Document-Genetics-GlobeEbills linked to timely payments, reduced costs

26th September 2011

Offering electronic bills through online banking or the company's website can lead to enhanced cash flow and reduced customer care costs, according to results of a study of Con Edison customers conducted by Fiserv.

Con Edison, a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison Inc., is one of the nation's largest investor-owned energy companies and provides electric, gas, and steam service to more than 3 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, New York. The study shows that customers who receive electronic bills via a financial institution or the Con Edison website are more likely to make on-time payments, and use online self-service rather than costly customer service calls.

This is the first primary study of a utility that links electronic billing to critical business functions, such as more current payments receivables and higher levels of online customer service. The findings are consistent with ebilling research from telecommunications and other industries, the company said.

Conducted by AccuData on behalf of Fiserv, the study analyzed 2 million customer records with a focus on three customer segments: those receiving paper bills, those receiving ebills via online banking, and those receiving ebills at the Con Edison website. The research compared the three groups' customer service channel use and payment timing. The study found that ebill use had correlations with:

• Frequent on-time payments: Customers receiving ebills via online banking were 22% more likely to make on-time payments and customers receiving e-bills at ConEd.com were 6% more likely to make on-time payments, when compared to paper bill recipients. Banking sites offer due-date reminders which may help customers pay their bills on time.

• Reduced customer service calls: Customers receiving ebills via online banking were 64% less likely to call live customer service per month and customers receiving ebills at ConEd.com were 39% less likely to call, when compared to paper bill recipients.

• High online self-service engagement at ConEd.com: On average, customers receiving ebills via online banking or the Con Edison website conducted 1.57 and 1.37 registered self-service visits per month at ConEd.com, respectively. In contrast, paper bill users performed such activities 0.71 times per month. Bank-delivered e-bills provide links driving customers to ConEd.com for usage activity and billing history information.

"E-bills deliver strong business benefits that extend beyond cost savings, and this study reinforces ebilling as a strategic function worthy of C-level attention," said Jardon Bouska, president, Biller Solutions, Fiserv. "Whether they are delivered to bank websites or the company website, ebills drive value for businesses and consumers. "

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