The Real-Life Benefits of Driving Digital Payment Adoption

Katie Johnson

The term “digital payment adoption” (a.k.a. e-adoption or electronic payment adoption) may sound like an abstract concept, but it’s actually anything but — digital adoption is a critical metric that can have very real consequences on your organization’s day-to-day operations. For a payment solution to drive results for any billing organization, the billers’ customers (payers) must regularly use digital options to pay (and/or receive) their bills. Customer adoption isn’t limited to online or mobile payments, either. Adoption can also refer to any kind of customer self-service action like enrolling in AutoPay, signing up for e-reminders via text or email, or opting into paperless billing.

Many organizations measure adoption by the average number of electronic payments made divided by the total number of bills issued. For example, if 10,000 bills/month are issued and 2,500/month are paid digitally, that would result in 25% e-payment adoption. But why is this measurement so important? Increased e-adoption and customer self-service translate to positive business results, including:

  • Cost savings
  • Decreased manual labor and staff workloads
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Accelerated collections

Let’s take a look at the real-life impact of driving digital payment adoption can have on your organization.

1. Extend Your Budget

In the thick of the digital age, where seemingly everything is done online, the cost of paper has become no small matter. According to a market report, all grades of paper are rising in cost with wood pulp averaging $250 per ton — up 25% from previous years. This is in addition to an increase in postage costs in 2023. As costs are rising and belts are tightening, driving digital payment usage is a great way to eliminate unnecessary spending.

Take Arlington Water Utilities. This Arlington, TX utility provider and its customers were taking a huge financial hit from these rising operational costs and increasing rates. Since implementing InvoiceCloud, Arlington Water Utilities has increased paperless billing enrollment by 35%, resulting in $30k annual savings in print and mail costs and over $900k in total savings to date.

2. Reduce Call Volumes

When customers can’t figure out how to pay online, what do they do? Call your office! This is not only irritating for your customers but can busy up phone lines for those who need help from customer service representatives, not to mention the staff time and energy that’s required to field these constant calls. In fact, research has shown that billing and payments professionals in some industries spend 10-20 hours a week fielding payment-related calls.

For the Town of Elizabeth, Colorado, a legacy electronic billing presentment and payment (EBPP) platform was causing this exact kind of disruption to staff productivity. Overwhelming call volumes and other manual processes around billing and payments cost the town valuable time and money that could be better spent elsewhere. The Town of Elizabeth needed a solution that would streamline payments and alleviate manual workloads — and with InvoiceCloud, Elizabeth saw a nearly 50% decrease in calls, which in turn has helped conserve 35 hours of payment-related work a month.

3. Satisfy Customer Expectations

It’s no secret that customer expectations are constantly evolving, and it’s important for organizations to keep up. According to research from InvoiceCloud, 80% of customers prefer digital payment methods for monthly bill payments, with mobile devices taking the top spot. With this data in mind, making digital options available and easy to use will be critical to billing organizations’ customer satisfaction scores moving forward.

Luckily, improving customer satisfaction is a win-win for organizations, too. Besides generally happier customers (who doesn’t want fewer frustrating customer calls?), providing customers with a range of frictionless digital payment options encourages on-time payments and keeps collection cycles moving smoothly. For example, the Town of Elizabeth saw a 20% decrease in late payments after a spike in e-adoption, and the City of Wylie, Texas saw an 18% decrease in utility service shut-offs due to a rise in timely payments.

4. Conserve Staff Time

Unfortunately, most industries are currently experiencing a people shortage. Between The Great Resignation, surging retirement rates, and little interest for younger generations to join more traditional industries, hiring is tough right now. This means a lot of work is being put on your existing staff, and retaining that staff is more critical than ever before. Driving digital payment adoption can empower your employees by making their jobs less stressful and covering this workforce gap, simultaneously.

As long as your digital payment options are easy to find and use, self-serve options should decrease in-person visits, call volumes, and the amount of time staff spends on menial tasks like stuffing envelopes, sending out late notices, or chasing down late payments. This type of automation is important not just for creating a more relaxed work environment, but for covering what Route Fifty calls “the retiree gap.”

InvoiceCloud has helped numerous organizations automate manual processes, making for happier and more productive employees:

  • Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA), a non-for-profit, community-owned water utility was struggling to stabilize rates and improve internal operations, creating customer frustration and a significant amount of additional work for employees. Since implementing an EBPP solution from InvoiceCloud, they have saved over 25 hours per month in payment-related workloads.

  • Soquel Creek Water District, a public agency dedicated to providing a high-quality and sustainable water supply, felt restricted in its ability to meet customer expectations when it came to collecting payments, largely due to an inefficient billing and payment platform that created time-consuming and frustrating experiences for both residents and staff. With InvoiceCloud, the district has seen a 10% decrease in mailed-in payments, allowing their staff to focus on other critical projects.

  • After switching to the frictionless, intuitive user experience provided by InvoiceCloud, EmPRO Insurance has seen several benefits. According to Adam Peterson, EmPRO’s Chief Financial Officer: “InvoiceCloud transformed our collections process with a modernized solution that provided flexible, user-friendly payment options that increased digital payments and self-service rates. This reduced manual processes enabling our busy staff to shift focus to other critical tasks.

Digital Payment Adoption = Estimated Savings

The adoption of digital billing and payment options has numerous benefits that can positively impact businesses and consumers alike. However, the success of this transition depends on the payment solution being used. Not all solutions are created equal, and the right one can significantly improve the user experience and increase electronic payment adoption rates.

With its unique design, InvoiceCloud’s digital solution removes friction in the payment process and creates a user-friendly experience that engages customers, encourages self-service, and generates savings for organizations.

To see how much your organization could save by driving digital adoption with InvoiceCloud, try out our Digital Payments Estimated Savings Calculator.

Katie Johnson

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