When it comes to selecting an Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment (EBPP) platform for your organization, the list of criteria you can use to evaluate your options is seemingly endless. From product features, to customer experience and registration, to integration with software and electronic payment adoption rates – there are countless categories on which to base your decision.
Consider for a moment the analogy of a retail store that needs to select a merchandising system to sell a certain product. They may receive proposals from several merchandising solutions that all look like better options than their current system. So, which is the right choice? The one that will sell the most merchandise, of course. But how do they know which one that is? If they could put the top two or three contenders in the store at the same time and tabulate which has the most sales, they could easily pick a winner. This approach isn’t so easy to implement, unfortunately, and it’s even harder for an organization trying to select an EBPP platform. That said, there may be one firm who can prove higher merchandise sales than the others, in cases where they have replaced competitors.
Most EBPP solutions look very attractive on paper and in a demo. At the end of the day, however, the true benefits of an EBPP platform should be measured in terms of how well it drives customers to self-service. The platform that is most engaging for customers will move more customers to serve themselves creating time and cost efficiencies for your organization through paperless billing, quicker collections, shorter lines and fewer support calls.
So, what is the best way to select an EBPP? By evaluating adoption compared to alternative solutions.
But what is adoption? And how can adoption drive real business results for organizations like yours? To answer these questions, we’ve outlined four important reasons why you should be measuring electronic payment adoption when evaluating EBPP platforms.
What is Adoption?
When we talk about adoption, we are generally referring to ‘e-adoption’ or electronic billing and payment adoption. For an EBPP solution to drive results for an organization (biller), customers (payers) must use the platform to pay (and/or receive) their bills. And while this might sound simple and straightforward, it’s anything but. Many online payment platforms offer clunky or difficult to use customer interfaces that deter customers from paying their bills online. This often creates added work and headaches for the staff members responsible for customer service.
Customer adoption isn’t limited to online or mobile payments, however, as adoption can also refer to any kind of customer self-service – such as enrolling in services like auto pay, e-reminders, electronic copies of reports (ex. annual water quality reports), or paperless billing. Ultimately, the key to driving higher adoption rates is improving customer engagement and the overall customer experience.
How is Adoption Measured?
Many organizations measure adoption by the average number of electronic payments made divided by the total number of bills issues. For example, if 10,000 bills/month are issued and 2,500/month are paid electronically, that would result in 25% e-payment adoption.
Some environmentally conscious customers choose to go paperless for billing, even if they don’t pay online, but most customers who enroll in paperless billing also pay online. For most billing organizations, the most desirable state is for customers to both go paperless and sign up for automatic electronic payments, frequently referred to as AutoPay. This provides the simplest, lowest cost collection for the biller. Since the vast majority of those consumers who go paperless also choose to pay online, electronic payment adoption has become the most common measurement of EBPP effectiveness.
Why Measure Electronic Payment Adoption?
The more customers who use the EBPP platform to pay their bills, sign up for paperless billing, or enroll in AutoPay, the less time your staff needs to spend on each of these items. This means there is more time available to spend on higher-value projects and opportunities. It also means a reduction in costs associated with manual or outsourced processes such as paper billing and customer support.
Increased e-adoption and customer self-service translate to positive business results, such as increased customer satisfaction, accelerated collections, cost savings, and decreased manual labor and staff workloads.
1. Increased Customer Satisfaction
When an EBPP platform makes it simple for customers to adopt electronic payments and enroll in services like AutoPay or paperless billing, it removes many friction points for your customer. This increased ability for customers to self-serve ultimately improves the customer experience. And when customers enroll in AutoPay, you’ve really made their life easier – and yours as well! The number one reason people enroll in paperless billing is to reduce household clutter (ex. stacks of bills), so offering paperless billing also drives increased customer satisfaction.
2. Accelerated Collections
When customers use e-payment channels to pay their bills, the amount of time that needs to be spent manually collecting and processing payments is greatly reduced. And when customers enroll in services like AutoPay, your organization is guaranteed that payments will show up on time, every billing cycle.
3. Cost Savings
Increased enrollment in services like paperless billing translates to real cost savings in the form of decreased print and mailing costs. In addition, if you contract with a company that provides check remittance processing (ex. lockbox services), you may save money when people pay online (with a service fee) by eliminating the lockbox expense for those customers.
4. Decreased Manual Labor and Staff Workloads
For those who mail their own bills, fewer paper bills also means less time spent stuffing and mailing envelopes. With online bill payment, your staff also spends significantly less time processing manual checks. This means your staff can spend more time on higher priority projects, and more time communicating with customers to improve satisfaction and service levels. And an easy enrollment and payment process means less time that your customer service staff needs to spend fielding customer complaints or resolving customer issues.
How to Drive Higher Customer Adoption
When evaluating an EBPP platform for your organization, it’s important to consider whether the solution is designed to drive customer engagement and increase electronic payment adoption. If the platform you select isn’t effective at encouraging adoption, then it will be difficult to realize positive benefits for your organization.
Features aside, the true value in this kind of solution comes from its ability to drive customer engagement at the right time and place to make payments as convenient as possible. To learn more about how to evaluate whether an EBPP platform is designed to drive customer engagement and read two real-world client success stories, download our ebook, “The Value of Adoption.”
To learn more about how InvoiceCloud can drive results for your organization, schedule a demo with a member of our team today.