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.

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.

A bill is just a bill — until the day it stops arriving at your customer’s doorstep and starts showing up in her inbox. When a bill becomes paperless, it’s time to celebrate — you’re one step closer to meeting your conversion and customer satisfaction goals. Not to mention, when customers go paperless, your operational costs go down and digital interactions go up.

Paperless billing means customers have the convenience of viewing their bills and managing their accounts anywhere at any time. According to a Fiserv household survey, 75% of customers say paperless billing helps them better manage their finances. It also means more convenience and less paper cluttering up their home, a major advantage for many customers.

For the energy utility, paperless billing means increased awareness of all digital messaging, allowing you to get closer to a seamless digital experience at every touchpoint. In addition, the option to go paperless tends to improve customer satisfaction. An impressive 46% of paperless billing customers say digital billing services increased their satisfaction with their biller.

Save trees, speed up payments

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.

One report noted more than 65% of customers who defaulted into a paperless bill chose to keep their bill paperless over the long term, suggesting a direct relationship between digital payment and paperless preference.

Generational differences in bill pay suggest a continued move towards paperless as well. Survey data shows that 56% of all bills are paid online via a biller, bank or third party. The same study found 78% of online bills paid by millennials are paid through billers’ websites, while only 39% of seniors pay online. This shift to digital is only becoming more apparent as generations of digital natives become bill recipients.

Environmental concerns also propel businesses to promote their paperless options more aggressively. Paper billing has an obvious ongoing and negative impact on the environment. One small 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.

While paperless is a value-add for both utilities and customers, campaigns around paperless billing are still relatively new and success rates vary depending on a variety of factors, including frequency, consistency, incentives, multi-channel support and the level of experience of those deploying them. Over the past decade, Questline Digital has developed and successfully deployed a variety of different campaigns to great results.

Paperless campaign best practices

What best practices have we learned as we’ve developed our paperless communications program? What’s the best way to get customers to opt-in to paperless communications? Converting longstanding paper bill recipients into digital ones can seem daunting. Here are few things to prioritize as you consider a paperless campaign strategy for your energy utility.

  • Make it easy for customers. One extremely effective delivery option is a paperless billing series that includes easy enroll landing pages. Easy enroll pages are typically pre-populated with customer information, so it’s quick and simple for customers to confirm and sign up. The easier you make the sign-up process, with fewer clicks, the lower the abandonment rate for those well-meaning but distracted customers, and the higher the conversions.
  • Provide incentives. Sometimes, customers need a little encouragement to take an extra minute and consider the value of paperless enrollment. Incentives are great a way to drive interest and inspire action. When gift cards or sweepstakes are offered we’ve found on average there is a 28% higher click-to-open rate over benchmark rates.
  • Aim for omnichannel. One-on-one outreach is a strong start, but a seamless campaign across multiple customer touchpoints raises the rate of paperless conversions. You can incorporate paperless messaging into bill inserts, newsletters, digital ad placements, social media posts and even into the in-person customer experience to maximize the impact of the campaign.

Considering a paperless billing campaign? Learn how Questline Digital’s solution connects with customers to maximize conversions.