Nuts & Bolts - Case Study: Bills, (Paper) Bills, Go Away
Objective: Increase efficiency and reduce costs by influencing customers to switch billing channels, from direct mail to Web.
Solution: Perform analytics to determine which customers might switch, target them via direct mail, provide some incentive to switch and e-mail a note of appreciation to those who sign up.
Results: The 4.9 percent e-bill adoption rate for the targeted consumers represented a 206 percent increase over sign-up rates from previous months; market intelligence resulting from the analytics optimized consumer incentive offerings and promised reduced acquisition costs for future campaigns.
In a way, Progress Energy’s recent push to turn its energy customers on to electronic billing affirmed the power company’s message that its product—electricity—can be environmentally friendly and economical to use.
The Raleigh, N.C.-based energy company that serves 3.4 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida used a test campaign to determine how to get its customers to turn on e-billing and turn off their direct mail transactions. The answer came to Progress Energy in the form of a proposal from Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv, which provides information management and e-commerce systems for financial services.
Fiserv noticed many of Progress Energy’s customers paid their bills online through the banks Fiserv serves and thought the energy company might be interested in making the beginning of the transaction, the bill, an online experience, too. So the companies worked together to gather information about those Web bill-paying energy consumers.
“The profile that we had for e-bill up to this point was the customer who used the biller-direct model, coming straight to Progress Energy’s site rather than [viewing the bill through his or her own] bank site,” says Joyce Strand, a marketing analyst in the customer and market services department at Progress Energy. “So we had our market research folks build a model of what a consolidator customer looked like, [and it’s] someone who goes to the bank site.”