What Goes Into Delivering a Great Billing Customer Journey?
If you’re in a technical role, functionality like payment processing and invoice generation might be top of mind. If you’re in a marketing role, you might think of engaging copy, graphics and layout.
A great billing experience includes all these things—and more. It’s both a science and an art, combining technical competency with creativity to turn a painful process into a great customer experience.
But how can you make sure your entire billing customer journey is designed with good CX in mind, especially since two-thirds of consumers use at least 3 channels to contact a company?
With the right processes in place, brands can deliver programmable, predictive and personalized experiences to every customer at every step of the billing journey.
1. GET YOUR DATA SOURCES IN ORDER
When companies collect data from their customers, they often do it on a channel-by-channel basis. This creates data silos, and a massive disconnect between the information that the customer is giving them and the experience that the customer receives.
For instance, the software you use to compose printed bills might not have the customer’s latest email address on file. This can then lead to conflicting messages and customer confusion (e.g., “Do I really not get this promo offer I just received?”). You may think that you need a complex system to reconcile all your customer data and messaging campaigns. The truth is that the answer is much simpler.
When you store all your transactional data in one place, like a customer data platform, you can avoid mixed messages down the line and refer back to a single source of truth. Unifying your customer data and connecting your systems allows you to build simpler, more impactful experiences with fewer calls to the call center.
2. SPEED UP THE PROCESS WITH SELF-SERVICE
What’s the number one reason your customers call customer service? If you’re like most companies you likely already know that 1/3 of customer calls are related to billing inquiries. No surprise then that billing or payment issues are likely at the top of the list. And if you’re not making it easy for your customers to give you money, that means your agents are spending valuable time trying to facilitate payments you should have already received.
By leveraging design and communication composition tools that make it easy to send automated and targeted communications, you can simplify self-service for customers and employees. For example, if a customer has a question about a line item on their bill, instead of waiting to talk to an agent, they can get their question answered through conversational AI. This technology uses natural language understanding to interpret the customer’s intent for calling through a series of questions, instead of requiring regular keypad input. Customers can get to an answer faster (and get back to their regular day).
But improving the billing journey isn’t limited to phone alone. You can also add quick-scan QR codes to your printed documents, taking customers directly to a web page with personalized billing information alongside payment options. Effectively, you merge the digital and physical billing journey experience. This way, customers can pay right when they get the bill, or tell a customer service agent exactly what document they’re referencing. And if a customer logs in to pay online, you can also present them with clear callouts on what changed from their previous bill.
To make sure your billing communications are consistent, you need a centralized decision-making tool to send (or suppress) bill-related messaging across channels. If a customer has already paid a bill online, they don’t need a reminder email. If a customer has already called customer service, you can send a reminder email asking them for their feedback on the experience and a confirmation of their bill.
3. KNOW WHAT YOUR CUSTOMERS WANT (BEFORE THEY DO)
Today, customers expect you to know why they’re calling or visiting your website—before they ever reach it. That’s even more crucial for billing, where you need to ensure that customers pay online or send a check in the mail for the services you’ve provided. In short, you literally can’t afford to wait for them to reach out to you.
In the print industry, there is a real power in predicting what your customer will do before they do it. If they reliably open their mail, knowing that can improve your communication cadence and drive higher engagement. Whether you move towards digital communications for cost-savings or leverage the higher engagement from well and proactively designed print mail, it’s crucial to know what your customers want.
This requires analyzing metrics specific to your billing journey, so you can even find new ways to generate and protect revenue. One way to do this is to identify high-churn likelihood individuals and target them with customer-save messaging and communications that reaffirm the value your brand brings to them. Being proactive isn’t optional. Almost 70% of consumers say it improves their perception of a brand when customers send them proactive customer service notifications.
4. PROVIDE THE NEXT BEST EXPERIENCE
Sending the right message to the right person at the right time is key. To succeed, you must know what each customer needs in the moment. You need strong processes that captures and synthesize all customer interaction data. Not only that, but you need programmable journey orchestration to automate the experience and predictive journey analytics to figure out what the data means for a customer’s behavior and goals. Providing relevant communications based on the customer’s context reduces the strain and stress of bill pay. Even when you are trying to sell, offering upsell opportunities, personalization in your billing customer journey allows for more meaningful recommendations.
Personalization comes in many different forms, but the ultimate goal is making your print and digital communications more valuable to your customers. By providing a seamless experience as customers hop from printed bills to QR codes and in-app messaging, you can deliver that value.
HOW THE BILLING JOURNEY CAN BUILD LOYALTY AND TRUST
By building a billing journey that incorporates each of these four steps, you can:
- Increase customer loyalty
- Keep consumers engaged, and
- Grow revenue as you’re billing your existing customers
If you want to learn more about how other businesses are managing their customer journeys, check out CSG’s State of the Customer Journey 2022. It’s full of key trends based on real data from CSG, with new ways to leverage your existing stack to optimize customer journeys.
If your business sends print or digital communications to your customers, you can leverage both in unison to drive increased engagement and overall customer satisfaction. Check out this case study featuring ADT, where they do just this to solve their customers’ biggest pain points.