Colorado Utility Gives Online Customers Multiple Billtrust Payment Options, Sees e-Payment Rate Jump to 59%
Comprehensive Menu of One-Time Express Payment, Electronic Banking, Credit Card And Mobile Payment Alternatives Keeps Water Revenues Flowing for Town of Castle Rock, Colorado
HAMILTON, NJ – (June 12, 2014) – Castle Rock, Colorado, may be modest in size—but its approach to municipal services is more advanced than most big cities. The Town of roughly 55,000 residents, located 35 miles south of Denver, is proud of its ability to keep pace with its progressive population—a community comprised largely of educated, active Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers.
“This is a tech-savvy town,” said Anne Glassman, Business Solutions Manager for Castle Rock Water, the municipal water utility. “We have a lot of business travelers, a lot of commuters. People are on the go, and they rely on technology tools. We’re very aware of the fact that customers want convenience and reliability from their water provider.”
In 2013, Castle Rock Water began a search for a new billing services provider who could further expand the quality of its customer service. It wanted a partner with not only one-stop, end-to-end billing options, but also a commitment to exceptional support.
“Vendor support is huge for us,” noted Billie Owens, Customer Relations Manager for the Town of Castle Rock. “Every month we send out over 17,000 utility bills to water, wastewater, and stormwater customers. The bills have to be delivered to our customers within a tight timeframe each and every month. We strive to maintain customer service levels that are higher than most commercial businesses.”
In particular, Castle Rock Water wanted to implement a more robust bill presentment and payment program. According to Glassman, it’s rare to find a service provider with homegrown solutions that address every component of such a program—but the utility found its solution in Billtrust.
“With our previous provider we would have had to outsource multiple components to broaden our ePayment options,” she stated. “A cost analysis showed we could save a significant amount of money with a single-source provider. No one else had a service menu as comprehensive as Billtrust.”
Research by the Town of Castle Rock showed that most residents were ready for more electronic payment options. Billtrust’s e-Bill Connect, its online bill presentment solution, formed the core of the utility department’s new service. However, it augmented that offering with eBank Connect, enabling customers to pay bills electronically through their bank; Mobile Connect, Billtrust’s mobile-based product for viewing and paying bills; and QuickPay Connect, which leverages an Automated Clearing House (ACH) network to allow quick, one-time electronic payment without enrolling in full online account access. To make payments even easier, customers are able to enroll in automatic payments using their bank or credit card account.
“Our Community Relations team worked with focus groups and recent community survey input to determine their level of interest,” said Owens. “We simply gave them what they wanted—plus a bit more. As a result of our research and the simplicity of the new services, questions from customers have been few and far between.”
The new water bill statement is simpler and easier to understand for the customer. It also focuses on ease of connecting to the account. To accomplish this goal, the Town added different conveniences. A QR code is printed on the statement that Billtrust mails. When scanned using a smartphone or tablet, the customer is brought directly to their account access page where they can enter their account number and make payments and manage their account via mobile applications.
To announce its new electronic payment options, Castle Rock Water and Community Relations worked with Billtrust to implement a multi-faceted e-Adoption campaign. Messages on printed statements, bill inserts, Facebook posts and staggered note messaging, social media tweets, postcards, press releases, editorial about benefits of H20 Access in the Town’s Outlook magazine, Town Hall LED signage and continual promotion by the utility department’s customer service representatives helped get the word out.
The results of the Town’s outreach campaign were remarkable. In the first four months after the program’s January 2014 debut, 22% of the Town’s water customers had gone paperless; moreover, 59% of customers who created an online account now pay electronically on a regular basis.
Glassman is enthusiastic about the Town’s new relationship with Billtrust. While the eAdoption results are clearly impressive, Castle Rock Water is realizing other benefits including lower payment processing costs through Billtrust’s Merchant Services program as well as utilizing other service additions like Interactive Voice Response (IVR), which allows customer to check account balances and make payments over the phone 24/7.
“With Billtrust’s expertise and thorough implementation team, we were able to roll out multiple payment options to our customers all at once, without straining our internal resources over the course of months or even years,” she said. “Billtrust has been open and responsive to our individualized needs.”
Headquartered in Hamilton NJ, Billtrust is a premier provider of outsourced billing solutions. Its products and services help companies’ billing practices become “Customer-Centric,” a concept that emphasizes flexible accommodation of customer needs. Billtrust’s billing channels span paper, fax, e-mail, online billing (EBPP, EIPP, Invoice Central), AP systems, eBanking and IVR. In addition, the company provides expert bill design, in-bill marketing services, and CustomerCare, an integrated online customer service portal. Billtrust’s comprehensive tools automate the billing process so businesses can save money, increase productivity, improve cash flow, and seamlessly migrate to electronic delivery. For more information, visit Billtrust online at billtemp.wpengine.com.