Incentivizing Convenience: Borough of Shillington Launches Sweepstakes to Drive On-Time Payments
When it comes to payments, billers must navigate meeting the needs of a diverse customer base while also optimizing operational efficiencies. Such was the case for Borough of Shillington, a municipality located in Berks County, Pennsylvania. While dedicated to delivering the ultimate customer bill pay experience, the lean staff and limited resources made in-person payments cost prohibitive and inefficient. What’s more, the quarterly billing schedule made it easy for customers to forget that payments were due.
To address this, the borough partnered with Paymentus to launch a new digital payment system, complete with AutoPay functionality. However, its base was used to paying in person or by card. With years of inertia to overcome, Shillington knew it needed something more than a traditional ad campaign to drive adoption.
In order to meet its unique needs, the borough enlisted the Paymentus Client Adoption Success Team (CAST).
The Challenge at Hand
The borough is responsible for serving the water, sewer and trash pickup needs of about 10,000 customers throughout Shillington and three neighboring municipalities. Many of these customers were accustomed to paying for these services in person, which impacted the borough team’s ability to focus on their day-to-day tasks.
But the biggest challenge revolved around the quarterly billing schedule. While a monthly bill can be relatively easy to manage, quarterly bills present different challenges for bill payers. First, there’s the issue of remembering due dates. Tracking a bill that is only due four times a year can cause much anxiety for bill payers, particularly for essentials such as water. A missed payment could mean a deactivation of the account, which could potentially lead to late and reactivation fees.
Additionally, condensing three month’s worth of bills into a single bill makes for a higher payment. For customers, this meant having to manually budget for these bills once they came due. Should a customer face an unexpected expense or shortfall, the impacts would fall on both the customer and the borough.
AutoPay to the Rescue
To help ease the bill pay burden on both customers and staff, Borough of Shillington launched the Paymentus omnichannel payment platform, featuring AutoPay. The online payment portal allowed customers to make payments without having to visit the office, helping streamline the process for all involved.
A key component of AutoPay is its ability to give customers “set it and forget it” convenience, something invaluable when bills are due at longer than typical intervals. Customers would no longer have to worry about late payments, missed payments and reactivation fees.
Customers were also given the ability to set up payment plans. This allowed customers to address the challenge of having to budget for a larger payment by offering them a way to make monthly payments toward their quarterly bill.
But while this improved functionality would radically transform how Shillington’s customers could pay for their services, the borough needed a cost-effective way to promote this new offering. Through the recommendation of a partner, Scott Brossman, Shillington’s Borough Manager, contacted Paymentus to learn more about CAST.
A Winning Collaboration
As a complimentary service offered by Paymentus, CAST provides clients with a wide range of marketing materials and support, each tailored to the specific brand and needs of clients. Shortly after being contacted by Borough of Shillington, CAST adoption specialist Jonathan Foo pitched the idea of running a special sweepstakes promoting AutoPay, which would be fully managed and run by CAST.
After a quick vetting process to determine the feasibility of running a sweepstakes, Foo’s idea was accepted and ultimately brought to life. To maximize participation, CAST developed a comprehensive campaign consisting of in-office posters and social media posts, as well as web banners and promotional sweepstakes entry cards featuring QR codes.
The sweepstakes itself asked customers to sign up for AutoPay in the online Utility Customer Portal and make one payment during a specific time period to be entered. Once entered, customers were then eligible to win one of two $500 Visa gift cards.
One of the highlights of the incentive programs is that CAST handles the cost of all components of the program, including purchasing the gift packages, providing legal support and coordinating the logistics of contacting and shipping prizes to the winners. “Our participation in this was really minimal,” said Brossman. “Basically, we only needed to provide a couple of creative reviews. It was a very hands off process.”
Once launched, the promotion drove a 270% increase in transaction volume.
Success from the Start
For Foo, working with Borough of Shillington offered CAST a chance to show its true end-to-end capabilities. “I think many clients are skeptical that they can effortlessly launch an incentive program. That Shillington trusted us was great, but being able to give them a marketing campaign that they were excited about was a thrill for all of us.”
While Brossman admitted he wasn’t sure what to expect when first working with CAST, he was quickly won over by CAST’s ability to deliver effective marketing support. “CAST really helped us navigate a program we had no experience with. Having this support makes it a lot easier for us. I was very impressed.”