If current macroeconomic factors hold into 2023, we’re going to see costs go up and disposable income go down.
If you’re in the business of collecting payments from consumers, this means the risk of late payments is likely to skyrocket. We saw that at the height of the pandemic, many people struggled to pay their bills. As we shared in our recent blog post Bill Payment Solutions Your Customers Really Want, 40% of US financial decision-makers reported having skipped or only partially paid a bill. And while paying bills by mail remains a viable option, it can also lead to delays in payment if items get lost in the mail or if a customer misplaces their bill.
The best path forward is to start dangling the carrot of digital adoption in front of your customers by showing them how having more options to pay bills can produce several benefits not just for your business, but for them, too.
The state of paper bill presentment and payment
Payments by mail have decreased significantly in the last 10 years, falling from 44% in 2011 to 19% in 2021. Meanwhile, online payments grew from 51% to 79% in that same time period. While we can thank the pandemic and its catalyzation of online everything, like work, school, shopping, exercising and so much more, it’s also the fact that the business of producing paper has been in flux for some time. Paper prices have surged 45% over the last year, and estimates for this quarter show an additional 32% increase as supply chain issues continue in the face of inflation, recession and other factors. The major risk is that these costs could get passed onto thousands of clients and consumers, resulting in higher days sales outstanding (DSO) and less working capital.
Increasing the potential for your customers to move to digital adoption by offering non-print-based bill presentment and payment options is how you can avoid the potential financial impact of paper. In this way, paper becomes one of the, not the only, methods to present and pay bills, saving you costs while increasing customer satisfaction by giving them the ability to pay however they want.
Digital adoption—it’s about both the journey and the destination
While you might have some customers that leap at the chance to start receiving and paying bills digitally, others will hedge at the option and may require some nudging. This is where customer journey solutions to encourage digital adoption come in.
A customer journey solution is, as it sounds, a journey in which you guide a consumer to a desired action, whether it’s making a purchase, completing a form or, in this case, electing digital adoption. It’s based on both direct and indirect (and online and offline) interactions an individual has with your brand, product or service—and each interaction should build on the other instead of acting as a one-off. It’s the aggregate of these interactions that makes up the customer journey and gives you more information about your customers.
So, if we think about starting a customer journey to digital adoption using print, there are a few paths to consider:
- Use the print statement to market your digital capabilities, such as signing up for eStatements, accessing an online portal and going paperless
- Include a short web link on the statement envelope that leads to a landing page explaining your online offerings
- Similarly, use a postcard with a QR code that the customer can easily access to learn more about digital adoption
Then, consider your online channels and how they can work with print to guide customers along their journey to digital adoption:
- Provide an eStatement version of a printed bill
- Add website messaging that prompts sign-ups to an online payment portal
- Use SMS to send bill payment alerts
- Activate social media to get the word out about digital options
- Execute an email campaign to opted-in users
- Launch an online ad campaign with attention-grabbing copy and a short link
Of course, you’ll need a robust and accurate customer database to execute your digital adoption program. Add to the customer details you already have with existing bills, statements and other communications, or tap a provider with its own trove of billing and payment data. Make sure you can store and manage data in one system to get a single view of how customers are responding to your efforts.
More ways to pay with digital adoption
Of course, before you launch your digital adoption campaign, you’ll need to make sure your customers can actually make payments across web, mobile and text (and, yes, also print) quickly and easily. A few popular online bill payment types to prioritize in your digital adoption program include:
- Debit and credit card: Enable near instant payment with bank or credit cards (the latter can sometimes take a few days to process)
- ACH: Allow for direct payment for bills such as utilities and mortgages
- Apple Pay: Let customers pay bills either online or via your mobile app
There are a few technical capabilities you’ll need to enable on the backend via an experienced partner to implement all or some of the digital adoption steps above. These include:
- Accurate replicas of bills and statements for use in online statements
- Integration with your print facility and the ability to suppress paper bills to help tailor options to individual customers
- Seamless integration of all bill presentment and payment options without additional tech resources
- Self-serve administration, dynamic reporting and search capabilities
- Industry-approved security and compliance standards to protect customer data
EverView is here to help you get started with digital adoption
EverView simplifies your entire payments infrastructure with seamless technology integration, scalable capabilities and an intuitive and configurable platform primed for digital adoption. Our complete suite of communications and marketing services helps power your digital adoption campaign across optimized online and offline touchpoints. Get in touch today to get started.