To see how these concepts played out in our project for this client, please visit Improving Customer Satisfaction with Electronic Billing Statements.
This month's case study illustrates an "equation" I have seen play out many times:
focus + distance = clarity
The Cost of a Confused Customer
In the case of our client, their Billing staff did not have – and could not have – the benefit of distance from the fast pace of their daily practices to see how presenting information on a billing statement could affect other areas of the company. How others viewed this:
- The CEO, wanting to work down the Accounts Receivable balance, saw how an unclear billing statement could confuse their customers and slow down payments.
- The Director of Information Systems, wanting to reduce the volume of calls to Customer Service related to the billing statement, saw the costs of unclear information.
What we provided was the focus + distance from the day-to-day responsibilities to yield clarity about the customers' confusion – a billing statement which lacked clarity and readability – and then to work to design and develop the processes and technology to address this. Adopting a goal of making their billing statement "as easy to read as a credit card statement" made it easy to assess the project's progress and likely customer satisfaction.
Become Your Customers Eyes
By becoming the "eyes" of the customer, we were able to find the rough spots in the billing statement process and technology – and then eliminate these. We also produced a customer-friendly technique for accessing electronic billing statements – using various revised formats – securely. The first 3 months of application deployment constituted a "soft rollout" to about 20 key customers. Following this successful trial period, our client has begun an aggressive rollout to other customers, increasing the number to over 60 customers – and electronic billing statements to over 500 – in just one month.
As this case study shows, putting the customer first – and making things easy for them, including understanding and paying their bills – is good for both the customer and our client.
Todd L. Herman