Are Your Customers Ignoring Your E-bills?

paperbillsBefore you encourage your customers to switch to digital bills, you might want to know this one thing.

Those electronic statements your company is sending out could be responsible for late or missed payments. And the reason is crazy simple:

“Only 15% [of consumers] read bills which they receive electronically, compared to 50% and more for those who receive paper copies. It’s much harder to ignore a paper statement,” writes Phil Riebel in PI

Riebel is referring to a recent USA Today article that summarized the findings of a survey aimed at understanding consumer media preferences.

The findings, according to Riebel, offer “another example of the social benefits of print and paper” that consumers and companies may regret losing if billing goes digital. The fact is, about half of all consumers choose both paper and electronic when given the option.

So much for lightening the footprint of the billing industry.

Fortunately, many large companies are backing away from their greenwashing claims that electronic bills help the environment. Consumers see right through this tactic, and the truth is that the growing environmental footprint of the electronic communications industry hasn’t been adequately assessed.

“Most consumers know that companies are doing it primarily to save money and it appears a large number of them feel deceived by the environmental messaging. Furthermore, they like paper for many other reasons such as those listed above,” Riebel notes.

“Without credible studies on the environmental footprint and cost of their electronic infrastructure (a requirement when making environmental comparisons)[6], corporations should remove ‘green’ marketing slogans that disparage paper and print. It seems many of their customers aren’t buying it anyways … perhaps because they understand the positive environmental and social benefits of paper, and they want to retain a paper option,” he continues.

Meanwhile, paper maintains a fiercely loyal following, with 64% of consumers surveyed saying they wouldn’t choose a company that didn’t offer paper billing. That’s a pretty clear preference, and a good indicator for any company to continue to offer a choice.