One challenge that phone companies struggle with is that of getting their customers to pay their bills on time. It is a difficult challenge, especially given the fact that naturally, people don’t like parting with their money. Thus whereas people are quick to use the phone services, they tend to become slow when it comes to phone bill payments. Yet experience shows the people who run the phone companies that pushing the customers too hard (to pay their bills on time) can be counterproductive. That is because customers have the option of switching to other carriers, if they feel that they are being pushed too hard to pay their bills on time. And if a phone carrier loses customers in this way, it can be very hard to replace them. And it can be a rather huge loss, considering the ‘lifetime value’ of the lost customer. Yet on the other hand, the phone service provider wouldn’t have a sustainable business if the customers don’t pay their bills. And as we have seen, some of the customers won’t pay their bills unless they are pushed… So it becomes a delicate balancing act: aimed at pushing the customers just enough to pay their bills, without pushing them to the extent of considering switching to other carriers.
Thankfully, there are some ‘tried and proven’ strategies that phone carriers can use, to increase the chances of their customers paying their bills on time. In that regard, to ensure that phone services users pay their bills on time, a carrier needs to:
Give incentives for early payment of the bills
This is where, for instance, the customers who pay their bills on time can be given discounts (specifically on account of having paid the bills in a timely manner). This would mean that the customers would have something to gain, for paying their bills on time. And conversely, it would mean that the customers would have something to lose, if they don’t pay their bills on time. So this would push them, at a subconscious level at least, to pay their bills early…
You have to understand that human beings can be selfish, and you therefore have to show them that something is in their self-interest, in order to get them to do it. So in this case, you have to show the phone users that it is in their best interest to pay their bills early, in order to get them to do it. The discounts to be offered for early payment of bills need not be particularly huge. The idea is simply to have something that can push the clients, at a subconscious level, to pay their phone bills on time. The discounts may look modest, at a conscious level, but remember, you are targeting the customers’ subconscious minds.
Encourage the phone service users to sign up for automatic bill pay
If the phone service users sign up for automatic bill pay, issues of late payment of bills wouldn’t arise. That is because money would be automatically deducted from the customers’ bank accounts, to pay for the phone bills on the dates when the bills are supposed to be paid. So the challenge you have to deal with is on how to get the customers to sign up for automatic bill pay. One way to do so would be by giving a discount to customers who opt for automatic bill pay. So you can have a system where customers who sign up for automatic bill pay are charged, say $5 (or just $3) less than what they would otherwise have had to pay. So the customer would get to know that by signing up for automatic bill pay, he would end up paying $60 (or $36) less, per year, than they would otherwise have paid. This would push them, subconsciously at least, to sign up for automatic bill pay. And on your part, it would help you to avoid late bill payment issues. It may also help you retain the customers – because customers who are signed up for automatic bill payment are less likely to ditch you than customers who haven’t (unless your services deteriorate to totally unacceptable levels).
Make the customers aware of the consequences of late payment of phone bills
So this is where you need to make it clear that customers who fail to pay their phone bills on time are at a risk of eventually being disconnected. And that they are also at risk of being reported to the credit bureaus. Don’t make it sound like a threat, but state it in a factual manner – and it will serve to push the phone users to pay their bills in a timely manner.
Send alerts to customers whose phone bill payment dates are near
Sometimes, people just forget that they are supposed to pay their phone bills on certain dates. Remembers, these are individuals with lots of other things to keep track of, besides phone bill payments. So you may find individuals who are more than willing to pay the phone bill payments (and who actually have the funds to do so) – yet they just forget to do so. To help these sorts of customers, the best thing to do would be to send them alerts, reminding them that their phone bill payments are due on such and such dates, and encouraging them to actually make the payments.
Ensure that the bill payment systems are easy to use
If the bill payments are not easy to use, it will serve as a disincentive for the customers to make the payments. People will think of the difficulty they are likely to encounter paying the bills, and shirk from the task (even if they have the money and will to pay the phone bills). So the way to avoid this is by seeing to it that the phone bill payment systems are easy to use. Therefore the customers will know that they just have to spare a few minutes, and get the phone bill payments done. This would ultimately increase the probability of the customers paying their phone bills on time.