January 2, 2024
How Working with a Utility Billing Expert Can Boost Water Bill Recovery Rate
While there are many factors that contribute to recovery rate at municipal water districts, there is one that is often overlooked – the billing itself. That’s where an outsourced utility billing expert can help.
If your water district is struggling with cost recovery or delinquent bills, a utility billing expert can help you recoup more costs and increase the amount of water bills paid on time. Here’s how.
3 Ways A Utility Billing Expert Can Boost Recovery Rates for Water Districts
#1. Applying Best Billing Practices
When you partner with an expert utility billing provider, one of the first places they will look to make improvements is with the billing process itself. Namely, are bills being delivered with best billing practices in mind?
Nobody wants to pay a bill, but there are steps water districts can take that will make residents more likely to pay their bills on time. Here’s what a utility billing provider will evaluate:
Are bills fair & defensible?
First, a utility billing provider will ensure the bills you send out are fair and defensible while providing the resident with full information.
It’s important to be transparent about your billing rates and all relevant usage metrics. If your bills are missing information residents expect to see, your odds increase they will dispute the bill.
Are bills predictable & consistent?
Next, they will make sure that bills are sent out at a predictable and consistent cadence.
Whether your water district decides to bill monthly, quarterly, biannually or annually, it’s important that residents know exactly when they can expect their bill. That knowledge allows them to budget accordingly leading to more bills paid on time and in full. If a bill goes out to a resident when they are not expecting, it can cause significant hardship that will result in the bill not being paid.
Is the bill easy to pay?
Finally, a utility billing provider will help your water district improve the experience for residents.
Again, paying a bill is not everyone’s idea of a good experience, but there are ways that your water district can make the experience as easy and seamless as possible. An expert provider can help you improve customer experience by providing multiple ways for your residents to pay, convenient customer service lines and the ability for residents to enroll in paperless billing options.
#2. Helping You Modernize
If your water district is still billing by mail only and using outdated, manual processes internally, a utility billing provider can help modernize your water billing process.
By implementing digital tools like online billing software and customer portals, your residents will appreciate the ease and convenience of paying their bills and managing their accounts. On top of that, your team will spend less time with manual billing tasks.
Some areas where a utility billing provider can help with modernizing your operations include:
- Allowing residents to view usage and past bills, so they can plan their future water usage to meet their budget.
- Providing a mobile app that allows residents to access their water bill information no matter where they are.
- Offering a range of bill payment options, including online bill payment and auto payment, that makes it even easier for resident to pay their water bills on time.
- Creating easier ways for residents to contact customer service via email, text, or online messaging to resolve billing issues sooner.
- Giving residents access to paperless billing if they choose.
- Providing online resources and FAQs to address common customer inquiries.
#3. Advising on Metering Updates and Rollouts
A utility billing provider can even act as a consultant if your water district is considering installing new meters or implementing upgrades to your existing meters. A utility billing expert will have the expertise on modern water metering hardware, and they can assist in helping your team make the right upgrades.
A common update that can help many water districts recover more costs is moving to an Automated Meter Reading (AMR). This technology allows you to collect consumption data from your water meters remotely, reducing the need for manual readings.
AMR systems also go a step further to improve usage accuracy and reduce errors. AMR also allows your water district to collect and analyze up-to-the-minute usage data. This allows you to catch spikes in usage that could indicate a leak much sooner, allowing you to rectify the problem before it impacts your customers.
A water billing partner can help you sort through the project, finding the right hardware and the right installation partner to help ensure the project is as smooth as possible.
Partner with the Right Water Billing Provider
Trying to implement these improvements on your own will take time and resources that your water district may not have. That’s why water districts should consider working with an outsourced water billing provider.
The right outsourced billing provider can offer water districts invaluable expertise about water billing that leads to increased cost recovery. At the same time, they can take water billing tasks completely off your team’s plate. This allows your team to refocus on core tasks and competencies.
A firm like Synergy can handle all aspects of your water billing system. We can help you recover more costs from consultation to system optimization to bill generation and collection. We’re here to help you improve your operations by taking water billing completely off your plate.
If your water district has a cost recovery problem, get in touch with Synergy. Our water billing experts are here to help.