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eBilling adoption rates, what's a realistic goal for 2012?

As an eBilling practitioner, the bad news is that you are probably falling short of your target numbers. The good news is that it’s not your fault - but this may not prevent you from getting the axe.

Board level expectations of 15% eBilling adoption per annum are normal. In today’s connected society where we are online more than offline and 'going green' is on everyone’s agenda, turning off paper for the majority of customers within 5 years should be a reasonable expectation.

What is preventing eBilling from achieving significant customer adoption?

Realistically, allowing for a quarter of your client base to stick to paper for various reasons, the goal should be 75% customer adoption and paper turn off.

While it is true that poor craftsmen blame their tools, you may have a valid case to point at your portal model as the reason for missing your adoption targets.

Portals (or Pull eBilling) are only one part of a comprehensive eBilling strategy. Globally, approximately only 17% of customers are perfectly happy to go back to the biller’s website or a consolidator to fetch their bills – but these customers aren’t the majority of the base. The majority will choose to do nothing.

This is where email billing (or Push eBilling) comes to the fore. Armed with your customers email addresses, you can send secure bills or statements without requiring customers to register and choose a username and password. This puts the power of customer adoption in your hands. Customers that receive their bill by email can’t resist opening it - this allows the biller to turn off the paper.

How to achieve a customer adoption rate exceeding 15% pa

Across all industries, the average annual paperless adoption rate falls below 10% and the most common point of failure is the registration process. By including an electronic consent form in the eBilling process, you have a sure-fire way of driving customer adoption over 15% pa. The eConsent process presents the terms & conditions and an agreement to turn off the paper. Striata customers are routinely achieving adoption rates that are double their industry averages this way.

 Replacing paper intensive processes with electronic bill presentment and payment has resulted in many billers seeing a surge in electronic payments and paperless adoption.

What is a realistic paperless goal?

A fully functionally document distribution strategy should have the 3 P’s – Print, Pull and Push.

Print may never go away, so expect 20% of your base to cling onto paper.

Pull Portals should be good for another 20% of customers in the long run, but at least half of these may want paper as well as a backup.

Push Email document delivery will quickly turn off paper for the other 60% of your customers without massive marketing and incentive spend.

Executives are not setting ridiculous success targets. Annual double digit growth is reasonable, but you need the right tools to deliver the right results.  

 

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