Think about the last time you signed up with a new phone, cable or internet provider. Then fast-forward to when you got your first month’s bill. Like many of us, you were probably more than a little surprised about not just what the bottom line charge was, but the sheer number of charges staring you in the face: installation fees, activation fees, service fees, equipment fees, data fees, regulatory fees, taxes and so on. Not only are you paying significantly more than you probably expected to, but you might not know what half of these charges even are.
That’s “bill shock” – that all-too-familiar, unpleasant feeling of being walloped by a slew of unexpected and little-understood charges on your cable or utility bills, particularly on your first month’s bill.
Bills are complex, heavy with information and highly regulated. All too often, customers don’t even fully understand what they’re being charged for and why. That leads to frustration, anger and, ultimately, a drop-off in the number of people willing to buy from you. In other words, exactly the kind of customer experience that any company should stay far away from.
Bill shock has more negative effects than just distressing customers and turning them away from you; they’re also detrimental to your own productivity and bottom line. Surprising charges and confusing bills inevitably force more customers to reach out to you for clarification. That need for clarification means your call centers have to field more queries, which can have any number of financial impacts, from increasing the costs of customer care to delaying customer payments (which, in turn, impedes your revenue stream).
There are certain public relations aspects to consider, too. If customers are put off by your brand because of constant cases of bill shock, that cultivates a reputation nobody wants to have, and keeps prospective customers out of reach.
Consider bill shock as just the latest in a long list of compelling reasons for why companies need to undergo a digital transformation. Solutions like digital self-service or interactive personalized video allow you to create a more personalized and targeted billing and payment experience, tailored to your customer profiles.
Interactive personalized video, for instance, allows customers to drill into details on specific portions of their bill, review payment options, initiate service changes and more. It can also offer a direct means of signing up for paperless communications, propose appropriate complementary products and bundles or suggest service changes based on their individual usage.
Such solutions can help reduce operational costs and increase customer satisfaction. Our clients have achieved impressive results such as significantly lowering the volume of incoming support calls and higher customer satisfaction with several points increase in Net Promoter Score (NPS).
Thanks to clear and intuitive communications, digital transformation can deliver many benefits for both businesses and their customers on billing and payment, effectively making bill shock a thing of the past.
Pitney Bowes EngageOne Video gives service providers the opportunity to create interactive, personalized experiences that walk customers through the ins and outs of their billing. To see for yourself, check out our demo of how EngageOne Video grew sales and streamlined service for ACME Telecom & Network Solutions. Also, download our white paper “Provide insulation against bill shock: three ways to deliver a more engaging subscriber experience.”
With its Smart Bill and Smart Pay portals, Pitney Bowes EngageOne Digital Self Service provides customers with interactive access to up-to-date billing information and their preferred methods of paying bills online.