Customer Care Professionals Group

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How Utilities Can Engage Millennial Customers

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Many millennials aren't paying attention to their bills, according to a new survey conducted by my company, Inlet. Our survey asked more than 2,000 U.S. consumers, ages 18-24, how they usually pay their bills and how they prefer to pay bills. We found that nearly one-third (32 percent) of millennials don't even look at their itemized bills before paying them.

We also found that the majority of millennials don't have an organized system to pay their bills. While this may sound alarming, especially for utilities, it actually creates an opportunity for all bill providers to engage this coveted age group early in their adult lives.

Utilities can motivate customers to read their bills by presenting them with interactive and relevant content when delivering those documents. Utilities can also strive to make bill pay easier for their customers, keep them informed about major account activities and provide secure distribution of eBills to places that they trust, rather than just sending links in email form.

It is crucial for utilities to provide an efficient eBill delivery and bill pay experience, especially considering our survey found that less than one of four millennials pay their basic bills by mail. Specifically, only around 23 percent put a check in the mail for their utility bill. As millennials are digital natives and are accustomed to living their lives online, this creates a market opportunity for all companies to reach millennials through their customer's choice of channel - which for most will be their online banking website.

Having an effective digital document delivery system gives utilities more convenient options to offer their customers interactive, secure and rich data for a better consumer experience and engagement.

Utilities can help millennials create responsible bill pay habits early, many of whom may be paying bills for the first time in their lives. The survey found that nearly half (46 percent) of millennials have no formal system to remember to pay their bills on time. We found that just nine percent of millennials remember to pay their bills via email reminder, and a mere five percent receive a push notification on their phones.

Overall, there is a critical need for all types of providers to address bill pay issues, for millennials and all other customers. Considering that just under half (42.4 percent) of millennials say that they don't have a favorite way to pay bills, now is a great time for bill pay providers to create a customer-driven, user-friendly bill pay experience to win millennial loyalty as brand preferences become solidified at this age. By putting freedom and power into millennials' hands, they can decide where and how they want to manage their most important documents and bills. Bill providers should make it easy for consumers to be organized.

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