide digital payment options
Revenue optimization is a priority for any organization, and accessing expanded payment channels is a viable approach to success. Proprietary customer data suggests that more options benefit more, and billers offering a robust electronic invoicing and payment (EBPP) platform confirm this. However, the effectiveness of an EBPP platform should be measured in terms of how it drives customers to self-service. Engaging platforms will move more customers to serve themselves by making online payments, using cardless billing, and other options. Self-service journeys create time and cost efficiencies, but the real key lies in the adoption rate and understanding what drives customers to adopt online payments.
- Do customers have to jump through hoops to pay or see their bills?
- Is it easy for customers to make an online or mobile payment?
- Can customers quickly and easily sign up for paperless billing or bill payment reminders?
- Are customers engaged at every available point of contact?
- What options do customers have for paying their bills?
Digital payments are already very popular in the United States – over 80% of Americans made a digital payment in 2021, according to McKinsey. The adoption of online payments and self-service rely heavily on the ability to offer flexible payment options. Our Research shows that the channels preferred by most payers include online payment portals (43%) and mobile devices (35%). But there’s a new payment option, and early adoption shows significant promise: cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrencies and customer experience
Cryptocurrency is at the forefront of today’s fintech trends and is becoming increasingly popular for paying bills. In particular, new research finds that a surprising number of people – 36% – would accept part or all of their cryptocurrency salary, clearly drawing a line between growing curiosity and actual use of digital currency.
Billers, including utility companies, are embracing cryptocurrencies to expand their commitment to offering affordable and engaging payment options. This is good news for utilities striving to improve efficiency and productivity, reduce costs, and remove friction from payment processes. Despite existing challenges, delivering a great customer experience is still critical and cannot be overlooked.
If you ask your parents or grandparents to explain cryptocurrency, they are unlikely to provide an accurate answer. The concept is still relatively new and often confused with technology; cryptocurrency is a technology backed currency to facilitate instant payments. But it won’t be long before the term is more widely understood as more and more billers allow customers to sell cryptocurrency for fiat money (government-backed funds, such as the US dollar) that can be used to pay off outstanding debts and bills. .
Utilities companies are increasingly offering cryptocurrency as a viable option for paying monthly bills. City leaders say adopting virtual currency gives residents more ways to pay their bills, raise money, build excitement, and build trust in digital formats. Customer experience is still king, and as digital currency and blockchain advance, billers at the forefront of this technology will differentiate themselves from the competition.
Regardless of the payment method, customer data shows options are valued and vendors can reap key benefits by allowing their customers the convenience they want. For utility organizations, increasing self-service options leads to:
- Fewer in-person visits from customers
- More consistent and timely collections
- Reduction of organizational costs
- Fewer service interruptions
- Reduced call volumes
- Higher customer satisfaction rates
The demands and expectations of today’s public service customers are constantly changing, especially in how they receive their bills and pay for their services. To keep pace and reap the benefits of increased adoption of electronic payments, utility providers need to expand intuitive payment experiences designed to improve conversion rates. Furthermore, offering innovative options such as cryptocurrencies highlights those forward-thinking cities that are looking for ways to stand out and, by default, are demonstrating their leadership at the forefront of new technologies.
About the Author: Sara Faied is VP Processing Transformation at InvoiceCloud, a Massachusetts-based online payment solution provider. With over 15 years of payment experience, you have a proven track record in implementing new technologies and developing new processes.