In fact, customers probably spend more time than you imagine studying the bills you send. For example, a utility company that conducted a study of its bills discovered that its customers spent from 4 to 6 minutes reviewing their monthly utility bills.
Few pieces of mail have such a guaranteed audience, which is why I always like to sit down with our clients and brainstorm ways they can use their bills to connect with their customers. It’s a matter of changing mindset–our goal is to think of bills as tools that can do more than collect money owed.
Here are a few ideas:
If your company has a new service to offer, has won awards or if your employees have done good in the community, a short story and photos on a bill are a quick way to spread the good news.
Bills that are well designed and easy to understand improve customer satisfaction and cut down on calls to customer service. A bill that is indecipherable leads not only to customer confusion but irritation with your company. Utility companies have found that calls to their customer service departments about their bills are almost as high as calls about outages and other service problems. Design a better bill and those calls about billing will decrease.
If you want to relay important information, a bill can be a great communicator. Whether you are detailing the dangers power lines pose or reminding customers to have gas lines marked before they dig, there’s no better place to make the point than your bill. Educational information on your bills can be brief, and they can also direct your customers to website links for white papers or reports that provide greater detail on various subjects.
When you want to know what your customers think, you can use a bill to ask them. Offer a number to call or a web link for short surveys. Share what customers like about your company by including short testimonials.
Instead of generic messages for all customers, savvy billers use the data they collect to personalize messages to their customers. If, for example, a customer’s electric bill is higher than the norm, a message on the bill could point this out and remind the customer that your staff will do home.
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