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Improve Customer Adoption by Moving Beyond Green Messaging

Posted April 15, 2013 by Nicole Haskins

The numbers are staggering. Paper checks use 600 million gallons of fuel and add over three million tons of CO2 into the environment annually, according to PayItGreen. If just 20% of American households switched from paper to electronic bills and payments, 146,930,912 pounds of paper and 542,669,898 pounds of wood would be saved each year.

Given these numbers, how impactful is the “go green” message? Is it enough to convince your customers to give up paper bills and checks and adopt electronic billing and payments?

Not if you want better than the typical 10-15% adoption rates. Informing them that going paperless will allow the average American household to avoid producing 29 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, or the equivalent of preserving four square feet of forest from deforestation, won’t even sway them.

Although we all like to think we are environmentally-conscious, it takes more than a few alarming statistics to change consumer habits.

The environmental message, and particularly the popular green leaf imagery, has become synonymous for going paperless. While it clearly has a positive impact and can help get your program off and running, green messaging by itself simply doesn’t move enough customers to action. Billers need to do more to address the “what’s in it for me” question. There has to be the right messaging, with a strong enough value proposition, to get customers to change established habits.

Tap into your market’s concerns, and get to know your customer demographic. Feel their pain. Customers tend to be concerned about their own time, routines, and life, and will naturally be more interested in and responsive to things that make their life easier. According to a 2010 NACHA survey, for those going paperless, it is the desire to easily access their statements online and reduce clutter.

In addition, utilities must also consider why some customers have purposely chosen not to use electronic billing and payments options. Two of the most commonly cited are security concerns and fear of missing a payment. Whatever the reason, utilities should directly address these concerns in their promotional efforts. Utilities should, for example, work in messaging that touts:

  • the convenience of having instant access to 18 months of archived PDF statements,
  • the ability to make a payment online in just a few clicks,
  • the proactive bill reminders they can receive prior to their due date to make sure they don’t forget to pay,
  • and the secure, bank-level encryption used to protect their sensitive personal and payment information.

So what are you doing to get your customers on board with paperless billing and payments? I’d love to hear your success stories.

2 Responses to “Improve Customer Adoption by Moving Beyond Green Messaging”

  1. [...] follow-up on Nicole’s blog about the need for utilities to move beyond “go green” messaging so often used with paperless billing programs, it is still important for utilities to use the green [...]

  2. [...] angle isn’t enough to convince all of your customers to go paperless (check out our “Moving Beyond Green Messaging” post), it’s still important to foster your green initiatives. Promote e-bill and e-payment [...]

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