For CSPs bills are a necessary evil:— Vital for revenue collection but typically unwelcome and confusing for customers. Billing systems are very complex, expensive systems that perform complicated calculations at a massive scale in order to ensure the bill the customer receives is accurate and timely.
However the bills produced by these systems are at the root cause of why bills drive up to 40% of all call-centre traffic. They are accurate (mostly) but they are generally stark, uninspiring documents that could be characterised simply as demands for payment.
The bad news is that there are some clear trends that mean the humble bill is not going away, and these problems look set to continue and increase:
- More bills—more problems: The rapid growth in Smartphones has resulted in a spike in the number of post-pay contracts which is great for ARPU growth but means that more and more bills need to be sent. This is creating an increase in call-centre traffic due to billing confusion and technical support queries. With call handling charges as high as $10 in some operators this is an expensive challenge.
- More services means more bill confusion: Operators are striving to maintain and grow ARPU. They are looking to deliver new products and services. Most operators are being forced towards offering quad-play services (fixed line, mobile, TV and Broadband). This in turn is challenging CSPs to consolidate their bills to avoid customers being overwhelmed by multiple bills.
So what this is pointing to is that the presentation of bills needs to be re-thought so that CSPs lay out the information in a flexible, personal and intuitive way—a way that preempts problems and answers questions without the need for the customer to pick up the phone. They need to look at the bill differently and try to create positive billing experiences.
Another consideration in the reconditioning of the bill is: What more should we be using it for beyond just improving care issues?
More things to sell: In addition to the expanding core services CSPs are looking to value-added services such as home automation, technical helpdesk services, data security services etc. They are also expanding their portfolio of products as they try to capture some of the value being generated by Over The Top (OTT) applications like Facebook, eBay, Twitter etc…With all these new offerings the question is how do CSPs effectively sell them? Where do they sell them? Where can they engage with the customer on a ‘personal’ level to position these offerings in a way that will resonate with them?
At Brite:Bill, we believe that bills offer a fantastic opportunity to engage with each customer in a personalised way and position new goods and services in the context of that customer’s existing services and relationship with the CSP. It has been shown that if you can frame a new product in a personal and contextual way, the customer is 4 times more likely to sign up.
We are constantly researching new ways of bill presentation in order to meet these challenges and grab the opportunities presented by that one document CSPs send to their customers and that their customers notice and read 12 times a year.