Clearly, there is a cost savings, turning a 50-plus cent bill into a fraction of that. And, of course, everyone talks about the environmental benefit of saving trees, water, energy and solid waste disposal–all of which go into creating paper and the delivery of bills by the Postal Service.
But eBilling is more than about direct cost savings and the environment, it is about business process improvements; better customer communications; stronger customer loyalty; creating new sales opportunities; and it is about cash flow.
The carrot or the stick?
It is important to know about the true total benefits, as management decides to take a neutral, carrot-or-stick approach to eBilling adoption.
The stick: Companies have tried but often retreat from charging for paper delivery at the risk of customers being disenfranchised and going to another vendor. This may work temporarily, but the lasting value is questionable and is risky to the core business, as it tends to anger customers.
1. Hard-dollar cost savings
2. Better customer communications
3. Corporate image/carbon footprint
4. Business process improvements
- a. Customer enhancements
- b. Company enhancements
6. Better customer experience and customer loyalty
7. Cross-selling opportunities
Each of these can be a good reason for wanting a customer to go paperless. The sum of them all far outweighs the simple hard-dollar savings, and companies are starting to take notice. The hard part is to get all of the interested players, all with their individual goals and objectives, to come together to support the company, not just their silo.
At the end of the day there are just three key questions to ask yourself and your team:
1. What is the value/cost of a paperless customer vs. a paper customer?
2. Is the expense/pain significant enough to do something about it (i.e., is it a priority)?
3. What is the most cost effective way go get more customers to make the switch to paperless billing and payment, in the least amount of time with the least amount of effort and cost?