Alison Treadaway, managing director at Striata, a global leader in paperless communication, identifies 8 eBilling innovations that should be on your strategic agenda this year:
1. Mobile Billing
Billers simply cannot continue through 2012 without a billing strategy for mobile devices. Whether yours is a smartphone or tablet market (or not), the bottom line is that your customer wants quick and easy access to their billing information on their preferred device.
Email is the common 'app' across smartphones, tablets and computers, and arguably the easiest way to reach your customer. Mobile, non-email users can be reached through an MMS mini-statement or SMS payment reminder.
There are benefits to offering a range of electronic bill formats based on how your customer interacts with your bill and on what device. For a quick read on mobile email, a flat PDF is the better option.
If the customer wants to engage with your bill, viewing graphs, sorting data or submitting forms, then offer a format that leverages larger screens and encourages interaction (Striata's EMC format or smart PDF is best).
There is no need for a 'one size fits all' approach. Enabling your customer to choose their format means a better overall experience; resulting in brand loyalty and faster payment!
3. Payment from within an email
Continue your focus on customer convenience by providing an easy-to-use, secure payment process directly from the invoice.
Consumers are growing increasingly confident in using electronic payment channels. Enabling payment directly from the invoice; whether it's received by email on PC or mobile device, or even as a printed envelope; is a winning formula for both Biller and customer.
4. Payment reminders
Payment reminders is a low-risk, high reward innovation that will significantly enhance your customer experience.
Activated by the customer from within an electronic invoice, the automated electronic payment reminder helps customers pay on time, avoiding the consequences of a missed or late payment.
5. Digital Receipts
As consumers store more of their daily interactions electronically (bills, policies, contracts, payment confirmations, payslips), the next paper dinosaur to be replaced is the retail receipt.
Taking the lead are retailers like Apple, Sears, Kmart, Gap and Banana Republic who provide the option of receiving your retail receipt by email. No more shoeboxes full of random paper slips!
6. Transactional messages
This is the year to reconsider your transactional email strategy.
Transactional messages - the real workhorses of customer communication, are generated automatically when someone interacts with your organisation. Whether a confirmation or failure notification, a payment receipt or booking form; these messages form a vital (but often neglected) part of your customer's brand experience.
Just like your eBill, transactional emails provide great opportunities for you to engage your customers through an established electronic relationship.
7. Transpromo marketing
Organisations generally include marketing inserts in the same envelope as their paper bills and statements. Don't think that converting customers to eBills means the end of your statement 'stuffers'.
The electronic bill is also prime real estate for marketing and promotional offers but with additional benefits. Unlike promotions on a brochure or website, email content can be customised to include relevant, targeted and personalised marketing offers.
As more of our daily interactions and financial transactions become electronic; criminal activity such as phishing emails will continue to require management.
Does your customer know how to recognise a valid email from your organisation?
When communicating electronically with customers, you need to establish standards that promote responsible behaviour. There are innovative ways to reduce the likelihood of your customer being duped by a fraudulent email.
Once you've implemented anti-phishing techniques, the next challenge is to educate your customer on what to expect from your organisation.
About Striata Striata's Secure eDocument Delivery and Email Bill Presentment and Payment (EBPP) are solution sets that deliver a rapid reduction in operational costs, quicker payments and an enhanced customer experience.
Striata revolutionises the way bills, statements, policies, collection notices, letters, paystubs and other high volume system-generated documents are delivered and paid. Registration requirements are eliminated by emailing feature rich, interactive, encrypted documents directly to the inbox and enabling innovative 1-click electronic payment from within the document itself. Direct email delivery of bills and statements dramatically increases customer adoption of electronic documents, paper turn off and ePayments. This enables Striata's clients to achieve rapid ROI; complement their existing self-service and e-communication strategies; significantly reduce paper output and to meet their carbon footprint/environmental impact targets.
As a leading international provider of electronic messaging since 1999 with more than 200 blue chip customers, Striata has operations in New York, London, Sydney, Johannesburg, Hong Kong and partners in North, Central and South America, Europe and Asia Pacific.