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Increasing Self-Service Saves Utility $900k Annually: Client Story

By Brian Melle

For utility organizations, high credit card processing fees can cause water rates to rise, putting a strain on the organizations themselves and their communities. Without a focus on increasing self-service payments, combating these rising rates were becoming a major issue for Arlington Water Utilities — especially considering the Texas utility provider services over 100,000 accounts in a city of 400,000 residents. 

On top of soaring credit card processing fees, Arlington faced several other challenges, including: 

  • Lack of self-service functionality leading to increased call volume, call abandonment and in-person visits 
  • High costs associated with printing and mailing paper bills 
  • Moving from an absorbed fee to a convenience fee model, to alleviate rate hikes 

Increased rates coupled with a lack of payment flexibility were not only toxic for the customer experience and CSAT scores, but also diminished morale among employees. It was clear that Arlington needed a digital payment platform that not only increased revenue and operational efficiency, but also decreased costs and made life easier for employees. 

Stabilizing water rates with digital payments 

Arlington knew that an electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) platform would help them overcome collection obstacles while maintaining stable rates. After looking at their options, they realized Invoice Cloud provided everything they needed and more, including: 

  • A better user experience to drive more online payments 
  • Increased self-service adoption to decrease calls and walk-ins 
  • Customer notifications to decrease late payments 
  • Stabilized rates with a convenience fee model for credit card payments
  • Paperless enrollment to decrease print and mail costs 

Arlington Water Utilities saves $900k a year with Invoice Cloud 

Since the implementation of Invoice Cloud in 2018, Arlington Water Utilities has seen an average savings of $900k in operating expenses each year. In the first year alone, Arlington saw a 60% decrease in payment-related calls, giving employees the time to focus on high-priority issues while giving customers the flexibility they need to pay their bills and manage their account digitally. 

Moreover, they were able to reduce walk-in payments by 27% and save $30k in annual print costs, all from increasing paperless billing by 35%

However, these cost reductions are more meaningful than just saving money. “The avoided costs Arlington has seen each year since implementing Invoice Cloud translates into significant benefits for our city, whether that is helping keep water rates some of the lowest in North Texas or providing extra funds to replace critical infrastructure like aging water and sewer mains,” says Craig M. Cummings, director of Arlington Water Utilities. “It also gives our customers the communication options they prefer, such as texts sent directly to their phones to let them know when a payment is due.” 

Oftentimes, crisis scenarios aren’t top-of-mind for city utility organizations when considering an EBPP, but the added piece of mind provided by the highest level of security and multi-channel communication options integrated into the Invoice Cloud platform are a definite benefit for Arlington. 

To see the full results of Arlington Water Utilities and learn more about their successful implementation of Invoice Cloud, read the full case study, below. 

Arlington Case Study CTA

Tags: ebpp, online payment system, utilities, self-service, customer engagement, online payments

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