Learnings from the Paperless Trenches

Inlet eBill Presentment.jpg

Utility companies that reduce costs while improving customer service are most likely to achieve long term success – it just stands to reason, so I didn’t need to visit CS Week in Tampa, FL to understand that. I’ve made a career out of helping companies find and execute new paperless solutions, so what I found most interesting at CS Week was learning about the seemingly endless opportunities available to companies to engage their base to go paperless. 

In one standout workshop, “Utilizing Customer Analytics to Drive Electronic Billing Adoption,” several companies shared stories about how their relentless growth efforts have plateaued. They’ve made great strides by centralizing their outreach tools to improve adoption campaigns. While these efforts have helped them inch closer to their paperless goals, I wonder if they can really move the needle substantially by using the same communication tactics without rethinking them to meet digital expectations.

One speaker, John Meehan from Citizens Energy, cited his company’s long-term objectives, including increasing the "customer-first" culture by providing customers with choices and options for additional service offerings, enhancing Citizens cost-consciousness, while delivering excellent service. These goals align perfectly with what Inlet offers. Perhaps a survey asking customers where they’d prefer to receive eBills could inform and direct billers toward new opportunities.

Personally, I look for digital solutions that make my already-busy life easier. One-time promotions may be interesting, but they’re not as motivating as having more choice when it comes to where I receive bills and statements. Convincing customers to go paperless is an evolution: When a paperless solution “fits” their lifestyle, it will be something customers will feel comfortable with and want to keep using. If customers are already keeping bills and important documents at bank bill pay sites or personal cloud storage apps, perhaps that’s the right strategy — rather than adding another proprietary destination with yet another password.

All in all, my experience at CS Week was filled with meaningful dialogue and experiential learning, with plenty of laughs mixed in. It reminded me that our future will be increasingly paperless. Have you considered what that will look like for your company?

If you attended the show or you have thoughts about your paperless programs are headed, I’d love to hear from you.

Jeff Parmenter
Sales Director
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