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Online Bill Payment & Presentment

Dealling with user questions

     
8:46 pm on Dec 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Hiya, we've had an online bill payment site up for almost a year now. Our site is for an electric utility. So in essence, the goal was to replace the usual paper bill.

In looking back at some of the comments and questions we've received over this time, the largest amount of comments we have received have been "I want my paper bill."

How many other people have encountered this, and what have you done? We implimented a "get your paper bill for an additional 3 months" option. When the cost/benefit of an application was based on a reduction in paper/postage (among others) what do you do about this kind of complaint?

10:07 pm on Dec 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Are you offering them something online that they cannot get in their paper bill?

The only way I would switch personally is if something was offered online that is not available in the snail mail version.
I would think if you had graphical representations of say the past 3, 6, or 12 month period of their bill for instance or “compare this month to last year” (same month). There are allot of ways to make the online version more “valuable” – the above is just on example.

I guess my point is that most people will not go through the effort unless you are offering them more ;)

11:23 pm on Dec 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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If you are storing the information in a database then there is no reason you shouldn't be able to generate a paper bill dynamically.

Go to [asptoys.com...] and get their WordToy script. I use this for a client that needs to generate court forms dynamically.

Jerrod

12:16 am on Dec 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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most people will not go through the effort unless you are offering them more

I consider the convenience of being able to pay my bill online without the expense of a stamp or the hassle of writing a check, or all the paper trash otherwise associated with snail mail bills to be more than enough incentive for using an online payment service. :) (...and now that I know my local utility company offers this service, I shall go sign up for it!)

I'm personally irritated with the companies that offer online payment without being able to eliminate paper bills... I hate getting a paper copy of a bill I paid two weeks earlier online.

What I wonder is why can't these people just print out a copy of the online payment info, if they want a paper copy?

12:54 am on Dec 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Are you offering them something online that they cannot get in their paper bill?

A rolling 24 months of usage and payment history, email notification of new bills, credit card expiration reminders, etc...

We have also given the ability to print their bill, currently in a crappy table driven layout, but soon as a PDF document.

Each person who has complained about the mailed bill, has had this pointed out to them, to which their reply has been, "I have to do all that?"

In otherwords, they'd like to set up their payment to be automatically processed, and then never have to go back to the web page, I'm guessing.

12:56 am on Dec 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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they'd like to set up their payment to be automatically processed

I've had my payment automatically processed for the last 3 years... I just want a way to get rid of the paper bill! ;)

1:35 am on Dec 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I consider the convenience of being able to pay my bill online without the expense of a stamp or the hassle of writing a check, or all the paper trash otherwise associated with snail mail bills to be more than enough incentive for using an online payment service.

I agree - I was just stating why others may not ;)

evinrude,

Sounds like you are/will be doing all the right things. Guess there will always be complainers :)

1:42 am on Dec 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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One thing I could think of is to offer TWO different options on the site:

1. Sign up for auto-payment ONLY. You will continue to receive a paper bill for your records each month, but your payment will be automatically withdrawn from the credit card or bank account of your choice.

2. Sign up for online billing (with auto-payment optional). You will receive an email bill INSTEAD of a paper bill each month. You can also sign up for auto-payment, or pay your bill online each month via our website.

1:50 am on Dec 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Guess there will always be complainers

I'd be inclined to think that too. But we get quite a few of these. Heck, my own mother won't use a site I HELPED DESIGN 'cause she "likes writting checks and having a paper copy for records." :) Now thats dejection. *grin*

Sign up for auto-payment ONLY.

I've proposed this, but there is already a system in place, not web based, for this. Our Member Service managers want everything funneled through the web, though. While at the same time, not wanting to "replicate" the older system. Catch-22.
1:52 am on Dec 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Our Member Service managers want everything funneled through the web, though. While at the same time, not wanting to "replicate" the older system.

That's it then... just blame them, and make sure their phone number is the one handed out to the people complaining about the website. :)

3:03 am on Dec 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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But we get quite a few of these. Heck, my own mother won't use a site I HELPED DESIGN 'cause she "likes writting checks and having a paper copy for records.

You will never convert everyone ;)

 

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