People may wish they didn't have bills to pay, but overall, they seem fairly satisfied with the billing and payment process. Key findings from the Fiserv Insights: Ninth Annual Consumer Billing Preference Survey suggest speed and ease of use in how they receive and pay bills are key drivers of satisfaction and customer loyalty.
The survey looked at U.S. households' billing and payment practices, preferences and attitudes – and revealed important takeaways for billers. In particular, the study found five digital services that can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty:
1. Multiple Billing and Payment Options
People want to pay when and how they choose. The average household uses 3.6 bill payment methods per month, and 90 percent of households use more than one payment method per month, according to the survey. Billers that can check off every bill payment channel will likely keep customers loyal and satisfied. According to the survey, 69 percent of consumers said multiple bill payment options would have a positive effect on their satisfaction with a biller.
2. Mobile Bill Pay and Presentment
Paying on the go with a mobile device is easy, fast and convenient. It's not surprising then that the number of people who use mobile bill payment grew 27 percent year over year to now include 42 percent of U.S. online households. The mobile channel is becoming indispensable – and an important driver of customer satisfaction. Thirty-four percent of consumers said being able to pay or receive bills with their smartphones would increase their customer satisfaction.
3. Electronic Bills
Consumers can choose to receive bills electronically through their biller or financial institution instead of getting a paper copy in the mail. For many, it's a matter of convenience, security and speed. Research from the Billing Preference Survey found that 70 percent of consumers say receiving electronic bills increases their satisfaction with billers, with 36 percent saying it would make them less likely to switch to a competitor.
4. Expedited payments
Today's consumers expect their bill payment transactions to be finalized in a matter of minutes, if not sooner. Same-day payments, including emergency payment options, are a must, according to the survey. In the past year, 36 percent of consumers in the study made an expedited bill payment to avoid being late or incurring a late fee. The survey found 64 percent of consumers expect same-day credit for bill payments at a biller's site and 56 percent at a bank's site. If a biller allowed emergency bill payments through financial institutions' online bill pay service, 54 percent of consumers said it would positively affect their satisfaction with the biller.
5. Bill Due Reminders
Getting a reminder that a bill is due solves an important problem: People don't want to incur late fees or have their service cut off. Seventy-three percent of financial institution bill pay users want to receive an alert that a bill is due, and 80 percent of households said those reminders would have a positive effect on their satisfaction with a biller or financial institution.