From insurance companies and utilities to physicians’ offices, retailers, and in between, businesses of all types are implementing electronic invoicing and billing (also known as electronic billing presentment and payment, or EBPP) solutions. These solutions allow merchants to deliver customers’ statements electronically rather than via paper-based methods, and for customers to “opt-in” (enroll) to view their bills and make payments online. Considering their significant benefits, they are well worth the investment.
For starters, using EBPP solutions to generate and distribute bills and invoices is cheaper and faster than going the paper bill and invoice route. By E-Complish’s calculations, issuing a single paper bill and accepting payment by mail costs 76 cents, while generating that same paper bill and accepting payment electronically costs even more—80 cents.
Conversely, it costs just 32 cents—less than half the price of both other methods—to create one bill electronically and accept payment online. Overall, businesses achieve a 20% savings in paper and postage when they make EBPP an option for customers.
Fast Receipt, Immediate Payments
As for the speed angle, consider this: Customers who enroll in EBPP receive an email that their bill is ready to be viewed—and can open it right away instead of waiting for it to arrive in the mail. In fact, nearly half of consumers who enroll in an EBPP program pay their bill the same day the email arrives in their inbox.
Businesses also expend less time and effort pursuing customers for payments that are late or have not been received because bills or checks are lost in the mail, or because invoices were either not received in time to meet the payment due date or were inadvertently misplaced after delivery to recipients. From what we’ve heard, merchants see an immediate 15% reduction in late and missed payments with EBPP alone.
What’s more, customers themselves favor the convenient, streamlined payment experience that comes with EBPP. After all, who likes writing a check, finding a stamp, and remembering to put the payment in the mail, or worse, taking the time to visit a business to make an in-person payment?
Consumers are also more satisfied—as well as more loyal and less likely to pay bills late—when flexible payment options are available to them. Statistics tell the tale: According to our research, 32 percent of consumers use more than three bill payment methods every month, and 43 percent are more satisfied with companies that have multiple billing and payment options.
Speaking of customer loyalty and satisfaction, many consumers have become environmentally conscious and prefer to do business with merchants that have taken steps to become more environmentally responsible. Converting to EBPP is such an easy step. Again, our statistics prove it: Producing 1,000 paper bills takes 336 pounds of paper, 1,241 pounds of wood, 3,733 gallons of water, and 1,446 pounds of greenhouse gas. If 20 percent of those bills were converted to electronic invoices, three household garbage bags of trash and five gallons of gasoline would be saved, and 747 fewer gallons of wastewater would be discharged into U.S. waterways.
E-Signatures Offer Advantages Too
Big benefits can also be achieved from “paper to electronic conversion” with electronic signature services, which allow businesses to electronically produce, send, and retrieve signed documents (including documents like payment agreements). Instead of waiting several days for transactions and approval processes to be completed because paper documents and/or forms are caught up—or worst, lost—in “snail mail,” they can send out electronic versions of these items and have the signed versions in their hands the same day.
Just as importantly, businesses that use electronic signature services don’t waste time on phone calls to remind customers to return signed documents—automatically generated email reminders handle the job. Electronic documents and the status of electronic signatures are also easy to track—no shuffling through papers to determine whether documents have been issued and signed and approvals have been generated.
Topping it all off, an ever-increasing number of consumers want access to electronic document receipt and signature option available through electronic signature services. Service providers and other businesses that provide such an option will experience fewer customer service problems while bolstering customer satisfaction and loyalty.