There was a time, not so long ago, when the best and most effective way of sending a bill to a customer was to deliver it to them by post. In a world where mobile devices are almost ubiquitous and in constant use, that’s no longer the case.
Done effectively, mobile billing is not only cheaper and more convenient than traditional billing methods, it also mitigates many of the risks associated with those methods. Provided you have the correct details for your customers, your bills are far more likely to reach them than if you had to rely on the postal system.
And for any company that still has a large base receiving posted bills, the return on investment achieved from converting to digital bills is significantly faster than most IT projects, and can provide substantial ongoing savings.
But what does effective mobile billing entail? For a start, any mobile billing initiative should fit within the golden triangle of security, ease of use, and value.
When it comes to mobile billing, it’s vital that you ensure that the information you send out is secure, even if the device it ultimately arrives on is not.
Because of the proliferation of mobile users globally, security threats directed at mobiles specifically are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Hackers are targeting mobile payment systems as well as mobile browsers themselves.
A report from mobile security company Zimperium found that there were more mobile security breaches in the first half of 2017 than in the whole of 2016.
Companies that send confidential documents to mobile devices therefore need to take as many steps as necessary to protect the customer’s data. In the UK, the Data Protection Act already makes this a legal necessity and will only be bolstered by changes to the law, designed to bring the UK in line with the EU’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
It’s also important to remember that the biller has no control over the device that the information will be received on. So, to be safe, it’s better that the biller assumes the device is unsecured and takes the necessary steps to encrypt or encode access to the files.
To really protect the personal data inside a document, it should encrypted AND password protected with a medium to strong password.
Additionally, if confidential documents or data are made accessible via a proprietary application, the application must not automatically log the user in or store the login details. If it’s not possible to add a security layer into the app process, then each individual document needs to be protected.
Ease of use
Think about it for a moment. What do customers really want to do when they receive bills on their mobiles? They want to see the items like amount due, the due date and how to make a payment.
This information should be prominently included on the bill in a way that is easy to see no matter what size mobile screen your customer is using.
Meeting both requirements – ease of use and security, can be a delicate balance. While it’s obviously important to keep your customers’ information as safe as possible, you also need to ensure that you don’t make it difficult to for them to access the billing information.
Get those factors right and moving customers from paper to mobile becomes an easy sell – customers will happily convert when they experience the convenience of an electronic bill over a paper or static one.
Finally, it’s important that your company’s mobile billing initiatives add value to the relationship your customers have with you.
In this instance, value refers to the ability of customers to interact with the information. A simple text message with the bare minimum amount of information won’t add much value and may actually leave some customers concerned about the authenticity of the message.
Far better then to partner with a mobile billing provider that allows you to communicate with your customers across multiple channels so you can, for example, enable the recipient to change to a larger screen when they want to dig into the detail or interact with the data.
Here’s how that might look: the customer receives a PDF on their mobile device to check the basics, such as the amount owed, the payment due date, and where the money needs to be paid to. From there, they are able to open an interactive, content rich version on whichever device they’re most comfortable using (be that a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone) should they want to dive deeper into the billing information.
Making the most of mobile billing
It’s clear then that any organisation looking to implement an effective mobile billing solution needs to ensure that it’s secure, easy-to-use, and adds real value to the customer experience.
Failing to do so means missing out on the benefits it provides to both customers and the organisation itself – meeting customers where they want to be interacted with, and improving payment rates and fulfillments.