Increase Customer Satisfaction and Improve Operations with an Optimized Billing Experience
When it comes to consumer-facing products, websites and services, you’ve likely heard the terms UX (user experience) and CX (customer experience). But have you ever considered BX, aka, the billing experience?
Often regarded as an accounting function, billing is largely seen and treated as a facilitator of payments rather than a customer satisfaction driver. In reality, billing is one of the most critical customer touchpoints across any organization, serving as both a collector of payments and a barometer for customer satisfaction.
What makes for a superior billing experience and how can you avoid the pitfalls that create unnecessary friction within your BX? Let’s take a look at the proper way to evaluate your current platform and discover the improvements you can make to boost on-time payments and overall customer satisfaction.
Bill Pay Insight from the Consumer Perspective
First, let’s dispel the notion that “bill due” equals “bill paid.” A recent report from PYMNTS.com shows that 72% percent of consumers cite essential services as a key reason for prioritizing one bill over another1. Or, thinking about it a different way, 28% of consumers do not prioritize their bills based on how essential the service may be.
Additionally, 14% of consumers identify the ease of making payments as a key factor in the decision-making process for which bills to prioritize. This number rises to 23% for Millennials.
Taken together, these stats highlight the importance of delivering optimal BX to ensure that bills are paid, essential service or not, so your organization collects. Through no fault of their own, this is typically where most organizations fall short. Sending bills and receiving payments is often viewed as a simple, transactional process, which turns it into a business blindspot.
Instead, billers must shine a spotlight on their current billing experience if they are to optimize BX. For starters, consider your own bill pay experiences as a consumer. Which bills do you prioritize and which do you typically tend to put off? Do you take advantage of capabilities such as AutoPay or saved payment methods when offered? Have you used a chatbot to pay a bill online? Which payment method do you tend to use the most? Which do you wish your billers would offer that they don’t already?
The key here is to take your everyday experience and objectively measure it against your organization’s BX. Think about the bills you put off and why. It might be something as simple as having to re-enter card data each time you make a payment. Is that something you ask of your bill payers? This small bit of self-assessment can go a long way toward optimizing your BX and getting your bill to the top of the paid pile.
Customers Will Pay for Improved BX
To put into perspective how important overall BX is to consumers, consider that according to a PYMNTS.com study, 51% of consumers are so impressed with a streamlined digital bill payment process that they would even be willing to pay extra to use such a system.
A simplified billing experience brings ease and usability to the bill payer’s doorstep, saving time and energy when paying bills or receiving communications from their biller. In fact, more billers are charging user fees to offset the cost of credit cards and technological innovations. So far, consumers have widely accepted these additional charges, knowing the innovations they are paying for will save them time and effort.
The willingness to pay a fee for an improved billing offering increases to 51% among consumers who are ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ interested and thus see value in such a service.
– PYMNTS.com, Streamlining Bill Payment: How Frictionless Experiences Drive Customer Engagement
The key takeaway here is that customers want simpler, more convenient payment options from their billers, to the point that they would pay a fee for this billing experience. That’s how powerful optimized BX can be. And if customers are willing to pay extra, you can believe that they will prioritize the bills that offer a better experience.
The True Cost of a Subpar Legacy BX
At the beginning of this article, we mentioned that at least 28% of bill payers do not prioritize their bills based on which are most essential. When it comes to services that can be shut off, almost everyone will pay their gas, electric or water bill before their cable bill. But if money is tight for a month or customers are simply struggling to keep up, the easiest bill to pay will likely be the one paid first. A subpar BX makes it likelier that your bill will go to the bottom of the pile while the easy-to-pay bills rise to the top.
Another BX benefit is customer retention. If you serve a crowded and competitive market, or offer a non-essential service, ease of payment can serve as both a competitive differentiator and loyalty driver. An optimal BX with intuitive self-service options, expanded payment methods and real-time notifications ensures a top-flight customer experience. Particularly for subscription services, this can also be a simple way to stop involuntary churn.
Lastly, consider this statistic: for every dollar spent on providing an optimal BX or UX, businesses receive $100 in return. That’s a 9,900% ROI. Now let’s look at the reverse of this stat. This same study found that 88% of online shoppers won’t return to a site after a bad user experience and 38% of users will stop interacting with a poorly designed mobile app or website. A customer who is frustrated by their user experience isn’t a customer for long.
Evaluating Your Billing Experience
As a biller, it’s essential to consistently review and evaluate your billing and payment platform. Use your reporting and analytics to highlight key metrics or identify outliers. Your data is an invaluable tool in optimizing your experience. Take notice of channels that are performing well and those that are not. Is there a noticeable uptick in abandoned payments? What about time spent on the page? Asking questions such as these can surface both potential issues and opportunities.
It’s also a good idea to experience the platform yourself. While you may live and breathe it from an institutional perspective, are you viewing it through the lens of a consumer? Take a step back and consider how they may interact with the platform. If you actually are a bill payer of your organization, try new payment methods and channels from time to time. You might be surprised at how much one channel differs from another.
Of course, Paymentus is always here to help. Want to see if you’re getting the most from your billing and payment solution? Take this quick self-assessment to see how your platform stacks up against today’s expectations. You can also reach out to our team of experts to learn more about how to boost your customer retention and on-time payments through BX optimization.
1PYMNTS.com, How Consumers Decide Which Bills Get Paid and Which Bills Get Skipped, January 2023