5 New Year’s Resolutions To Improve the Customer Billing Experience

A woman with an eager expression inputs commands on her laptop while holding a paper document in one handExercise more. Eat healthier. Lose weight. The most common New Year’s resolutions focus on improving personal health. But equally important are business resolutions. Business leaders set annual goals to improve their organizations’ financial health, and that’s often tied to customer experience (CX). Seventy-eight percent of global CX leaders said maximizing profits related to CX is a critical or high priority for the next year, according to a survey commissioned by Forrester on behalf of CSG.

As you head into 2023, you’re probably thinking about how to improve CX. Improving the billing experience is an impactful and relatively easy way to move the needle on customer satisfaction and retention.

For a quick win, you can start by enhancing your billing experience through five best practices explained below.

 

Benefits of Better Bills

Many billing statements today don’t meet consumers’ needs. According to CSG’s analysis of 30 companies’ bills, even the best statement only met 13 of 23 criteria that consumers would say are important in presenting their bill. Poorly designed bills lead to confusion, frustration and billing calls.

A more customer-focused bill:

Decreases billing calls and call center interactions
If you ask contact center agents what the top reasons are for billing calls they handle, they’ll likely cite confusion about the statement (“Why do I owe $100 more this month?”). Clear, easy-to-interpret billing statements reduce those calls—and the associated operational expenses.

Increases on-time payments
Many people don’t understand what “due by” means, and that is one of the most common phrases used on a bill. Clarifying the due date reduces customer delinquencies and late charges. In turn, businesses have fewer past due accounts, collections activities and unhappy customers leaving.

Minimizes negative emotions associated with the billing experience
Opening a bill can be stressful (“How much do I owe this month?”), and a poorly designed statement adds to the unpleasantness. A reader-friendly, appealing statement design can prevent this common pain point from feeling cold and transactional.

 

5 Resolutions To Improve the Billing Experience

1. Evaluate the billing experience

Instead of blindly investing in several solutions and hoping for better results, start by identifying specific areas for improvement and quick wins. Targeting the right statement areas leads to faster, better return on investment.

                  • Audit your contact center to identify common sources of billing frustration. Why are customers calling?
                  • Identify where (what channels) customers are engaging. Are you sending the same messages (e.g., payment reminders) across multiple channels, to reach customers with different communication preferences (e.g., email, SMS)?

A consultative partner can help you answer these questions and many others related to the customer billing experience.

2. Design a better billing statement 

Customers are often frustrated by unclear due dates, unexplained charges, and unintuitive statement layouts. Re-designing your statement based on industry best practices:

            • Increases on-time payments and revenue
            • Improves CX
            • Decreases call center volume
            • Improves employee retention (receiving fewer calls from unhappy customers makes contact center agents’ job easier and less overwhelming)

Design your billing statements to avoid three common billing mistakes by:

            • Presenting the amount due as the most prominent information 
            • Providing a clear due date on the bill
            • Informing customers of changes in their service or impacts to their bill

3. Personalize billing statements to drive added value

With 78% of consumer more likely to repurchase from a company that provides tailored communications, personalization is essential. Personalized communications strengthen customer loyalty/retention, foster more successful upsell/cross-sell revenue generation, and take better advantage of a monthly communication touchpoint.

Using targeted messaging (based on demographics) on your bill isn’t enough to satisfy customers. You need to identify customers’ likes and dislikes so you can send them relevant messages and promotional offers.

Use personalization to offer:

              • Tailored promotions, such as a special deal on a premium sports package for customers who frequently order pay-per-view sporting events
              • Special deals and perks for long-term customers to encourage continued loyalty

RELATED BLOG: Turn Your Billing Statement into a Sales Channel


4. Simplify self-service 

Many customers prefer to self-serve rather than call into a call center. By making it easier for customers to find the information they need, you can reduce billing calls. Do your bills clearly explain changes (especially amount due) month over month? 

To help customers find the necessary information quickly:

                • Use bill messaging or bill inserts to highlight and answer the most common FAQS
                • Add QR codes that link directly to the customer service chat portal

RELATED DATASHEET: Bill Explainer


5. Deliver consistent billing experiences across channels 

Many customers prefer to receive print statements. Print statements capture consumer attention and provide a wealth of detail, but digital channels allow customers to act quickly. To take advantage of print and digital channels:

                  • Attach a PDF version of the bill to emails
                  • Link to a PDF version of the bill from text messages
                  • Include QR codes (linking to your payment portal) in print statements

 

Want to quickly improve the billing experience?
Start here.

Read our eBook, 5 Billing Statement Sins That Could Be Damaging Your Customer Experience, to learn how to design billing statements that avoid common mistakes.

Want help redesigning your billing statement? CSG’s Communication Design & Delivery experts are here for you. CSG helped ADT reduce their inbound calls by 20% by redesigning their billing statement.

Christine Cummins

Sales Director, Communication Design & Delivery