How to Reduce Delinquencies Before Resuming Disconnects
By Kristen Hoppe, Marketing Manager, Message Broadcast –
What can you do now to influence payment performance prior to resuming disconnects?
Here are a few programs that have helped utilities strategically respond to current crises. The key drivers for these programs were to improve customer care during a difficult time, while also mitigating the utility’s financial risk and decreasing OPEX.
Deferred Payment Assistance
As a result of unexpected financial hardships due to COVID-19, many delinquent customers want to pay their bills but are currently unable to.
Now is an excellent time to implement or review your deferred-payment assistance programs and ensure your customers have efficient self-service paths to access and enroll in them.
Successfully promoting your programs means communicating with empathy and with the right digital experience. Empathetic session flows and mobile-centric experiences will produce exponentially higher rates of desired behavior, influencing customers to resolve the issue outside your call center.
Pick Your Due Date Program
Rather than requiring payment due on your utility-defined calendar, consider allowing customers to select their own due dates based on their personal preferences or payroll cycles.
As with deferred payment programs, customers appreciate the flexibility and ease of the experience, and utilities predictably increase payment performance.
Bill Credit Program
City, county and government-provided funds are assisting the customers that need it most while giving utilities unique opportunities to mitigate financial risk and improve customer satisfaction.
One utility has offered qualifying households a few hundred dollars of bill credits. City funds were focused on residents who were unemployed due to COVID-19.
The utility reached out to customers, guiding them through the enrollment process digitally. The entire underwriting and approval process was automated, ensuring ease of use for customers.
This program prevented disconnects while reducing the number of calls to the utility’s customer care center. Fewer calls means decreased operational expenses.
During tough times, customers often are willing to help those in need. Using digital experiences, utilities are allowing customers to easily donate to those who are struggling. In addition to showing a higher level of customer care, these programs are setting a new standard for empathetic payment assistance.
The pandemic has affected a segment of utility customers with an unfamiliar challenge. The programs listed above can help your customers through these challenging times, provide an empathetic layer of customer care, and prevent the impact that disconnects have on the customer and your utility.