For the majority of consumers in the UK, bills aren’t getting any clearer or easier to understand, which is confusing customers and wasting an important customer touch point, according to new research from Echo Managed Services.
This is despite up to a third of people who state that clarity is the number one billing improvement businesses need to work on, and 24 per cent say they have struggled with bill complexity in the past.
Based on a nationally-representative sample of 1,000 UK adults, the research finds that as many as 70 per cent of consumers feel bills have stayed the same or actually become harder to understand, while only three in ten feel they are getting simpler.
Struggling with billing jargon, consumers cite the most confusing terminology to be ‘tariff information label’, as 78 per cent of those surveyed state they didn’t understand what it meant. Other terms topping the list were ‘chargeable value’ (72 per cent), and ‘tariff comparison rate’ (72 per cent).
By not simplifying bills or clarifying terminology, businesses are failing to take full advantage of a valuable customer touch point – as the research unveils that up to a quarter of people say a bill had helped them save money, while a further one in five say a bill had provided useful information about a new product or service.
Furthermore, previous research finds that unclear bills can lead to debt issues – with over a third (36 per cent) of late or non-payments occurring as a result of billing issues such as inaccurate bills, bills customers couldn’t understand and bill shock.
Nigel Baker, managing director at Echo Managed Services, thinks that, while it is disappointing that the majority of consumers feel that they are not seeing any improvement in the clarity of their bills, these findings should also be viewed as an opportunity for businesses.
Baker adds, ‘Our research found that those companies willing to understand and empathise with customers by simplifying bills, providing greater transparency, ensuring the lines of communication with customers remain open, and adding value, will be able to bolster loyalty and improve the company-customer relationship.
‘Businesses need to act and adapt in order to improve the billing experiences of their customers, whilst of course keeping in mind that every customer is an individual, so will have different needs, preferences, and extents to which they’d prefer their bill simplified.’
Companies should not only look to provide more bill clarity, but also team this with useful online resources and a knowledgable customer contact team to ensure customers are fully supported to a degree which suits them.
He concludes, ‘Through better and more transparent communication, companies will lessen the likelihood of both bill shock and protest debt, enhance the overall billing experience, and ultimately win the favour of their customers.’