A study of Con Edison customers has shown that offering electronic bills (e-bills) through online banking or the company’s website can lead to enhanced cash flow and reduced customer care costs. Con Edison provides electric, gas and steam service to customers in New York City and Westchester County, New York. The study, conducted by AccuData on behalf of Fiserv, shows that customers who receive e-bills via a financial institution or the Con Edison website are more likely to make on-time payments, and utilise online self-service rather than costly customer service calls.
The study analysed two million customer records with a focus on three customer segments:
- Those receiving paper bills.
- Those receiving e-bills via online banking.
- Those receiving e-bills at the Con Edison website.
The research compared the three groups’ customer service channel use and payment timing. The study found that e-bill use had correlations with:
- Frequent on-time payments: customers receiving e-bills via online banking were 22% more likely to make on-time payments and customers receiving e-bills at ConEd.com were 6% more likely to make on-time payments, when compared to paper bill recipients. Banking sites offer due-date reminders which may help customers pay their bills on time.
- Reduced customer service calls: customers receiving e-bills via online banking were 64% less likely to call live customer service per month and customers receiving e-bills at ConEd.com were 3% less likely to call, when compared to paper bill recipients.
- High online self-service engagement at ConEd.com: on average, customers receiving e-bills via online banking or the Con Edison website conducted 1.57 and 1.37 registered self-service visits per month at ConEd.com, respectively. In contrast, paper bill users performed such activities 0.71 times per month. Bank-delivered e-bills provide links driving customers to ConEd.com for usage activity and billing history information.
In addition to payment and customer service habits, the study identified demographic and psychographic characteristics of each of the major billing and payment usage segments. This includes electronic, paper and in-person channels. The findings validate the need to offer a broad range of billing and payment methods, as different customer segments gravitated toward different payment types.
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