Can a utility bill be more than just a transactional invoice? Yes, it can when you use it to customize marketing messages. Utility printing services enable you to do this, which creates better connections with customers. Find out about the opportunities available when you outsource utility statements with an innovative partner.

Appearance Matters for Engagement and Recall

When customers open your statements, they may have an immediate negative reaction to an ugly and dated design. They represent your brand. If you aren’t using color and a visually interesting design, customers will have less recall and affinity.

McKinsey published an in-depth research report on the business value of design. They looked at various aspects of a business’ brand, finding a direct correlation between good design and revenue outperformance against peers.

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This study is just one example of the many linking the importance of design with engagement and performance. If your invoice still looks as it did 20 years ago, with no color or appeal, your customers aren’t going to read beyond the amount due and due date.

Whereas full-color, vibrant statements, customers will find them easier to read and pay more attention to the content. Humans are visual creatures, so when something attracts the eye, we intrinsically remember it better, as well.

Your Bills Can Be Modernized No Matter What Technology You Use to Generate Them Today

A common misconception is that older technology systems prevent you from updating the appearance of your bill or statement.  That’s just not true.  Today’s progressive print and mail providers can take your data and reformat it so that your bill can take on the appearance you desire.  Best of all, it’s not expensive to do so.

Your Bills Are Another Communication Channel

Most utilities use a variety of communication channels to engage customers. They use email marketing and traditional outbound advertising on TV and radio. Your bill is just one more avenue to connect with consumers and provide relevant messaging. Most brands are leveraging an omnichannel approach for customer engagement, so don’t miss out on this opportunity.

What Messages Can Utility Bill Printing Services Include?

When employing the services of a vendor, you have lots of options with your statements. The most important of these is the ability to personalize at scale. With advanced technology at their disposal, you can choose what segment of users receive what messaging. That could include by state, product, or new vs. existing customers.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Energy efficiency programs: Looking to up enrollment in a program? Make it a callout on your bills.
  • Alerts on scams: Utility scams are becoming more prevalent, and you want to advise your customers on their dangers.
  • Energy snapshots: Use simple charts or graphs to track usage over periods of time, which can help users conserve better.
  • Safety tips: Include seasonal tips for your customers around electricity or water usage.
  • Usage restrictions: For areas with limitations on utility usage by schedule, make this prominent and include any fines they could face for noncompliance.
  • App promotion: If your utility has an app, add content around how to get it, what it does, and why it can be valuable.
  • Solar information: Describe any solar power initiatives by your utility for non-users. For those with solar panels, advise them of the generation that period.
  • Other services: If you provide other services, your bill is a good spot to cross-sell or upsell.

Ensuring Messaging Meets the Needs of Customers

In considering how to redesign your utility invoice, you should be considering customer needs.

A study by a consulting firm found that even the best-designed utility bills are falling short of customer expectations.

While utilities strive to bring clarity to usage and charges, the research project found that three areas needed work:

  • Explaining the value behind the invoice: Consumers don’t know technical language; instead, they want to know what it costs to use power or water. Smart meters are one way to break this down to more useful information.
  • Helping customers prepare for bills: Many of your customers have tight budgets and would like predictability in billing. Utility costs fluctuate every month, but you have historical data at your disposal. Adding a “bill forecast” for this next month could reduce anxiety and uncertainty.
  • Giving customers a choice: Consumers have more information at their disposal and desire choice. Bringing simplicity and transparency to rate and payment options could improve their sentiment toward your brand.

Message on Your Bill, Not an Insert

Many utilities employ inserts in their statements to message, and it’s not effective. Those pieces of paper will likely be tossed or recycled without a glimpse. Consumers are “insert blind,” meaning they discount them as anything significant.

Messaging on the invoice has a much better chance of recognition by the recipient. If you’re wondering how you’d track this, include special phone numbers, email addresses, or website pages for users to learn more. You could also inset unique QR codes for customers to scan, taking them to a personalized page. By merging print and digital engagement, you have more chances to engage and delight.

Utility Bill Printing Services and Messaging: Get It Right with PCI Group

PCI Group is a leading print and mail provider with a long history of serving the utility industry. We can bring your invoice into the 21st-century and deliver information your customers actually want and need.

Learn more about utility printing services today.