When we focus on mobile we tend to lean towards payments – and rightly so, since NFC based payments will be worth $130 billion by 2020, according to Strategy Analytics. But a survey conducted by Fiserv towards the end of 2014 shows that more households are paying regular bills via their mobile device. The trend is being led by the US – and by Millenials – but it is a wake up for operators to build this functionality into new billing platforms.
40 percent of the 65 million smartphone users in the US pay at least one monthly bill via their phone, and this increases to 62 percent for Millenials, who pay up to three bills.
While the survey shows that this channel is going mainstream, the interesting part is that customers’ perception of good customer service goes hand in hand with a good mobile bill payment experience. 60 percent believe that a mobile payment option would improve satisfaction with their biller. And, as we have said, a good customer experience breeds loyalty, and that is critical.
The mobile channel, because of its personal nature, provides operators with the potential to add options that further increase satisfaction. Customers want alerts for bill payment due dates, ‘guest pay’ functionality and easier ways of managing their resources.
In short, customers think that billers should make mobile a priority.
In the US of course, Direct Debit or Credit is by no means ubiquitous. In Europe, therefore, paying regular bills by mobile makes less sense, but the billing channel can still be used to help customers manage their resources. Alerts that bill payment day is coming up, with an estimate of the bill total would be useful, particularly if usage varies. Included in the alert could be a message that says usage is within 10 percent of the last bill. Bearing in mind that the consensus is that customers do not want bills, they want to check their bank statement or their balance, this kind of functionality would be comforting and useful to customers.