Globys Research A strategic perspective on invoice-to-cash

Different industry, similar problem: Why utilities are looking to telecoms for best practices in digital billing

Topics: Invoicing, Payments

As featured on Energy Central

The commercial and industrial (C&I) segment represents 10 to 12% of total utility customers. But with this same segment representing over 50% of total customer revenues and 50% of total support costs, companies are keen to find a way to deliver a superior experience at a lower operating cost. One CE operations exec says he has the answer – just follow the path set forth by the telecommunications industry. 

For one APAC energy provider, smart meters offer the promise of lower operating costs and happier customers. Deploying smart C&I meters greatly reduces the need for manual or drive-by meter readings, and provides more precise measurement of consumption as it relates to billing. At the same time, smart meters can help savvy C&I customers understand their consumption in order to improve energy efficiency. A win-win for the customer and the supplier.

But with new opportunity comes new challenge.

Although smart meter technology and the supporting infrastructure is readily available, there’s one major component that seems to be lacking – the front-end customer experience.

How do you integrate this new consumption-based data into your overall customer billing experience?  And how do you make it easy to digest, with the goal of reducing support versus increasing inquiries?

After working previously in the telco space to solve a similar problem among the corporate segment, the new head of CE operations has a simple recommendation – ‘there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.’

The goal is to provide a unified digital experience that encompasses detail usage data, bills, reporting, and payments.  And ironically, this is exactly were telcos were years ago.

As the infographic shows, the similarities between the telco and energy markets make them prime allies for applying – and reapplying – best practices.

Five unique challenges facing utilities and telecoms

Different industry, similiar problems, same customers.

That’s right, the same customers making up the C&I energy segment have a direct overlap with the Enterprise & Corporate telecom segments. And to take it even further, it’s most likely the same Accounts Payable user or team who would be leveraging these solutions to validate charges, review invoices, and ultimately, submit payment.

Although the rise of smart meters may be calling for a new approach to digital invoicing in the energy space, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an approach that doesn’t exist today.

Learn from your telecom peers to understand exactly what this valuable customer segment needs in order to accelerate review and payment – and in turn, accelerate your speed to market and level of success.