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Paperless billing and the promise of a brighter mailbox.

Posted April 1, 2012 by Nicole Haskins

Coming home after a long day of work, I am once again greeted by the routines I love: opening the day’s mail and the aroma of dinner emanating from my slow cooker. I kick off my shoes, ready to peruse the latest sales catalog and home décor magazine. Then I spot them…

The dirge of people everywhere…the dreaded monthly utility bills. As if my day weren’t filled with enough paper, now I must open each bill (watch out for paper cuts), write out a check, remit it quickly and then balance my checkbook (fingers crossed I did not transpose a number).

Don’t get me wrong. I love utility companies. They heat, water, and power my home; necessities that all of us rely on. But, my catalog obsession, the lovely thank you notes and birthday wishes I’ve received, and party invitations lose their luster after the bill paying ritual.

Stop the bill paying merry-go-round. I want to get off!

It is then that I see the light. Paperless billing. Immediately, a sense of hope rushes over me. No more checks, no more paper bills to cut my finger on, no more spending my precious free time remitting payments manually or otherwise depending on the utilities automation decisions.

In fact, even my mailman will benefit from my move to paperless, as I lighten the weight of his parcels. Mother Earth will be a little greener as I save a tree or two and of course, my utility company will lower its processing costs (and hopefully, pass that savings along). Most of all, it will reduce the clutter within my sanctuary and help to preserve my beautiful evening ritual.

Silly, I know, and slightly selfish. However, it brings to light something that every utility must ask itself. What motivates my customers to go paperless? How am I going to provide a versatile system that meets those motivations in order to get the adoption I need?

In working with utilities, these are the questions our customers ask. All utilities should ask these questions in order to choose the best, most flexible, most incentivizing solution to end users. Driving adoption, while meeting the goals of the utility and its customers is possible.

Instead of going no further than mailing a notification about paperless options to customers, there are more effective methods utilities can employ to reach specific demographics that, if met, will raise their adoption rates.

A great mailing for me would have been….”Tired of seeing those bills on your counter?” or “Wish this invoice was a discount coupon or an awesome catalog instead?” Off the cuff and tongue-and-cheek I know, but if we can think outside the normal notifications and use our steady stream of communication to our customers, we can drive the adoption rates we need as well as meet the needs of the customer.

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