The utility company uses e-billing to shift customers from the phone to the Web--and has upped customer satisfaction in the process.
Posted Dec 13, 2004
Capgemini Energy, looking to add value to the company-customer relationship, turned to a sometimes-overlooked touch point: the billing process.
The company is the result of a joint venture between energy company TXU and consultancy Capgemini in 2004. Prior to the venture TXU had assembled a team to study how the Internet could provide the company's paper-based billing system with a much-needed jolt. "From our initial analysis...we knew we could automate this and add value to both the customers and TXU Energy," says Chuck Ambrose, service line manager at Capgemini Energy, and formerly with TXU's e-business department.
Initially TXU was interested in an ASP, but it didn't meet company criteria. "The customization of brand and functionality was not available at the hosted services," Ambrose says. Looking for a solution that could provide TXU with the ability to incorporate its own brand and feel, TXU picked edocs, a self-service and e-billing software solutions provider.
TXU implemented the solution in September 2001. To improve its scalability the platform was modified in 2003, due to the success of its adoption by customers. "It was a change in behavior for a customer to go from paper-based to electronic, [but] a lot of the benefits moving from the new technology dictated that the adoption rates were there first," Ambrose says. "Since it's an incremental rate of return, most of the benefits would never really be seen if the adoption didn't take place. So the key to this application being a success was the adoption of the customers to this new service, and we realized that up-front." In fact, TXU has gained more than 10 percent adoption of its electronic bill presentment and payment services.
By migrating billing questions to the Web, the company has also trimmed operating costs. "We can move that customer segment that's willing and would prefer to have their questions answered on the Web...so I believe that's going to be playing a large part in our efforts moving forward," Ambrose says. Additionally, Capgemini Energy has reduced paper and postage costs related to the billing process, according to Tim Walsh, edocs director of marketing.
Customer surveys indicate that the company is experiencing higher customer satisfaction levels: "I'm confident that a lot of the adoption we see is tied to the satisfaction the customer gets after they are on the application for a length of time," Ambrose says. "And what I did notice from the surveys is that the longer the customer was registered for the service, the higher the satisfaction."
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