Gen Y (those born between 1977 and 1994 and also known as the Millennial Generation) is increasingly becoming responsible for paying bills today. As a member of Gen Y, and I think I can speak for most of us, we don’t like the hassle of having to stop what we’re doing to pay bills. I’ve grown up with the internet and speedy access to nearly everything. The way I approach bill-pay differs greatly than consumers who are 40, or even 20, years older than me.
First, I always sign up for automatic billing.
This way I don’t have to worry about remembering due dates, I don’t need to mark it on a calendar, and I don’t have to log in anywhere to submit a payment. It’s paid automatically and confirmed when I check my bank statement. Unless the payment amount is much more than normal, I don’t think twice about it.
On the contrary… when my dad makes a payment online, he prints a receipt with a confirmation number, puts it in a manila folder, and files it away. For him – if it’s not on paper, it isn’t real.
Second, I’m a double dipper.
For the same account, I receive an email bill and a paper bill (and I don’t pay attention to either one). When I see a bill reminder in my email, I mark it as read, confident that my automatic payment setup will take care of it. When I get a paper bill, I file it away (un-read), knowing that it’s one less thing to worry about. I don’t need that paper bill, but I haven’t taken the time to figure out how to stop it.
What are some ways you could help a customer like me?
I prefer to not be sent a paper bill at all and would definitely appreciate more convenient ways to go paperless.
The option to go paperless should be easily accessible on your e-billing website. In fact, it would be convenient for me, and position you as an organization that keeps pace with the times, to have the option to “go paperless” directly next to the AutoPay signup. The key to driving its usability is to make it really prominent. Even better – my biller could have automatically signed me up for paperless billing by default when I set up AutoPay.
If a biller is concerned that going “cold turkey” with paperless is too aggressive, then another option would be to continue to provide a paper bill for a few more billing cycles before turning off the paper bill automatically. The biller could provide ample advanced notification to the customer either through email or a message that could be stamped on the outside of the mailed envelope informing the customer that it is their last paper bill. Regardless, a customer should be able to opt back in to paper billing in the future should they desire.
Every customer is different, but as a new bill payer, these ideas would be mutually beneficial to me AND my biller.