At its core, customer engagement is about encouraging customers to take actions that drive beneficial results for them and your organization. Effective customer engagement incorporates everything from how you initiate contact with customers, to – in the case of online payments – their experience submitting a payment.
In a recent blog post, we discussed the benefits of improving the online payment experience. We detailed how a good online payment experience can decrease customer service calls, lower print and mail costs, speed up collections, and improve customer satisfaction. Now that you have a clear understanding of why a good user experience for online payments is to important, the next step is learning how to identify the Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment platform that will drive the best user experience for your customers.
As organizations and individuals learn to settle into a ‘new normal’ that involves working remotely and practicing social distancing, many billers are looking for ways to engage customers and provide them with necessary resources. One important way to assist customers during this time is to provide as many contactless payment options as possible, including the option to pay bills online.
One of the most common challenges currently faced by water utility companies is the issue of rising water rates. In many areas throughout the United States, water utilities are dealing with aging water infrastructures and increasing treatment costs. This creates both collections and revenue issues for the utility, as increasing water rates usually result in delayed payments and, in some cases, customers who are unable to pay their bills at all. Since water utilities are responsible for the costs associated with maintaining and treating water regardless of the revenue they collect, these collection issues lead to disruption in business services and higher bills across the broader customer base. One way that utilities can effectively manage these challenges is by utilizing an online payment platform that engages customers and drives higher self-service rates.
Water is crucial to life. Without it, humans would not survive for more than 3 to 4 days. But access to clean drinking water is not free. Research from Michigan State University published in 2017 reveals water rates have increased by 41% since 2010. And if rates continue to rise in the next 5 years, then 46.08 Million US households won’t be able to afford water. In 2019, further investigation by Bluefield Research shows that the combined US monthly water and wastewater bill amounts to US $104 average per household when adjusted for inflation. A study conducted by the American Water Works Association also indicates that low-income households must spend an average of 9.7% of their disposable income and/or work 9.5 hours at minimum wage to pay for basic water and sewer service. In an effort to help wrestle the growing crisis of water affordability in the United States, WaterSmart Software and Invoice Cloud have partnered to provide ratepayers a suite of self-service tools to manage rising water costs.