An engaged customer is easy to recognize in many industries. In the retail industry, an engaged customer is an avid online shopper who tags their favorite brand on social media. In the spa or beauty salon industry, an engaged customer will book appointments regularly and leave positive reviews on Yelp.

In the energy industry, however, it can be more challenging to define what utility customer engagement looks like.

Customer engagement is the relationship a customer has with a brand. It can be strengthened — or diminished — with every interaction.

Check out the following signs that your utility customer engagement efforts are succeeding.

What Is An Engaged Energy Utility Customer?

An engaged energy utility customer will:

  • Regularly log into MyAccount
  • Sign up for mobile alerts
  • Open and click your emails
  • Connect with your energy utility on social media
  • Take advantage of your programs and services
  • Make repeat visits to your online marketplace
  • Share experiences about your energy utility

Regularly log into their MyAccount or mobile app

If your customers are putting self-serve tools to use, that’s a strong indication they are engaged. If they are logging into their MyAccount or mobile app to pay their bills, look at past energy usage, read efficiency content or choose alternative rate plans, you can be confident that they are paying attention.

Customers who don’t regularly log in can be labeled as “absentminded power users.” They are on autopilot and don’t think much about their utility, the services provided or how they can take control of their own energy usage or spending.

Sign up for mobile alerts

Customers who have signed up for mobile alerts are more engaged than customers who haven’t. These customers are telling you they want to receive the updates you have to share. Whether it’s energy usage alerts, outage updates or general community messages, these customers have indicated they care about what your utility is doing.

Boost engagement quickly by running an opt-in campaign. See how this Southeast utility used email to update more than 275,000 customer accounts for mobile outage communications.

Example of mobile communications to achieve utility customer engagement

Open and click your emails

Utility customer engagement can be easily tracked by looking at email performance. If your customers repeatedly read the content you send them, they are highly engaged.

If customers aren’t opening or clicking your emails, your utility has some work to do. Your emails may not be speaking to specific customer interests. Can you employ segmentation to become more relevant?

Check out the performance metrics for a municipal utility’s monthly residential newsletter. These high open and click rates indicate an engaged readership and customers who see value in their utility.

Example of performance metrics showing utility customer engagement

Connect with your energy utility on social media

Your social media platforms are a great barometer for utility customer engagement. Think about your favorite brand — you are more likely to engage with their posts compared to a company you feel lukewarm about.

Engaged customers will frequently like, share and comment on your social media posts because they trust and respect your energy utility. They will also contribute suggestions, requests and ideas on your social platforms, showcasing their loyalty and involvement. They may even leave questions on your social media posts, further showing that they want to engage with you.

Keep in mind, your energy utility needs to have a social media presence with entertaining and educational content for these interactions to take place. If you have nothing worth “liking” to post, how will your engaged customers connect with you?

Whether you share educational videos or fun infographics with valuable insights on energy topics, give your engaged customers a reason to connect with your energy utility on social media.

Example of utility customer engagement on social media

See how Rochester Gas and Electric fostered strong customer engagement with its social media content. By highlighting an accomplished employee, the utility gave its community something to celebrate, leading to a high number of comments, likes and views.

Take advantage of your programs and services

Engaged customers will utilize your energy utility’s programs and services to improve their daily lives. This is especially true with MyAccount and paperless billing customers who are more likely to have a strong digital relationship with your energy utility.

Customers attuned to your brand might participate in an energy efficiency assessment or regularly visit your website to find helpful information on topics like renewable energy or home energy savings.

Engaged customers are eager to learn more about programs and services that are relevant to their unique needs and interests. By personalizing content in promotions and newsletters, you’ll increase utility customer engagement over time. Customers will begin to see you as an energy expert and helpful resource in their day-to-day lives.

Make repeat visits to your online marketplace

Customers engaged with your energy utility will make repeat visits to your online marketplace. Research finds that fully engaged customers are not as price sensitive as their unengaged counterparts. Of course, they will look at the price tag, but that is not the only deciding factor. They shop more often, buy more products and are eager to tell their friends and family about your brand.

To encourage customers to visit your online marketplace, try sending regular promotional emails with energy-efficient products of interest to them. For example:

  • For renters, share low-cost products like smart power strips or energy-saving showerheads.
  • For homeowners, share products that require a bigger investment like ENERGY STAR® appliances.
  • For customers who visit your marketplace, consider sending abandoned cart emails when they leave the site without finalizing a purchase.
  • For customers who are previous shoppers, share product recommendation emails to encourage them to make another purchase, such as a smart home hub that’s compatible with the thermostat they bought.

Share experiences about your energy utility

Engaged customers are excited to share their positive experiences, whether it was how your energy utility handled a power outage or the considerable savings from an incentive. These happy customers are eager to share their experiences online through a thread on Reddit, Nextdoor, a Facebook group or official review channels and satisfaction surveys.

While seemingly counterintuitive, engaged utility customers will also occasionally share negative experiences online. Though this may not seem like a good thing, it shows these customers care and are interested in your energy utility and its services. In comparison, unengaged customers will be disinterested, resulting in silence rather than a chance for rectification.

Example of utility customer engagement in online review

See how an AEP Ohio customer was at first dissatisfied by their electric bill, but by speaking up was able to learn more about available services. This review can help educate other customers who may have the same concern.

Boost Utility Customer Engagement with Every Interaction

Every touchpoint can either positively or negatively affect utility customer engagement. That’s why your customer interactions need to provide value, whether you’re sharing educational energy topics in a monthly newsletter or promoting a relevant program to a specific segment of your audience.

With these types of digital customer touchpoints in place, your energy utility can then define what an engaged customer means for your energy utility.

What does an engaged customer look like for your energy utility? Learn how to build stronger digital relationships with an engagement strategy from Questline Digital.

Studies show that 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. But you can’t improve your utility’s customer experience if you don’t understand it from your customers’ perspective. That’s where customer journey mapping comes in.

Journey mapping is critical for understanding and solving customer pain points. This becomes even more important as customer experiences shift with changing technologies and preferences. Customer journey mapping lays the groundwork for greater engagement and sets your utility up for success and long-term customer satisfaction.

To better uncover and solve customer pain points, your energy utility can benefit from using the right customer journey mapping software. Consider the following tips and tools to assess and improve the customer experience at your energy utility.

What is Customer Journey Mapping?

Customer journey maps are visual workflows that outline the step-by-step experience a customer has with your brand, service or product. The workflow typically includes steps from both the customer’s and company’s point of view, but focuses on the cumulative experiences across multiple touchpoints and channels over time.

Customer journey map examples provide clearly defined start and stop points for the experience you want to highlight, inclusive of customers’ actions, emotions and behaviors.

Companies that do not incorporate experience mapping risk facing an array of negative consequences. According to McKinsey, failing to appreciate customer journey mapping can include consequences like:

  • Customer defection
  • Dramatically higher call volumes
  • Lost sales
  • Lower employee morale

In contrast, there are many benefits to customer journey mapping, including:

  • Strategize and plan for utility resources
  • Identify and solve for customer pain points
  • Improve overall customer satisfaction
  • Enhance sales and retention
  • Reduce end-to-end service cost
  • Identify operational inefficiencies within the utility
  • Strengthen employee satisfaction

Delivering an exceptional customer journey experience makes it more likely that customers repeat a purchase, spend more, make a recommendation to their friends and stay updated with your utility.

Chart showing the impact customer journey mapping has on customer satisfaction

“Almost 90% of those using customer journey mapping said their program is delivering a positive impact, the most common one being an increase in customer satisfaction,” according to Mike Weir, Chief Revenue Office at G2. “Lower churn, fewer customer complaints, and higher NPS [net promoter scores] were also among the top impacts.”

How Do You Create a Customer Journey Map?

Follow these steps when preparing to develop a journey map:

  • Identify the experiences you want to analyze
  • Identify the users in the experience
  • Cluster your users into distinct groups
  • Interview users from your groups to get direct input
  • Map out the steps, including actions, mediums, emotions and behaviors

It helps to start with your goals and ask yourself, “Whose journey am I mapping?” From there, you can create a customer persona and capture the highlights of the journey in easy-to-understand stages. Remember, you want to make the customer journey map actionable.

Customer Journey Mapping Software and Tools

There are so many utility customer journey mapping tools available that it can be overwhelming to choose which one to use. We’ve compiled a list of some of the top platforms to make it easy for you to decide.

“When choosing a software, it depends on how robust you want the journey map to be, and then how visually appealing you want it,” says Zach Hardison, Questline Digital’s Vice President of Solutions Innovation. “Make sure the software meets your needs and accomplishes your journey mapping goals. And don’t overcomplicate it — sometimes simple is better if creates an easy-to-understand and actionable process. Every customer experience is different — choose a software that fits with the experience that you’re mapping out.”

When choosing customer journey map software, consider:

  • Easy design functionality
  • Quick and simple editing
  • Sharing capabilities
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Integration with data

Five Tools to Create Your Customer Journey Map

1. Mural: A whiteboard tool with pre-built templates, capabilities for real-time collaboration and easy-to-use models for common cases and proven methods.

  • Price: Various subscriber options ranging from free to $18 per user per month depending on your needs.
Customer journey map example from Mural software

2. LucidChart: Simple cut-and-paste capabilities that allow teams to clarify complicated processes. This software is used by many Fortune 100 companies, including HP and NBC.

  • Price: Plans ranging from free to $13.50 per user per month.
Customer journey map example from Lucid Chart software

3. Microsoft Visio: Another simplified shapes tool, this flowchart and diagramming software provides premade templates, starter diagrams and stencils. It also allows for real-time collaboration and features integration with Microsoft for easy sharing.

  • Price: Free trial version, with paid options ranging from $5 to $15 per user per month.
Customer journey map example from Microsoft Visio software

4. InDesign: Adobe is well known for its robust suite of design tools. There is a learning curve if you’ve never used Adobe products before, but the capabilities allow you to create beautiful designs.

  • Price: $34 per user per month, or $80 per month for all of Adobe Creative Cloud apps.
Customer journey map example from Adobe InDesign software

5. SuiteCX: A good mix of features and design elements for those who are seeking robust capabilities without a steep learning curve. It also provides a built-in journey mapping analytics platform to track your progress.

  • Price: Based on company size, ranging from $2,000 per month to $20,000 annually.
Customer journey map example from SuiteCX software

Integrate Customer Journey Mapping into Your Strategy

Customer journey mapping is a process that gives your utility the opportunity to create better, more seamless customer experiences that boost engagement and satisfaction. Take advantage of our insights into customer journey map software to build the foundation for a successful journey mapping process.

Remember: No process is perfect. It’s important to keep this in mind and take a step back before jumping into journey mapping. Your goal is to create the best experience you can, considering that as technology and customer preferences shift, the processes will continuously evolve.

As Annette Franz, CEO of CX Journey said, “Journey mapping is a creative process that allows you to understand — and then redesign — the customer experience. The output is not just a ‘pretty picture;’ once the map is developed, it is meant to be a catalyst for change.”

Learn how Questline Digital can help your utility kick off a customer journey mapping strategy to build engagement and customer satisfaction.

When severe weather threatens, your energy utility may need to send power outage notification emails to customers. To level-set customer expectations and ensure long-term customer satisfaction, your outage communications strategy shouldn’t wait until an outage happens.

Optimize your outage strategy with an outage communication template that includes useful information and resources customers will need before, during and after a severe weather event.

Chart showing outage communications workflow and listing email messages a utility should send before during and after an outage

A Surge in Severe Weather

In recent years, extreme weather has become more common across the U.S. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, the U.S. averaged 17.2 severe weather events per year from 2017 to 2021, including flooding, severe storms and wildfires. In comparison, between 1980 and 2017, there was only an average of 7.4 severe weather events per year.

This trend can be seen in the growing popularity of power outage notification emails sent by energy utilities from coast to coast. According to Questline Digital’s Energy Utility Benchmarks Report, customers are highly engaged with outage communications, with a 27.1% open rate for residential customers and a 36.6% open rate for business customers.

Outage messages are consistently among the highest open rates of all utility email categories:

Chart showing performance metrics of outage communications template

Energy utility customers value storm and outage-related messages. As storm intensity continues to grow, an effective and customer-centric outage communications template will become even more vital for energy utilities.

Power Outage Communication Template: Before the Storm

While you can’t stop severe weather, you can help your customers prepare for it. An effective outage communication template should include an introduction to your energy utility’s outage resources, seasonal safety tips and other useful information.

This is the perfect time to educate customers about your energy utility’s outage resources and services, such as where to go to find the latest outage information or how to report an outage.

3 key topics for pre-storm communications

  1. Outage alert opt-ins: Encourage your customers to sign up for outage alerts with a proactive, omni-channel preparation campaign.
  2. Outage resources: Educate customers about your energy utility’s online resources, directing them to your outage center or outage resource page.
  3. Seasonal safety tips: Share summer and winter storm safety tips, as well as how to prepare for a power outage.

With the help of Questline Digital, a Southeast energy utility created a powerful creative campaign as part of their outage communication template. The goal was to inspire customers to receive text alerts and not feel powerless during an outage.

The campaign targeted customers who were not already signed up for text alerts with messaging focused on the benefits of real-time notifications like utility power restored alerts.

Example of outage communications email to improve utility customer satisfaction

Power Outage Communication Template: During the Storm

When an outage happens, urgency and transparency are key. It’s important to share updates as quickly as possible with customers across multiple channels, including power outage notification emails, text alerts and social media.

During an outage, customers appreciate acknowledgement of the situation from their energy utility, along with ongoing updates to keep them informed. Energy utilities can educate customers on the important steps involved in restoration, from assessing the damage to addressing emergency situations. This gives customers a better understanding of what it takes to restore power.

Build trust with transparent outage updates

Your outage communication template should include the following information during an outage event:

  • Storms are coming: Inform customers that severe weather is expected and could lead to outages. Don’t forget to provide storm and outage safety tips.
  • Outages have impacted the area: Provide as much detail as possible to affected customers in a power outage notification email, including the extent of the outage and number of customers impacted.
  • Power restoration efforts are underway: Communicate regularly on restoration efforts and when customers can expect power to be restored.
  • Reason for the outage: Transparency is key. If the cause is determined, share this additional information with customers.
  • Power has been restored: Thank customers for their patience with a utility power restored alert. Be sure to include contact information in case they are still experiencing issues with their electricity.

Whether storm prep or outage resources, there is no one-size-fits-all for your outage communication template. In this sample outage notification from Con Edison, the energy utility provides customers with an “Outage Recovery Guide” in the midst of an outage:

Sample of outage notification email from energy utility

A sample outage notification from PSEG Long Island is a great example of transparent communications. The email explains the reason for the outage — in this case, a major snowstorm. The energy utility then acknowledges that power restoration may take time due to the dangerous driving and outdoor working conditions.

Sample of outage notification email with restoration information

Power Outage Communication Template: After the Storm

After an outage event, your energy utility should reevaluate your communication strategy to see what is and isn’t working. Keep these questions in mind:

  • What channels are best to communicate outage information?
  • How many power outage notification emails should our energy utility send?
  • When should outage updates be sent?
  • Are we communicating enough information to customers?

Your outage communication template should include a follow-up email a couple days or weeks after an outage. This is a great opportunity to encourage your customers to sign up for outage text alerts, ensuring they are prepared for future outages. With the outage still top of mind, this email creates a compelling motivator for customers to sign up for alerts.

A large IOU in the Northeast sent a thank-you email to customers for their “kindness, patients and resiliency” after a gas supply interruption that presented significant challenges:

Example of power outage notification email

Get Ready for Severe Weather with an Outage Action Plan

Effective outage communications requires much more than a simple power outage notification email. Be proactive with outage communications to ensure customer safety, encourage engagement and increase customer signups for outage-related programs.

The right outage communication template can help your customers find peace of mind when the power goes out — and help your energy utility achieve long-term customer satisfaction.

Provide essential information before, during and after severe weather with an outage communications strategy from Questline Digital.

Don’t sleep on welcome emails. They are one of the most effective forms of marketing automation you can set up. Here are a few reasons why…

  • The average open rate for welcome emails is 60.3%, which makes them 114% more attention-grabbing than standard emails.
  • Compared to regular email marketing, welcome emails make 320% more revenue on average.

When a customer signs up for service, they subconsciously seek acknowledgment. They want you to greet them upon their arrival. Remember the saying, “Great hosts greet their guests” and apply the mentality to your emails.

But alas, no one will open your message unless your subject line inspires them to. Here’s how to craft a compelling welcome email subject line that encourages opens.

3 Rules for Writing Great Welcome Series Subject Lines

Don’t overthink your welcome email subject lines. Straight-forward messages perform best. Follow these basic rules and you’re sure to catch attention.

  1. Use a simple hello, hi or howdy. Make it obvious what your message is all about. Your customers just signed up for utility services and are expecting to receive onboarding information. Make them feel welcomed.
  2. Offer a discount or immediate value. Give customers a specific reason to open your email. Include rebates, incentives or other benefits that customers can take advantage of right away. Make your value apparent.
  3. Suggest next steps. Include instructions, a CTA or action verbs to spell out what you want customers to do with the information you’re sending. Make it so they can’t miss the important stuff (like billing).

Best Performing Welcome Email Subject Lines

Check out the top-performing welcome series subject lines, pulled from Questline Digital’s industry-wide marketing performance data. Each example follows the tips outlined above and successfully compels customers to act.

Subject LineOpen Rate
Explore your billing and payment options94.7%
The power is in your hands94.1%
Welcome to [Utility Name]94.0%
[Utility Name] is here to help you93.3%
Billing and payment options – made easy91.7%
Convenient billing options for your business90.1%
Welcome to the [Utility Name] family!87.9%
Let us help you manage your energy costs85.7%
Account and billing options you need to know85.3%
3 outage resources you need to know about84.2%

What to Include in Your Welcome Series

An effective welcome series includes three to five emails. That’s why you’ll need multiple welcome email subject lines within your onboarding series. Lucky for you, that means you can test which topics and words garner the most attention.

Whichever way you choose to organize your welcome information, common topics include:

  • My Account set up
  • Billing options
  • Available discounts or rebates
  • Outage resources
  • Community involvement
  • Energy efficiency resources

Don’t make it overly complicated! Provide your customers with what they need and make it obvious what you’re offering or asking them to do. Remember, new customers want to hear from you. An effective welcome series should be the start of long-lasting — and highly satisfied — digital relationship with customers.

Learn more about Questline Digital’s proven solutions to build digital engagement with new utility customers.

When it comes to paperless billing, there are many reasons why customers choose to make the switch from paper to electronic bills. According to eMarketer, three in four adults across all generations will switch at least one bill to paperless in the next year. Knowing the right paperless billing benefits to promote — and how to promote them — is essential to creating successful campaigns for your energy utility.

What is paperless billing?

Paperless billing, also known as ebill, is when a customer receives an electronic bill rather than a paper bill in the mail. These paperless bills are typically emailed to customers and available within their online accounts to access and review. Many customers can set up automatic payments through ebilling.

Infographic listing the benefits of paperless billing for utility customers

Benefits of ebilling to customers

Paperless billing is a convenient way for customers to access, pay and store their bills. Furthermore, ebilling allow customers to pay their bills directly online, rather than needing to mail a payment or travel to a customer service center. It also allows customers to have easy access to their billing history without the paper clutter at home.

There are numerous advantages of paperless billing, including:

  • On-the-go convenience
  • Pay anytime, anywhere
  • Saving money on stamps and envelopes
  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • Security

On-the-go convenience

For energy utility customers, convenience is perhaps the number-one reason to enroll in paperless billing. Instead of waiting for a paper bill in the mail, customers can quickly access their bill from their email inbox. Paperless billing fits into customers’ busy 24/7 schedules and helps reduce stress.

Flexible payment options add to the convenience. Ebill customers have access to numerous payment options, including through a bank account, debit card, credit card, autopay, mobile app and even smart home voice activation. When thinking about their bills, consumers say late payments are a top concern. That’s why energy utilities should promote the benefits of email and text payment reminders in their paperless marketing.

Pay anytime, anywhere

The ability to access your bill from any location is a top benefit of paperless billing. According to Questline Digital’s Energy Utility Benchmarks Report, 68% of residential customers engage with program promotions on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet.

A survey of smartphone owners finds 42% pay their monthly bills through a mobile device. In addition, millennials and consumers with a household income between $50,000 and $99,000 are more likely to use mobile bill pay. As this data demonstrates, energy utility customers want the flexibility of viewing and paying their bill on the go.

The COVID-19 pandemic aided in this “pay anytime” value proposition as consumers looked to budget their bills amidst other financial concerns. Instead of emphasizing the on-the-go benefits, highlight the 24/7 convenience of paperless billing. For example, customers can pay their bill in the middle of cooking dinner, doing a home workout or watching Netflix.

Saving money

For business customers in particular, paperless billing has a major impact on operational costs. Compared to residential consumers who receive about 12 bills total each month, small businesses receive about 50 bills on average.

Traditional paper bills require a constant supply of postage and envelopes or time spent logging into numerous sites to make payments. For small and large businesses alike, paperless billing reduces costs and increases productivity. With an overload of paper transactions in everyday business operations, electronic bill statements are one less piece of paper to keep track of each month.  

Reduced carbon footprint

There are numerous environmental reasons to go paperless, the biggest being a reduced carbon footprint. Energy utility customers are increasingly concerned about the environment, particularly younger generations. Research finds 68% of millennials purchased a product with an environmental benefit in the past 12 months.

Paperless billing gives customers an opportunity to help the planet, while also showcasing your energy utility’s efforts to reduce its environmental impact. In fact, 87% of consumers view a company favorably that supports the environment, whether through programs, products or philanthropic efforts.

To reach the eco-conscious consumer, emphasize the sustainable benefits of going paperless, including less paper waste and a reduced carbon footprint. Paper is a major concern, making up 25% of landfill waste, 33% of municipal waste and 50% of business waste. The environmental reasons to go paperless are growing increasingly important to promote.


When it comes to paperless billing benefits, a top priority for many customers is security. How is their information stored? What will it be used for? Will their account be safe? Although digital methods can present their own concerns, the truth is that paper statements are not free of fraud risk. Mail can be intercepted, misplaced or fall into the wrong hands, leaving valuable account information or even payments unprotected.  

Paperless billing, on the other hand, accounts for these concerns by implementing security measures and protocols for customers’ login information. Even if bills or account information is emailed, it will never contain full account information, which gives extra protection if a customer’s email was to be compromised.

It’s important to share how your utility puts security measures in place and the lengths it goes to protect customers’ sensitive data. Customers want transparency, especially when it comes to their personal information.

Fiserv surveyed respondents on the security of payment methods and found that consumers’ confidence in the security of specific digital channels, including financial mobile apps and digital wallets, increased significantly from 2018 to 2019. This highlights a move forward as customers acknowledge the safety of ebilling and grow more comfortable with the technology.

Paperless billing benefits for energy utilities

Paperless billing doesn’t just offer benefits to customers. On the contrary, the effects of ebill are positive for customers and energy utilities alike.

Utilities experience a variety of advantages of paperless billing, including:

  • Decreased call center traffic
  • Environmental impact
  • Reduced postage costs
  • Improved payment speed
  • Boost in customer satisfaction
  • Increased customer engagement

Decreased call center traffic

According to Energy Central, many utilities handle around 1.4 million live calls per customer per year. Typically, these calls are made up of:

  • 30% to 40% payment arrangements
  • 5% to 15% payments
  • 25% to 35% billing

What’s more, statistics show that many of these calls come from the same customers. This means they continue to have the same questions with payment arrangements or billing. With paperless billing, call levels can be dramatically reduced as these customers learn to use self-serve options for their payment and billing needs.

Although call center traffic may never completely diminish, promoting paperless billing benefits to customers in a way that acknowledges the typical help they need — such as how to make a payment or view their bill — will lessen their need to call for help. 

Environmental impact 

Environmental reasons to go paperless don’t solely reside with customers. Many energy utilities have long-term environmental goals they are striving to reach, such as reducing their carbon footprint or increasing energy efficiency usage among customers.

For example, Southern California Edison has a strategy called Pathway 2045 in place where they have specific environmental goals lined up to reach carbon neutrality by 2045, including:

  • 100% of retail sales from carbon-free electricity
  • 26 million EVs purchased and on the road
  • 70% of all buildings using efficient electric space and water heating
  • 50% reduction in natural gas consumption

Many other utilities have similar measurements in place, such as reducing waste within their utility to promote sustainability. Paperless billing is a great program to include in these strategies. One Texas utility calculated that if their entire subscriber base went paperless, they could, on an annual basis:

  • Prevent 26,200 trees from being cut down
  • Avoid the equivalent of 1,700 households’ monthly energy use
  • Save 574,300 swimming pools full of water
  • Cut 1.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions from being released into the atmosphere.

With 1 million of their customers switching to paperless billing, Southern Company Gas calculated the environmental impact as:

  • 375 fewer tons of paper used
  • 8,980 fewer trees cut down
  • 6.7 million fewer pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent in the atmosphere

Reduced operational costs

In addition to reduced paper waste, another paperless billing benefit is simply a decrease in costs for your energy utility. When your utility no longer has to mail paper bills, it also no longer has to buy paper, envelopes, or most importantly, stamps. This is especially important to consider as postage prices continue to rise.

In August, the price of a first-class Forever Stamp went from 55 cents to 58 cents. Although at first glance it appears the increases are minimal, it quickly adds up when the number of customers requiring paper bills each month is taken into consideration.

Plus, paperless billing saves money from any bills lost in the mail or resending bills to customers that have moved. Ebilling alleviates these cost concerns and allows your utility to put that money toward other customer-centric programs.  

Improved payment speed 

Another paperless billing benefit for energy utilities is the improved payment speed and increase in bills paid. The conventional methods of processing paper-based payments are time-consuming, from the time it takes a customer to receive their bill until the payment is received by the utility.

Regardless of industry, studies have found that customers often pay bills later when sent by mail compared to bills sent electronically, making paperless the preferred method of billing in the financial suite of most organizations.

Overall, paperless billing drastically speeds up the revenue cycle. Since customers have access to their bills anytime, anywhere, they can make payments instantly from their smartphone or laptop and are immediately notified when bills are available to view.

Boost in customer satisfaction

Paperless billing means customers have the convenience of viewing their bills and managing their accounts anywhere, anytime. According to a Fiserv household survey, 75% of customers say paperless billing helps them better manage their finances. 

Ebilling also leads to increased awareness of all digital messaging, allowing your utility to get closer to a seamless customer experience. In addition, the option to go paperless tends to improve customer satisfaction. According to Fiserv’s Eighth Annual Consumer Billing Household Survey, an impressive 68% of paperless consumers acknowledge increased satisfaction with their biller when they receive electronic statements.

Specifically, Southern Company Gas found that customers who receive ebills are 21% more satisfied than those who receive paper bills, according to company-conducted surveys. Utilities that promote paperless billing benefits and encourage ebilling adoption can see positive increases in customer satisfaction and J.D. Power ratings as well.

Increased customer engagement

A final paperless billing benefit is an outcome that all utilities hope for: increased customer engagement. While it’s already been noted that paperless billing improves customer satisfaction, ebilling also provides opportunities to increase engagement across multiple channels.

Since most utilities include ebilling within customers’ My Account portals, this is a great way to provide education or encourage engagement with other programs and services your utility offers. For example, when highlighting a customer’s energy use within a bill, link to your energy efficiency tips and resources page.

Do your utility’s customers choose paperless billing? Learn how Questline Digital’s proven solution can help.