Use the digital experience as your ‘constant’ during system change

When was thelast time your company’s business billing program had zero initiatives?  Formost, the answer is never. Due to the ever-fluctuating products, pricing,customers, processes, etc., billing programs – and their respective systems –are always evolving. This is a must to support customer growth, product innovation,and operational excellence. But on the flip side, how does this endless cycleof change impact the customer billing experience?

Well, for some, not much at all. Forothers, the impacts are significant – a rise in billing inquiries, latepayments, dissatisfied customers, and ultimately, churn.

So what’s the variance between the two? Thedigital experience (or lack thereof).

The digital channel offers a uniqueopportunity to combat traditional challenges associated with billing changes.The idea is fairly simple: provide your business customers with a single portalto access all bills and associated data across all accounts and products.

What this means for your customers is theyhave a consistent view of their bills and usage data, regardless if you add newproducts or source the data from a different system. What this means for yourcompany is your customers have no direct exposure to your in flux billingsystems.

To put it into perspective, let’s take alook at the three categories of change and the direct impacts they have on yourcustomer billing experience:

1.Billing System Replacement: A completesystem re-haul typically comes with a new customer experience, either via apaper bill and/or a digital bill. While efforts are made to align the new withthe old, we have yet to see an identical structuring and display of billingdata in this scenario. Ironically, most companies go into a replacement withthe mentality of eliminating the ‘bad’ from the legacy system. But that isoften overruled for the ‘ease’ of mimicking what’s already in place.

As old replaces the new, customers mustlearn the variances and how they impact their established validation andpayment processes. These long-term projects are also a common culprit of‘putting the digital experience on hold’ until the new system is in place.

2.Billing System Addition: Many companies have multiple billing systems in place –and are continuing to add due to acquisition activities or product-specificrequirements. Given the focus on digital, many billing vendors now include a‘complementary’ portal experience as part of the system they provide.

Here’s the problem – those ‘complementary’experiences are system specific. Meaning if customers do business with youacross multiple product lines, they have to log in to multiple portals toaccess their bills, reports, and payments.

3.Billing System Alteration: Some billing systems have been in place for 20 or 30years and still have sufficient capacity and capabilities to handle today’sadvanced services. But that doesn’t mean they are static. The launch of newproducts and bundles, revised data requirements, redefining of segments, etc.are all examples of changes that have an impact on the resulting experience.

As the existing bill is altered, customershave a heightened need to validate charges and pricing. If offline validation(using a paper or static PDF bill) is the only option, this can be a timeintensive and frustrating process for the customer.

Change is never easy – especially when itinvolves thousands of customers and billions in revenues. But using the digitalchannel as your ‘constant’ billing experience provides your business customerswith consistency that is welcomed and trusted.

So whetheryou’re taking on a full billing system replacement, supplementing your existinginfrastructure, or altering your systems in place, educate yourself on thevalue an overarching digital experience candeliver – both in the short and long-term.


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