How Personal Interaction Can Boost Bill Pay Adoption

Although the world has become very digital, how individuals make decisions – including decisions about their finances – remains exceedingly personal. Financial institutions should not discount the value of the human element in influencing how consumers discover and decide on financial services. Recent research regarding bill pay adoption underscores the importance of interactions with branch employees and call center representatives. 

When deciding to use bill pay services, consumers are most likely to be influenced by information from other consumers – word of mouth – and branch employees, according to the Fiserv Consumer Trends Survey. Associates who are educated and engaged about bill pay's advantages can boost adoption by overcoming common misperceptions, including the misperception that some billers only accept checks, which half of the respondents in the survey cited as a reason they don't use bill pay.

Word of mouth was cited by 18 percent of respondents – more than four times the number of respondents who said they were influenced by direct mail. Any successful financial services marketing plan certainly includes newer technology and practices such as search engine optimization, social media, online FAQs and banner ads, but clearly a personal approach is indispensable.

Bill Pay Enrollment - Most Influential Information Source

The Impact of Call Center Agents on Bill Pay Adoption

To further determine the impact of human interaction, Fiserv recently conducted a two-month bill pay usage pilot, which focused on encouraging call center agents to tell the bill pay story during routine calls. Through role playing, soft skills education and instruction on bill pay, agents were trained to identify pivotal touch point opportunities – moments in the conversation that could change consumer behavior. The key message: Let me show you how bill pay makes life easier.

Agents focused on quickly building relationships with callers, while delivering consultative recommendations on how bill pay could benefit customers. As part of the conversation, agents asked callers, "Would you like to add a payee or ebill now? I have time to help you." Fifty-eight percent of the conversations that reached this point had a positive outcome.

Compared to the control group, callers in the pilot added five additional transactions per customer and customer satisfaction scores increased to 98.7 – a 9 percent increase. Customers reported being delighted with the agents, and provided unsolicited positive responses such as, "This is that easy?" and "I don't have to worry about stamps! I'm going to love this!" Although this pilot was conducted with call center agents, a similar program could be implemented with front-line branch employees.

Reaching consumers at the right place with the right message – and at the right moment – is critical to customer satisfaction and engagement. Combining the human touch with high-performing digital elements can impact how customers make decisions about financial services and ultimately may accelerate adoption of bill pay and other digital capabilities.

American Banker recently presented a webinar, "Combining the Human Element with High Performing Content Boosts Bill Pay Adoption," featuring Monica Krider, Marketing Director, Digital Banking, Fiserv, and Roger Johnston, Market Research Director, Fiserv.

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