Most people don’t understand their phone bill

Research commissioned by billing vendor Brite:Bill has found that the majority of people find their phone bills hard to understand. The precise figure is 68% and furthermore 75% are not even interested in the information provided even if they can get their heads around it.

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The study, which looked at how dissatisfied consumers currently are with their operators’ billing, found that nearly a third of the UK’s phone subscribers believe mobile operators are uncaring when it comes to individual billing issues.

The research shows that bad phone bills make consumers feel that mobile phone operators simply don’t care. For consumers, there is a clear limit to how many negative billing experiences they are willing to tolerate before considering a different provider. It doesn’t require too many bad billing experiences before customers churn.

Many of the calls are made to the call center relate to ‘bill shock’ or issues relating to the first bill. Other
important drivers for call center contact include current balance queries (for pre-pay) and pro-rated charges.

If the phone bill is confusing, generic and bland it comes across to the consumer as CSP indifference – as though the CSP has no desire to know what the customer is doing with the service. The bill works both ways. It needs to be  informative, but also needs to exemplify just how well the CSP knows the customer.

“How much a customer likes a product often matters less than how they feel about their experience,” said Alan Coleman, Head of Brite:Bill. “Billing is the least transformed part of the digital experience today, but as a key touch point it must evolve, too. Service providers are under increasing pressure to transform billing from a negative, stressful experience into a useful and interesting one that can bring them a competitive advantage.

“This starts with presenting the information so that it is more relevant, visual, and easy to understand. At the same time, providers have to be more proactive in dealing with bill shock and bill frustration – for example, by advising their customers on ways to save money that are relevant to that particular customer’s usage pattern.”

The research, which was conducted by Censuswide Research, surveyed 3,236 consumers across the USA, Canada, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Brazil and the UK It focused a fair bit on generational differences, with older people finding their bills more confusing. Apparently younger people are happier to communicate with chatbots and more likely to expect their billing communications to feature proactive efforts on the part of their provider to save them money.

Better billing means mobile operators can reduce churn, deflect costly billing queries to the call center, enhance customer satisfaction and create an innovative opportunity to cross/up-sell.

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