Utility bills must include a number, amount due, and due date, among other things. Your space may be limited depending on the size of the paper you mail to customers, and many details often get overlooked. This post will outline some of those overlooked details to help you design a better experience for your customer.
Is it usage based or flat rate?
Being explicit about the usage and how much is owed is critical. Some entities may bill for multiple services, which makes it especially important to break the usage and amount owed up. Usage based services (like water, gas, or electric) can benefit from showing a graph to visualize the data for the customer to see how they are trending. For services that are billed a flat rate (like internet), it is smart to include the package that the customer has.
Do you have a green initiative?
Many entities have green initiatives or similar reduction focused agendas. Dedicating a portion of the bill to this will help improve awareness and get customers to opt-into the changes you are trying to encourage. Showing a customer their utility usage each month can help reduce their consumption. In many cases, customers have a tough time understanding what the unit of measurement is. In those cases, it may be useful to include a simple example like a 10 minute shower uses 25 gallons of water. Anything that can help the customer relate their usage to everyday actions will go a long way.
How should they contact you?
While the goal of a well designed utility bill is to eliminate call/email volume, it is still necessary to provide a contact phone number and email. Questions will always come up and you want to make sure your customers know the right contact information. In addition to contact information, you should always include steps on how to pay the bill. Including these explicit instructions will reduce fraud or phishing attempts since customers will know the correct place to go to make their payment.
Does it match?
One of the most common points of confusion is when a physical bill doesn't match the one online. It's not that the numbers are different, but the layout between the two. Having a matching physical and digital bill will help reduce that confusion.
We have worked with our print and mail partner, Data Mail, Inc. to help eliminate this through our 'Image Hosting' Offering. Clients of ours that partner with Data Mail to print and ship their bills can add this service. This will ensure the physical bill your customers receive matches the one they see online.