Today’s customers feel strongly about their payment preferences. With a multitude of options available to them, from autopay to Apple Pay, consumers expect the same choices from their energy provider. That’s why it behooves energy utilities to understand the importance of payment preferences and give customers what they want.

In Questline Digital’s webinar, “Utility Customer Payment and Self-Serve Opportunities,” Qwana Falkenberg, Customer Services Supervisor at Georgia Power, and Joshua Platt, Account Director at Questline Digital, discuss why customer payment options are vital for improving customer satisfaction.

“There are numerous ways to define customer payment preferences,” Platt says. “So why do we care about payment options and devote an hour-long webinar to the topic? We care about payment options because your customers care about payment options.”

Evolution of Utility Customer Payment Options

Customer payment preferences have evolved over the last few years just as the technology for making payments has changed. According to E Source, in 2018 customers’ top payment options were automatic payment, online payment through a utility’s website and check. In comparison, in 2022, customers’ top payment preferences were online through the utility’s website/portal or paying via mobile (text or app).

According to Falkenberg, 57% of U.S. consumers made their payment through an electronic method, while only 25% used traditional payment methods, like check, money order or cash. During the coronavirus pandemic, the number of consumers using mobile wallets for payments increased from 900 million to 1.48 billion worldwide.

“This speaks volumes on what customers are looking for when it comes to making their payment,” Falkenberg says. “The payment preference evolution is definitely on the rise.”

As expected, different generations prefer different payment methods. For example, Axerve finds that Baby Boomers prefer paying by cash, checks and debit cards, while Millennials and Gen Z prefer digital methods like Venmo and Apple Pay. With every younger generation, there is a greater preference for digital payments.

  • Baby Boomers (1940s to 1960s): cash, check, ATM cards
  • Generation X (1960s to 1980s): credit and debit cards, PayPal
  • Millennials (1980s to 1990s): credit cards, prepaid cards, PayPal, Venmo
  • Generation Z (1990s to 2010s): prepaid cards, digital wallets (like Apple Pay)

Income also has a significant impact on payment preferences. The most common payment method for all incomes is autopay or through a utility’s website/portal. As income increases, the use of autopay increases. According to E Source, about 40% of customers who make over $75,000 a year pay their bill through autopay. In comparison, only 25% of customers who make under $25,000 a year utilize this method.

Lower-income customers are more likely to pay their bills via walk-in centers, phone or mail. However, with the price of postage continuing to rise, this may be changing. Conversely, higher-income customers are more likely to pay their bills through autopay and online.

“Higher-income customers typically have more money available to make ‘set it and forget it’ payments,” Platt explains. “They also may have more reliable technology access and are generally more tech-savvy.”

Focus on the Customer Experience

In addition to offering a variety of payment options, it’s important to create a quality digital customer experience. In fact, 58% of consumers want the ability to view their digital bills in multiple places. Unifying payment options under a common, easy-to-use interface has many benefits for energy utilities, including:

  • Minimizing steps to complete payment
  • Easing discovery of payment options
  • Facilitating autopay adoption
  • Increasing paperless billing enrollment
  • Improving payment reliability

This is where the importance of education comes into play. Platt shared the example of SoCalGas, which took advantage of video to help customers understand their bill and explain how to enroll in the utility’s My Account and online bill pay. Through video and other educational resources, utilities can play “show and tell” to help customers take advantage of self-serve options.

This seamless experience includes interactions with a utility’s customer service representatives. Microsoft’s Global State of Customer Service Report shows that 35% of consumers rank an agent’s lack of knowledge as a poor customer experience. Additionally, the majority of customers agree that their time being valued is imperative to a good customer experience.

“Each and every one of us are customers,” Falkenberg says. “As we engage with agents with the companies we do business with, we want to know we are speaking with someone who is knowledgeable and can assist as well as educate us on our options. As customers, we are all busy people and time is of the essence.”

For the initial customer contact to be successful, understanding their request is imperative. If this part goes wrong, it erodes trust and negatively impacts the customer experience. According to Falkenberg, Georgia Power ensures every interaction includes education to ensure customers enroll in options that fit their unique needs.

Flow chart showing call flow for utility customer payment requests

“The initial customer contact is critical — it can either serve as a brand strengthener or a brand diminisher,” Falkenberg says. “The key is anticipating customers’ needs and delivering an exceptional customer experience.”

Bill Payment Options Abound for Utility Customers

For Georgia Power, payment options continue to grow based on customer feedback and preferences. Through their Online Customer Care options, the energy utility offers mobile app, autopay and online payments. For customers who prefer making a payment in person, the utility created partnerships with various vendors like Fidelity Express, PayGo, Walmart and Kroger.

Online Customer Care

  • Web                                                                           
  • Autopay or One Time (ACH)
  • Debit Card (BillMatrix)


  • Debit/Credit/BillMatrix IVR

Authorized Payment Location (APL)

  • Fidelity Express, PayGo Checkout, Western Union, U.S. Payments and Fiserv CheckFree
  • Cash
  • Debit Card (Walmart & Kroger only)


  • Checks
  • Money Order

Based on recommendations from a J.D. Power survey, Georgia Power eliminated payment fees in August 2020. The utility found that satisfaction was low among customers who had to pay an additional fee along with their bill. As a result, eliminating the fee had a positive impact on customer satisfaction.

Going forward, Georgia Power continues to grow its payment options and will soon be moving into the digital wallet space. Digital wallet options include:

  • PayPal
  • Venmo
  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay
  • Amazon Pay

“Customers are telling us what they want,” Falkenberg says. “We are actively listening and anticipating their needs to further strengthen the relationship and deliver on our promise of exceptional customer experience.”

Creative e-Bill Promotions Boost Enrollment

For energy utilities, a continued challenge is increasing enrollment in paperless billing. According to Platt, 66% of customers receive bills by mail, but only 48% preferred to be mailed this way.

“It’s important to highlight benefits like convenience and ease of use — how paperless billing makes their life easier,” Platt says. “Remember, customers don’t care that your energy utility saves an average of $6 on printing and postage when they enroll in paperless billing unless you tell them why it matters.”

Ways to encourage e-bill enrollment:

  1. Showcase how e-bill fits into customers’ daily lives
  2. Consider an incentive or sweepstakes to capture attention
  3. Try easy and convenient enrollment options

Lincoln Electric shares on their website how they reinvest savings realized from paperless billing by planting trees in the utility’s service territory. The utility also installs solar-powered charging stations for mobile devices and electric wheelchairs in local parks. This message resonates with customers, demonstrating how paperless billing has a direct impact on their community.

Platt recommends incentivizing customers to go paperless, such as a bill credit or sweepstakes. For example, an investor-owned utility in the Southeast promoted paperless billing with a $5 gift card in exchange for enrolling in the program. Questline Digital research shows that customers offered a guaranteed incentive are more likely to respond than those offered a sweepstakes prize.

Energy Customers Want Payment Choices

In today’s world of personalization and infinite choices, payment options have a huge impact on customer satisfaction. From mobile app to mobile wallet payments, listening to what your customers want is key. When it comes to payment preferences, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. That’s why your energy utility needs a wide variety of payment options to meet the needs of all customers.

Questline Digital can help your energy utility boost customer satisfaction with a payment option communication strategy.

In Questline Digital’s Plugged In webinar, “How to Market Paperless Billing to Customers,” Senior Copywriter Breanne George and Creative Director Joe Pifher shared their insights and advice for creating successful promotions that encourage customers to switch to paperless billing.

In order to reach your program goals, your energy utility needs to understand your customers and their motivations. In doing so, you will be able to segment and promote your paperless billing program with effective messaging.

Use the right message to make them switch

In order to know what type of paperless billing campaign is right for your energy utility, you must first understand your customers. The right paperless message is personalized to your target audience.

Ask yourself this: How will paperless billing make your customers’ lives easier? To help answer this question, get to know your customers:

  • What are their needs, wants and interests?
  • What are their challenges or barriers to adoption?
  • What do their day-to-day lives look like?
  • What are their values and motivations?

George suggested a few ways to encourage the switch to paperless billing, based on successful campaigns she has worked on for energy utilities across the nation.

  • Showcase how paperless billing fits into your customers’ daily lives. This could be as simple as how your customers get to work. For example, if customers often commute on a train or subway, easy access on-the-go would be an important benefit to showcase in your paperless campaign.
  • Try easy and convenient enrollment options. Customers like simplicity – make signing up for paperless as easy as one-click enrollment and your conversion rates can increase dramatically.

Customer motivations drive eBill enrollment

Often customers who don’t switch to paperless billing have one of three reasons for not doing so. They may fear that…

  • Enrollment will take too long, and they don’t have the time
  • Going paperless will mean they won’t have statements for their records
  • They’ll be more likely to forget a payment if they switch to digital

To combat these concerns, your energy utility should relay the top paperless benefits for customers:

  • Simple – easy to manage and pay from anywhere
  • Convenient – saves time and fits the customers’ on-the-go lifestyle
  • Affordable – no need to buy stamps or worry about late fees
  • Eco-friendly – use less paper and reduce environmental footprint
  • Reliable – never forget or lose track of a bill again
  • Secure – safely manage statements and payments online

Business and residential customers have very different needs, so segmenting these audiences is encouraged. When it comes to paperless billing, business customers value:

  • Easy access to past bills and usage history
  • 24/7 bill availability when they are out and about
  • Less paper clutter in their office

Encourage multiple generations to switch to paperless billing

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the digital age of TikTok and Twitter, but when it comes to Millennials and Gen-Zers, George says email is still a viable option for these younger generations.

In fact, she shared that nearly 75% of millennials and 58% of Gen-Zers check their emails multiple times a day. However, they have a 12- and 8-second attention span, respectively, so it’s important to connect with these customers through storytelling rather than with overly promotional copy.

When it comes to older generations, Questline Digital often sees the biggest concerns related to payment security or having records on hand. George suggests “speaking to their concerns first.” Reinforce the safety of paperless billing and how it is often more secure than dropping a check in the mail. It’s also important to show them how to retrieve records of their past bills with a simple click.

Design best practices to boost campaign performance

The next step following great copy is great design. Pifher, Questline Digital’s Creative Director, shared the email best practices to consider for your creative campaign. These tips include having a message hierarchy, keeping a clear and active CTA and ensuring the email is mobile-friendly.

It’s also imperative for your energy utility to use the right imagery. You want the image to be relatable to customers, eye-catching and relevant. Pifher stressed the importance of looking at your specific audience demographics to determine the visual elements of your campaign:

  • People – age, gender, race, socioeconomic status
  • Region-specific – weather, transportation, landscape
  • Customer interests – sports, local spots, the environment, values and motivations

Pifher suggests utilities design around the inverted triangle strategy: grabbing a customers’ attention at the top, building anticipation in the headline and first few sentences and then taking them to the call-to-action. There should be plenty of white space throughout the design. Ensure the email is easy for customers to scan with the use of bullets or icons.

Incentives add value to eBill sign-ups

Pifher recommends testing incentives in your campaigns to encourage more people to switch to paperless billing. Customers often enjoy being rewarded, even if the incentive is small in value.

Questline Digital’s performance metrics show smaller, immediate rewards perform better than enter-to-win sweepstakes. However, it’s important to test large and small incentives with your target audience.

Pifher also says that by developing not just a single email, but also web banner ads, social posts, direct mail inserts and more, your energy utility is able to reach customers no matter which channel they prefer to use.

The impact of coronavirus on paperless promotions

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every aspect of people’s lives, including how they get mail or pay bills. Before the pandemic, a large push for paperless billing was the “on-the-go, anytime, anywhere” messaging. Now, Pifher says customers are looking for more convenient ways to pay bills and messaging has turned to “on the couch or in bed, anytime, anywhere” messaging.

The importance of “no touch” payments and a focus on decluttering paper bills became more important benefits of paperless billing for customers. In addition, the pandemic has simply shown the importance of adaptation — whether due to major pandemics or simply customer interests changing. The ability to shift focus at a moment’s notice is an important skill to have when developing campaigns. 

Successful campaigns require more than a simple email

As these insights show, there are many aspects to a successful paperless billing campaign. Between knowing your customers, segmenting messages based on their needs, motivating customers through diligent copy and creative design, connecting through an omnichannel approach and adapting for current environments, there is more involved to reach conversion goals than a simple email.

Equipped with these copy and design best practices, revisit your paperless billing campaign strategy to achieve your energy utility’s conversion goals.

Help more customers switch to paperless billing with an eBill marketing campaign from Questline Digital.

More than 81% of Americans own a smartphone, yet many consumers still receive their utility bill through snail mail. For energy utility marketers, encouraging customers to go paperless is no easy task. Customers are accustomed to receiving paper bills — and old habits can be hard to break.

Useful Tips for Encouraging Customers to Go Paperless

According to a Utilities & Telecom Consumer Payments Insight Report, while 66% of customers receive bills by mail, only 48% prefer to receive them this way. This report also finds that 45% of customers prefer to pay via an online/digital payment service. In other words, customers might be used to paying their bills with checks and stamps, but they are open to more convenient options.

The first step to encouraging customers to go paperless is acknowledging the barriers that hold them back. Once you accomplish this, then your energy utility can find the e-Bill benefits that would provide a positive impact on their daily lives. Through our work with energy utility companies across the country, we have found these five effective strategies for increasing e-Bill conversions.

1. Debunk paperless billing security concerns

For some customers, particularly older generations, a major concern about paperless billing is payment security. They are worried that their personal information could fall victim to scammers online. To encourage customers to go paperless, reinforce the safety of paperless billing and how it is often more secure than dropping a check in the mail.

The reality is paper statements are not free of fraud risk. Mail can be delivered to the incorrect address or intercepted into the wrong hands. Be sure to highlight the steps your energy utility takes to ensure customers’ personal information is protected.

2. Highlight payment reminders and other useful features

For many customers, paper bills are helpful reminders to ensure they pay their bill on time. Without a paper bill showing up in the mail each month, customers fear missing a payment. Encourage customers to go paperless by highlighting the convenience of email and text reminders.

Unlike paper statements, customers don’t have to be at home to receive them. In fact, they can be on a beach vacation and receive a text reminder that their bill is due. With alerts sent straight to a customer’s smartphone, paperless billing actually provides more effective reminders than old-fashioned paper bills.

Example of email encouraging customers to go paperless with payment reminder

It behooves energy utilities to promote the other useful features, including easy access to current and past bills in My Account. Nowadays, everyone is looking for ways to reduce paper clutter and simplify their lives. Your customers will appreciate this convenient option for keeping track of their bills. Instead of storing paper bills in a filing cabinet or desk drawer, electronic statements are available in My Account for safe recordkeeping. You can encourage customers to go paperless by promoting these useful, yet lesser known, benefits of ebill.

Example of email encouraging customers to go paperless by saving time

3. Showcase the convenience of ebilling

With our on-the-go schedules, everyone is looking for less stress and more convenience. One of the most popular benefits of paperless billing is the flexibility of “anytime, anywhere” online bill access.

Instead of waiting for a paper bill in the mail, customers can view their bill while waiting in line at a coffee shop or taking their dog for a walk. Emphasize the convenience factor in your email campaigns to encourage customers to go paperless, including the ability to view and pay their bill from any location.

Example of email encouraging customers to go paperless with convenience

4. Make enrollment easy and quick

One of the biggest barriers to paperless billing adoption is a complicated enrollment process. Everyone is strapped for time in our 24/7 world — that’s why your utility needs to make ebill enrollment as streamlined as possible.

Even if customers are finally ready to make the switch, a long and complicated enrollment process can stop them in their tracks. To encourage customers to go paperless, we recommend creating a one-click enrollment on your website or mobile app. Also, be sure to highlight the ease of enrollment in your promotional campaigns. For example, use language such as “enroll in 30 seconds” or “you’re only one click away from e-Bill convenience.”

Example of email encouraging customers to go paperless with easy enrollment

5. Educate customers about the environmental impacts of ebilling

Environmental concerns are top of mind for residential and business customers alike. Your ebill promotions should remind customers that going paperless not only has benefits for them, but for the planet as well.

Paperless billing plays an important role in reducing carbon emissions. In fact, turning a tree into paper (17 reams to be exact) releases around 110 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere. Additionally, paper makes up around 23% of landfill waste. By showcasing the positive impact of ebill on the environment, your utility can go a long way to encourage customers to go paperless.

Keep in mind, not all customers are motivated by the environmental impact of ebill. In email campaigns, eco-friendly messaging should be subtle and mentioned along with other benefits like convenience or easy enrollment.

Example of email encouraging customers to go paperless with environmental message

Break Barriers and Increase Conversions

While it can be a challenge to encourage customers to go paperless, it’s not an impossible task. With the right messaging, your energy utility can help customers replace old habits with new ones.

Get more of your energy utility customers to sign up for paperless billing with a digital engagement strategy from Questline Digital.

Paperless billing incentives are a tactical way to increase signups to your energy utility’s eBill or paperless billing program. In addition to engaging customers, incentives drive higher click-through rates (CTR) and conversions for eBill campaigns. 

What are paperless billing incentives?

Paperless billing incentives can vary, ranging from high-value prizes like tickets to a sports game or smaller giveaways for every customer who signs up for eBilling (for example, LED light bulbs and gift cards).

Example of Paperless Billing Incentives ad for sweepstakes

Questline Digital data shows that paperless billing promotional emails with incentives have a 17% higher open rate and 28% higher CTR than messages without incentives. Customers enjoy having the opportunity to earn prizes, especially after learning about the many benefits of paperless billing.

Still, even after identifying the right incentive, it can be daunting to build a campaign strategy that maximizes conversions.

Success starts with a subject line

An incentive-focused paperless billing email begins with an effective subject line that clearly explains the offer. If the giveaway is immediate, let your audience know by using language like “Claim your reward now.”

Follow these subject line best practices for paperless billing incentives:

  • Subject lines that clearly state the incentive reach 13% more of their intended audience compared to subject lines that only imply an offer.
  • Subject lines with “We’ll Pay Your Bill” in the title drive high open rates, but fewer click-throughs.
  • Conversely, subject lines with the word “free” typically do not perform well. This word is often associated with spam.

High-ticket prizes vs. low-cost giveaways

It’s best to test high-ticket and low-cost paperless billing incentives to see what resonates most with your utility’s customers. Consider having a mix of promotions included in your campaign strategy to connect with different customers and vary the giveaways.

Keep in mind that bigger paperless billing incentives do not necessarily mean bigger engagement. While large-dollar-amount prizes drive customer interest in opening promotional emails, that enthusiasm can sometimes be diminished through the contest-entry process.

The “cost” for entering into the drawing is an immediate conversion into paperless billing; this can create an unequal transaction where your customers are asked to give up paper bills for a small chance to win a reward.

Example of Paperless Billing Incentives with Gift Card Contest

In comparison, we’ve found small incentives are often more effective because they have an immediate, guaranteed payoff. According to Questline Digital data, compared to a contest to win one big prize, small incentives for every customer have a 13% higher open rate and 82% higher CTR.

Based on an analysis of the paperless billing incentives campaigns deployed by Questline Digital, we have found:

  • Awarding a $5 gift card to all signups converts better than enter-to-win contests of $1,000 or more.
  • Products like LED light bulbs rank second among the best drivers of click-throughs.
  • Thermostats and smart home device giveaways are also top performers.
Example of Paperless Billing Incentives with LED giveaway

Make incentives easy to earn

Making the process easy to sign up for paperless billing is key to increasing conversions. In fact, one-click opt-ins into paperless billing programs increase conversion rates by 22%.

It should be equally easy to earn paperless billing incentives. Customers will appreciate a simple, one-click process to enroll in paperless billing, but the immediate question following signup is, “When will I get my prize?”

Make sure your utility is prepared to answer this question in detail. Share next steps with customers, including if you need to receive their mailing address for prize delivery, if they need to print a coupon or any other steps needed to redeem their incentive.

Make this process just as simple as enrolling and your customers will wonder why they didn’t make the switch sooner.

Example of Paperless Billing Incentives sweepstakes entry message
Example of Paperless Billing Incentives thank you message

The power of paperless billing incentives

Everyone likes free things. By offering paperless billing incentives to encourage conversions, customers are more likely to embrace the benefits of eBills.

Paperless billing incentive campaigns are also a great way to encourage re-enrollment from customers who may have unenrolled from past eBill programs. Maybe they unenrolled by accident or didn’t quite understand the benefits. Either way, an incentive-based campaign can be a perfect re-introduction.

Example of Paperless Billing Incentives with Amazon Gift Card

Incentives provide a massive return on investment for energy utilities, saving operational costs every month for every paperless customer. That’s what we like to call a win-win.

Drive more paperless billing conversions with a digital engagement strategy from Questline Digital.

The benefits of choosing paperless billing may be obvious to you. But your customers may not understand these benefits, or they may not be properly incentivized to give up paper bills and make the switch. Follow these e billing best practices to improve your energy utility’s e bill marketing and boost conversion rates.

Infographic listing best practices for energy utility paperless billing promotions

E billing best practice #1: Focus on personal benefits for customers

Your messaging should help customers understand the benefits of paperless billing and overcome potential barriers that might stand in the way of adoption. The most successful messages speak directly to the customer, use personal language (“you”) and address the ways that paperless billing makes everyday life easier. Focus on solving problems, not just offering a new payment option.

In Questline Digital’s experience creating paperless conversion campaigns for energy utilities, the benefits that most appeal to customers are: 

  • Simple; easy to manage and pay from anywhere
  • Affordable; no need to buy stamps or worry about late fees
  • Convenient; saves time and fits into your on-the-go lifestyle
  • Eco-friendly; reduce your environmental footprint by using less paper
  • Reliable; never forget or lose track of a bill again
  • Secure; safely manage statements and payments online

E billing best practice #2: Drive opens with effective subject lines

The best email subject lines are upbeat, active and strike a personal tone while encouraging the customer to open the message. Short subject lines are best for capturing the attention of residential customers. Questline Digital data shows that subject lines with 40 to 50 characters perform best.

According to metrics from the many paperless billing campaigns Questline Digital has deployed for energy utilities, the top-performing subject line was, “You’ve got eBill and a $10 gift card.” This campaign achieved a 77% open rate, compared to 21% for the average campaign.

E billing best practice #3: Attract attention with compelling incentives

Incentives pay off in paperless billing campaigns, enticing customers with the promise of a contest prize or financial benefit. Not only do incentives boost email open rates, but incentives also increase conversions.

The most successful incentives are small giveaways awarded to everyone who signs up for paperless billing (including LED lightbulbs and $5 gift cards). Contest entries that award a single large prize (such as $1,000 cash or major league sports tickets) have been less successful.

Offering an incentive pays off with higher conversion rates (and by reaching participation goals more quickly). Paperless billing campaigns that award an incentive achieve a 34% conversion rate on average. In comparison, campaigns with no incentive achieve a 23% conversion rate on average.

Example of e-billing best practice incentive campaign

E billing best practice #4: Use segmentation

The same message or incentive is unlikely to work with all customers. Instead, your utility should segment customers into groups and build campaigns that speak to the specific concerns of each audience.

McKinsey’s Next in Personalization 2021 Report shares that, “71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions. And 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.” Furthermore, McKinsey shares that companies that excel at personalization generate 40% more revenue from those activities than those who don’t.

As this data showcases, personalization is a must-do e billing best practice. Here are several ways you can segment your paperless promotion emails:

  • People who pay online but still get paper statements
  • Follow up with those who didn’t complete e bill signup
  • Eco-friendly message to EV customers
  • Convenience message to busy professionals and parents
  • Security message to older audiences or customers with smart security systems
  • Decluttering and convenience message to small business owners

E billing best practice #5: Don’t forget about design

You want the imagery in your e bill promotions to be relatable to customers, eye-catching and relevant. Consider your specific audience demographics and build in visual elements that help customers see themselves in your campaigns.

  • People – age, gender, race, socioeconomic status
  • Region-specific – weather, transportation, landscape, city landmarks
  • Customer interests – sports, culture, the environment, value and motivations

For example, Questline Digital worked with the Pittsburgh electric utility Duquesne Light to alter imagery to represent Steelers and Penguins sports team colors. This small alteration made the email campaign more relatable to the group of recipients.

How you display these images also matters. Consider designing around the inverted triangle strategy, grabbing a customers’ attention at the top, building anticipation in the headline and first few sentences and then taking them to the call-to-action.

To ensure the email is easy for customers to read, there should be plenty of white space throughout the design, clear line breaks and adequate use of bullets or icons.

Example of e-billing best practice email design

E billing best practice #6: Incorporate with onboarding 

It can be difficult to encourage customers to switch their behaviors, even when there are clear benefits or reasons to do so. Humans are creatures of habit and change isn’t easy.

Get customers enrolled in e billing on day one. Share electronic payment options at the start of service so you don’t have to convince customers to change later. Include prompts in onboarding materials and welcome emails, or run e billing campaigns at the beginning of the customer lifecycle.

E billing best practice #7: Try an opt-out campaign

Rather than asking customers to sign up, automatically enroll them in e bill and give them an opportunity to opt-out. If you take this approach, ensure you have adequate communication that keeps customers informed.

For example, Questline Digital ran an opt-out campaign with a Southeast utility. We targeted customers who received both a paper and e bill, but who had made at least one electronic payment in the past. This audience segment was automatically enrolled in the program but given the chance to opt-out and continue receiving paper bills. The opt-out campaign received positive customer feedback, with 90% of customers remaining enrolled. 

E billing best practice #8: Make enrollment simple

Customers abandon complicated digital processes. In fact, a study by Splitit showed that 87% of online shoppers abandon their carts during the checkout if the process is too long or complicated. Signing up for paperless billing is no different – customers want frictionless digital experiences.

Remove as many steps as possible for your customers. One effective way to do this is by auto filling forms with dynamic coding.

Questline Digital worked with PSE&G to set up one-click enrollment, making the sign-up process as easy as possible. Customers who clicked on the call-to-action within an email campaign were automatically taken to a landing page to confirm their information in a prepopulated form and enroll in paperless billing. The ease of one-click signup encouraged customers to make the switch, enrolling 21,945 customers.

E billing best practice #9: Use a multichannel approach 

Unfortunately, you can’t rely on email to convert all your customers. To get the best possible results, your utility will need to employ a multichannel approach and spread out the heavy lifting.

Complement your email campaigns with channels like direct mail, social media, outdoor signage and online advertisements. Your customers may need to see your message multiple times before they act. If you can get in front of customers via multiple mediums, they’re more likely to convert.

E billing best practice #10: Launch deeper digital customer relationships

Paperless billing conversions create an opportunity for long-term engagement by cementing the customer’s digital relationship with their energy provider. Once converted, paperless billing subscribers are more engaged with email communications and less likely to unsubscribe compared to customers who receive paper bills.

Before converting to paperless, energy utility customers have an average email open rate of 25%, according to Questline Digital performance metrics. After converting, paperless billing customers have an average open rate of 33%.

This higher engagement rate is an opportunity to connect with customers beyond their monthly e bill — sharing program promotions, energy efficiency advice and other educational content. By following these e billing best practices and boosting conversion rates, you can reduce operational costs and build long-lasting relationships between your energy utility and its customers.

Convert more customers to paperless billing

Converting customers to e bill doesn’t have to be difficult. Employ these e billing best practices and realize the many benefits of going paperless.

Learn how Questline Digital’s paperless billing solution and help your energy utility reach your e bill conversion goals.