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Carrot or Stick? T-Mobile gets sued...

In the eBilling world the debate over the use of the stick or carrot is now the hottest topic.

Especially with the recent class action suite against T-Mobile.

The reason for the uproar is T-Mobile's decision to charge customers for their monthly bill summary. They had already stopped printing the detailed bill analysis in February 2008.

"Customers who want a paper summary will have to pay $1.50 a month and those who want the summary and detailed description will have to pay $3.49 monthly."

The argument is that online billing is free and customers are financially encouraged (the stick) to use this facility. But for customers without internet access this represents an extra cost they can't avoid. Hence the lawsuit.

For years mobile operators have been using the carrot to motivate customers to migrate to online billing. But the incentives have been mediocre and the heart-string "Green" pleas of limited appeal.

In the UK, Virgin Mobile has offered specific tariffs and plans that include eBilling and charges £1.25 if you want the good old-fashioned paper bill in the post.

eBilling adoption continues to be a conundrum for eBilling Managers tasked with making their online portals deliver value. Maximising customer adoption means providing customers with options that go beyond the portal. Reaching out and servicing the customer - like we used to do in the good old-fashioned days.

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Comments: (1)

Michael Wright
Michael Wright - Striata | Secure Document Delivery - London 15 September, 2009, 08:55Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

T-Mobile - retracts paper bill charge

It didn't take long for T-Mobile to feel the pain of this decision.

"We've decided to not charge our customers a paper bill fee for now," the company said in a statement. "Instead, we'll be taking more time to determine the fairest way possible to encourage people to go paperless."

The stick is not always the best way to motivate customer behavior.

eBilling managers will be back to the campaigns and incentives to pull customers towards their online statements.