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Make your Bill Presentment Good for Better Interaction with Customers
By Jennifer Tran, Billing Services Director, Intermountain Rural Electric Association
Jennifer Tran, Billing Services Director, Intermountain Rural Electric Association
Many companies are unsure of where to start when it comes to the topic of redesigning their bill presentment and it’s never a quick walk in the park. The time and effort is enough for you to avoid this project. The goal of any bill presentment is providing clear and concise information to your customer.
Whatever your bill redesign needs may be: whether it is due to data-requirements, customer services, or a change in business processes, keep in mind that the bill design can impact all of those areas.
Assessing the current design is the first step. Feedback from your current customers and feedback from your existing customer support staff is a great starting point. Some companies opt to contract big focus groups but in my experience, just presenting that question to the customer service representatives who answer question on bills every day was just as valuable. They know the customers better than anyone else.
"The most helpful part to any bill design project is preparing your testing data"
Don’t forget that your data is what your bill is made of. You’re going to need to do your homework to see if your data is available for bill presentment. Your bill is only as good as your data.
Budgeting and time constraints are your next task to tackle. Keep in mind you’re going to need resources for designing the new bill, testing, Information Technology resources, and finally any outside vendor costs that may be part of your printing jobs. Your timeline of course can impact your budget as well. If you are trying to move quickly your budget may increase (and testing could be impacted).
Now that you’ve got the idea of what is needed you’re onto the design concept. You might be worried about what is the best design layout. This is the part that may require additional resources. But never underestimate the power of cutting and pasting. Sometimes just sitting down and cutting apart your current bill and pasting it onto a new sheet will, at the very least, give you a visual of where the information can go. Think of it as your grown-up version of Tetris.
The most helpful part to any bill design project is preparing your testing data. I would recommend that you always keep an updated test matrix of all your major bill print scenarios. Keep a copy of the current bill and of course the raw data behind that bill. Having this type of structure will allow you to test more thoroughly and if you are in a situation where you are outsourcing your print you will have samples at the ready. I consider this the packing list before packing luggage for a trip. Do you have your luggage packed?
While your billing team may be the best data testers consider recruiting individuals from other departments to help you review the new bill. They are all looking at the bill from different viewpoints and may be able to point out areas of concern that you were not aware of. Your bill should not require a lengthy training to understand. If it is too hard to explain to another department then it is too hard for your customers.
Some redesign projects can take years in the making and some can take just a couple of months. But the improvement to customer engagement is worth that investment no matter the size of your organization. Your bill presentment can be the only interaction your customers have with you, so make it a good one.