A new year means new trends. 2019 is in full swing and the eBilling growth we saw in the past year is not slowing down. From mobile connectivity to employee experience, we’ve gathered the top six major trends we expect to shape (or reshape) the eBilling landscape.
- Mobile Mobility
Your customers are on the move and they expect the companies they do business with to be moving with them. According to Statista, “The number of smartphone users is forecast to grow from 2.1 billion in 2016 to around 2.5 billion in 2019, with smartphone penetration rates increasing as well.” With the number of smartphone users growing exponentially by the day, it comes as no surprise that the mobile experience is one that is here to stay. OSG’s Mobile App enhances your billing and payment process by putting everything your customer needs in the palm of their hand. It’s time to stay connected with your customers – wherever they go.
- All About AI
The old mantra “artificial intelligence will take over the world” can still be heard ringing out from old movies and TV shows. But in 2019, gone are the fears of an AI takeover, and in its place stands a widespread acceptance and onboarding of AI in companies spanning all industries. AI has grown to manage tasks ranging from customer interaction to data analysis and interpretation. By integrating AI capabilities, companies gain insight and accessibility to real time improvements in processes across departments. 2019 is just the beginning for artificial intelligence and the roles it can take on.
2018 saw the beginnings of this trend as companies fought to differentiate their content and capture their customers’ ever-wandering attention. No longer are customers inundated with mass emails promoting a blanket product or service. In fact, according to the Marketing Insider Group, “78% of U.S. Internet users said personally relevant content from brands increases their purchase intent.” In keeping up with this customer expectation, brands now use customer data to specifically target their habits and preferences, making each engagement relevant to their lives. OSG Campaign Composer uses customer data to target your critical communications and create a hyper-personalized experience for each customer.
- Employee Experience Builds Customer Experience
Customer experience has been a hot topic for years now. Companies have long focused on what it takes to keep a customer happy and how to create a positive experience at each touchpoint. But in reality, happy customers come from happy employees. Essentially utilizing the trickledown effect, employee experience focuses on creating a positive culture and employee journey to create a positive customer experience down the line. After all, you can’t offer service with a smile if your employees aren’t smiling.
- Data-Driven Everything
In today’s technology-laden world, data drives everything. Whether it is relaying how a customer wants to receive their bills or highlighting which products your customers would most likely want to take advantage of, data is being used to create seamless experiences and improved products and services. Using data to drive each and every decision ensures your brand is making the smart choices that will benefit your company and keep your customers satisfied.
- Customers Take the Wheel
It’s no secret that customer expectations have shifted drastically in the last few years. With such a wide variety of companies and products for customers to choose from, brands have lost the upper hand. Customers have sensed the shift and now view themselves as partners in the process and aim to be treated as such. With this move in customer perspective, brands have been forced to redesign how they interact and communicate with their customers. In looking ahead, it will be up to the brands to keep growing positive customer relationships by listening to the needs and expectations of their customers in order to provide the quality interactions customers crave. It’s all about knowing your people and providing what they need.
Predicting the future of eBilling is a task for only the clearest of crystal balls, but these trends are sure to influence how the next year takes shape – and OSG is ready.
Today’s customer is more connected to the digital world than ever before, from phones to laptops to smart TVs. This landscape may seem like a paradise for businesses who want to transition their customers over to e-billing, but the switch can be more difficult than initially expected. We’ve compiled a list of the most common excuses not to switch over to e-billing and, more importantly, the arguments against these excuses.
- “I like to receive a physical copy to keep for my records.”
While physical copies and drawers full of files may have been the only way to keep a history of bills and invoices in the past, it is certainly not the only option presently. OSG Digital Solutions gives your customers the ability to view both current and past bills and invoices in PDF format. A full billing history is a click of the mouse away!
- “I’m used to the way I receive bills now and changing to a new way seems difficult.”
Switching customers over to a new billing process can seem like a painful process, but it doesn’t have to be. Customers often lack an incentive to switch over to e-billing. By providing a motivation to switch – like a discount or a sweepstakes – you give your customers the push they need.
- “I’m worried I will miss a payment if I don’t receive a bill in the mail.”
Fearing a missed payment and the subsequent consequences is one of the biggest deterrents customers have when considering e-billing. Luckily, numerous resources exist to ensure that every payment is made on time. Through OSG eBill, customers receive email notifications as soon as the bill is ready. Additionally, customers can set up automatic and scheduled payments, ensuring ease of mind for every billing cycle.
- “Receiving bills and invoices over the internet doesn’t seem secure.”
The safety and security of customer data is of the highest importance, especially in today’s climate of data hacks and breaches. Remaining compliant with all standards and utilizing firewalls and safety measures ensures customer data is continuously safeguarded.
- “Switching to e-billing doesn’t seem like it will make my life any better. Why bother?”
Customers are constantly looking for products and services to make their lives easier and e-billing is not any different. According to Forbes, “Electronic communications must do more than simply digitize checks. They must have simple onboarding, be easy to use and be interactive.” Although many of the benefits of e-billing may seem intuitive, for some customers it will come down to showcasing how their lives will benefit directly from the switch.
Change can be hard for some customers, but understanding exactly what is making them hesitant means you can relieve their worries and help them make the switch! Contact us to start the process.
To be frank, paying a bill is never going to be exciting for a customer. What it can and should be is convenient, simple, and seamless. Customers receive 4.1 pieces of transactional mail per week. The payment structure needs to fit within their framework, to feel like it’s tailored to them specifically. It seems like paying electronically would be the obvious choice. We are in an ever-expanding digital landscape where so much of our lives are tied to online interactions and transactions.
But these are bills and habits are tough to break. This brings us to the essential—and perennial—question: How do you get someone perfectly satisfied with their service to switch from paper bills to e-billing? You incentivize, and those incentives must be good. Here are three.
- Offer a discount.
Offer e-billing as part of a discounted service plan. It’s concrete and uncomplicated. It requires no effort on their part, but the difference will be noticeable.
- Enter them into a sweepstakes.
Nothing like a prize to sweeten the pot. Try a major gift card or the latest gadget (we are pushing e-bills, after all).
- Tie in a charitable cause.
Present customers with the opportunity to give back in some way. This could be something as straightforward as a tree planted for every customer who signs up for paperless billing.
Remember that once the customer switches, the service must be on point. Ultimately, the best incentive is having the best solution.
With data showing that transactional documents are increasingly being used as promotional tools, it’s a good time to revisit some basic marketing practices. Here are some insights straight from the OSG Creative Studio.
- Make your message strategic.
We’ve mentioned before how important it is to use data to create dynamic messages. When you have real insight into your customers’ needs and patterns, the endless marketing options become more tailored and, ultimately, more effective. Use a paper bill to push the switch to e-bill. Up-sell or cross-sell one of your services. Offer an enticing promotion. Just make it count.
- Then make it pop.
Size the message properly, incorporate color, and avoid information overload. Less is more.
- Don’t disrupt the flow.
No marketing should disrupt the clarity of the bill or invoice’s key elements. Make sure the framework is there, so the message doesn’t add confusion. You might even consider upgrading your entire invoice package with envelope messaging or an additional messaging page.
Effective communication is about more than a smartly worded subject line or a crackerjack social media strategy. It’s also about more than just talking. Relaying information to clients is the backbone of any successful business, whether it’s through an e-bill, a marketing campaign, or an envelope. Here are four ways to do that more effectively.
- Listen first.
Or if no one’s spoken for a while, ask a question. It’s amazing how long someone might deal with something being wrong before speaking up about it. Check in with the client. Check in with staff. You can’t fix anything before knowing it needs repair.
- Simplify a complex process.
When we create transactional documents for clients to send their customers, we’re focused on a.) making the client’s cash flow more streamlined, and b.) creating materials that are readable, engaging, and clear. We’ve talked before about the two questions a bill needs to answer right away. You can apply that principle to almost anything communications-related. What are the most essential things that need to be stated? What’s irrelevant? Break down an intricate process into bite-sized pieces of content.
- Focus on storytelling.
You hear this a lot now: “Tell your business’s story.” A story has many elements, but they need to be adding up to the bigger picture. Be consistent with your design aesthetic. Share relevant updates. Stay in touch. Tools like OSG’s Letter Composer make it easier to send information and improve customer service while keeping branding consistent.
- If necessary, change the conversation.
At OSG, we offer a breadth of communication solutions, because we recognize that there are nuances to every industry and lifecycles that happen within them. Whether it’s a Back to School campaign in the summer or a new billing statement format, we can find something that starts a new conversation with your customers and increases your revenue.
Even with our Dynamic Messaging, Envelope Messaging, and Lifecycle Marketing options, we recognize that the bill’s efficiency and clarity come before any other bells and whistles. Here are the two questions every bill should answer immediately.
- “How much do I owe?”
This is a case where the bottom line should be the top line, whether it’s a paper bill or an electronic bill. The number could never be too obvious. Loud and clear, front and center.
- “When is it due?”
The final call for payment is almost more important for you than it is for the customer. Don’t bury this somewhere on the bottom of the paper or screen.
Any other messaging, information, or design should support these two pieces of information, because the third question is the one we’ve all asked ourselves upon opening the mailbox or inbox:
- “Is all I ever do pay bills?”
Well, yes. That’s all any of us do. To take the edge off and strengthen customer retention, it’s a smart idea to include special offers, refer-a-friend inserts, or any other communication that reinforces the relationship and reminds the person why they do business with you in the first place. But first, answer those two questions.