Posted by Alison Arthur and Bethany Frank on 10 Jul 2019
An earlier version of this blog was first published in March 2016.
It’s undeniable that technology has impacted every aspect of our lives, but that doesn’t mean traditional ways of doing business are extinct quite yet. For example, paper billing remains a critical touchpoint in many business-to-consumer relationships even though electronic billing is second nature to countless consumers.
Paper statements do provide benefits including tangible payment reminders, easy record keeping, and a natural touchpoint for customer communication. But electronic billing can deliver those benefits and more. Here are four reasons why businesses should continue encouraging their customers toward electronic bill presentment.
Paper bill statements require businesses to print and mail account information to customers. That printed information makes its rounds through a number of people and departments before arriving in the hands of the correct customer. These lengthy, manual processes can give rise to human error as paper statements are easily lost and can potentially end up in the wrong hands.
Electronic bill presentment allows businesses to communicate personal information directly to customers, reducing the risk of lost statements and mail fraud. Going paperless also makes it easier to maintain consistency because it ensures that statements are sent at the same time each month without relying on a third party. In addition, accessing historical statements through a username and password provides another layer of security to help keep customers’ account information safe.
Paper waste is a growing problem for offices across the country. Switching from paper to electronic statements can help businesses take a step toward greater environmental sustainability. And for customers, electronic statements can help reduce unwanted clutter and paper waste.
Electronic bill statements can save businesses time, money, and other resources. It often requires a whole staff to fulfill paper bill statements month after month. Workflows could span weeks, with little time for other tasks between billing cycles. For some businesses, especially large ones with heavy billing operations, paperless billing can help significantly reduce operational costs.
Aside from the paper itself, traditional statements require a constant supply of printing materials, postage, and manual labor. Paper statements also require business arrangements and regular correspondence with postal or shipping services. In contrast, e-billing can help businesses cut back on recurring expenses and improve the bottom line.
Sending paper statements in the mail is a significant administrative function that requires many dedicated hours each month. Paper statements require printing, fulfillment, and postage for every recipient. Paperless billing, on the other hand, streamlines the process and gives employees more time to focus on strategic tasks.
Much is left up to the customer when paper statements are sent in the mail. Weeks could go by before the customer ever opens the bill, leaving a lengthy time period between a business’s request for payment and receipt of funds. Because email is instant and a regular part of most customers’ daily lives, an electronic statement is likely to be viewed sooner. Customers may also make payments sooner, especially if they are given a variety of payment options and empowered to submit payments online.
The Bottom Line: There are many benefits in breaking away from traditional paper statements. Going paperless not only reduces environmental impact, but can also help businesses reduce costs, reprioritize workloads, and improve cash flow by accelerating payments. For customers, electronic statements offer convenience and enhanced security, which could lead to an overall improvement in customer satisfaction.
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