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A Third of Customers Disengaged with Businesses due to Online Billing

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link in the chain by michael coghlan via flickr

Energy Companies and Local Authorities rated lowest for their billing practices

The growing prevalence of online billing is putting businesses and service providers at risk of losing touch with customers according to new research, which reveals that almost one in three consumers have become distant from their bills as a result.

The research of a nationally representative sample of 1,000 UK adults by Echo Managed Services, revealed that 70% of consumers prefer digital methods of bill communication, while over a third stated that online is the only method by which they want to receive their bills.

Whilst online billing has its advantages, its growing use is resulting in increased instances of consumers becoming detached from what they’re paying for services. Over 1 in 10 people stated that online billing has made them less aware of what they pay each period, while 17% only notice the bill amount if it’s higher than expected. Just a third of people said that they read every bill they receive in full.

For 27% of consumers, bills are the only method of communication they have with their service providers, with 1 in 10 saying they would prefer contact to be more regular.

A breakdown in pre-bill communication is also apparent, as 27% of customers would like to receive bill alerts in advance to warn them of any bills that are unusually high, yet only 9% said they had received these in the past.

Experts are now warning businesses to seek out opportunities to engage and communicate in a more proactive and open way before they become invisible to their customers in an increasingly competitive market.

“It’s clear that online billing is favoured by a large proportion of customers”, said Nigel Baker, managing director at Echo Managed Services. “However, this mustn’t become a reason for service providers to lose that all-important contact with customers. As more and more customers move to online billing, businesses must find opportunities to engage with customers so that they’re not at risk of becoming invisible to them – while at the same time recognising the irritation caused by unwanted contact.

“It’s a difficult balance to strike, but by tracking the online behaviour of bill payers it is possible to tailor your approach and ensure that all customers are kept informed when required, and at a frequency that suits them. Proactive communication can also prevent the escalation of potential issues and help mitigate instances of avoidable debt that may occur as a result of bill forgetfulness, for example.”

The research also unveiled the best and worst sectors for billing, with mobile phone and credit card companies coming out top, scoring 7.57 and 7.43 on an index of 10, while local authorities (6.88) and energy companies (7.08) came out bottom.

Baker added: “While not huge, the gap between the highest and lowest performers is significant enough to cause concern. It’s interesting to see that the businesses operating in competitive markets are the ones that are coming out best when it comes to their billing practices. Clearly, those that are competing for customers are much more in touch with how good billing practices can affect customers’ feelings and loyalty towards a company and ultimately impact on the bottom line.”

For the full report and rankings please visit: https://www.echo-ms.com/knowledge-centre/research-resources/the-secrets-of-better-billing

 

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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