Go ahead — shout out some words to describe video marketing. Sleek? Modern? Easy to watch? Engaging?
Now think of how you’d describe bill communication. Dry? Confusing? Boring? Boring?
Did I guess right? In general, video gets labeled trendy and fun (if you said “expensive,” you need to read the first in our roundup of video marketing myths) while bill communications are considered dull. So how can video and bills — two things that are so very different — get into the same message? And why does it matter?
That’s a lot of questions for one blog intro. Read ahead. We’ve got answers.
The Problem With Bill Communications
If you think your bill communications are tedious, we can guarantee your customer thinks the same way. Just imagine how it feels from their end.
We do so much to get new customers on board with fancy advertising campaigns. Marketeers, designers, brand gurus and more come together across silos to create something truly special. It tells prospective customers how you will make their life better. It’s to the point, on brand and visually stunning. It wins awards. I’m getting a little teary writing this. It’s beautiful, you know?
Then they sign up or purchase or convert, and there is joy in all the land. And then there’s the bill. It’s not beautiful. It’s not made with the customer in mind. It’s made with some software that’s been delivering the same bland automated bill for the past two decades.
Frankly, it doesn’t matter how appealing your product or service is. Your customers dread it when the bill or statement you deliver pops up in their inbox or online account every month or quarter. When they’re reminded of how much they’re getting charged, it’s a financial nuisance. Even if they love being your customer, it’s hard to shake off the negativity associated with charges and bill statements in general.
But there’s a way to relieve the burden and headaches bills present, and it starts with consistent communication.
Paperless Billing and Auto-Pay Make It Easier
One thing’s a plus — the days of paper bills are long gone. Since the emergence of automatic payment plans for everything from utilities to your monthly fitness app, paperless billing has reigned supreme.
It’s hard to beat the benefits of online billing and having your expenses charged to your credit card or debited from your account at fixed intervals. Cost-effective, time-saving, environmentally friendly and secure, online billing and auto-pay lifts some of the weight off bill delivery and communication.
But with more providers offering automatic payment plans, online bills need to provide transparency. It’s especially key in the case of the customer’s first bill, when charges can be different due to prorating or one-time setup fees. And if your industry is financial services, transparency is even more critical.
Video Marketing Settles the Bill Communication Score
In the age of the customer, when voice of customer and CX are paramount, bill delivery isn’t just about you getting paid. It’s also about making your customers’ lives simpler. That means helping them understand their bill — at a glance — and making the touchpoint frictionless, maybe even pleasant.
To make that possible, let’s look back at video as we discussed it briefly at the beginning. It’s easy to follow and engaging. It’s a medium people enjoy — isn’t the video above welcoming and friendly? And video just happens to be omnichannel, so you can send it via SMS, MMS, email or in app.
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That means it fits seamlessly into your current billing communication strategy. In fact, email is the preferred communication channel for 52% of consumers, and adding video to email improves engagement.
Video turns a labor-intensive subject or task like a bill explanation into a message that’s easy to understand. It delivers the bill message faster (saving the customer time — just like auto-pay mentioned above), and it can hook the viewer right from when they press play.
Keep your bill explainer straightforward and personal to make sure they get exactly the info they need, and they’re not calling support with unneeded questions. Personalized explainer videos have cut support call volume over 70%.
And if you’re thinking sending a bill as a video isn’t technically video marketing — you’re right! But it uses many of the same resources and approaches (someone to make the video or choose a template, a marketeer’s approach to personalization, a little CX), and when people think business plus video, they often think video marketing, so the two terms are often synonymous. And a video bill should strengthen your customer relationship, just like good marketing, so for this article, we’ll use them interchangeably.
Personalizing Your Bill Explainer Video
So here’s the real difference between bills and video marketing: the former is specific to one person while the latter is for everyone — or, if not everyone, at least a “target market” that shares some characteristics. But they certainly won’t share the same charges, due dates and other details you’d put in a bill.
So what’s an aspiring bill video marketer to do?
Create a different bill video for every single customer, but use data and automation to make it streamlined. That is, make one video and sync it with customer data, so everyone gets a Personalized Video just for them.
It has their account status, their usage, their billing periods, and it can even have their name with a friendly greeting. After all, they’re a person, not an account.
Show customers what they owe, how much and why. Make the video fun with cool animation and personal storytelling. Flip the narrative on the same old and much dreaded monthly billing statement and use the opportunity to surprise and delight your customer. You can even empower them with education about their usage trends and ways to save or take advantage of loyalty benefits.
See a great video bill example from American Water below.
By giving your customers a clearer understanding of their bill, you’re equipping them to better manage their finances. This personal service and attentiveness is the value you should be bringing to the customer experience at every step of their journey. And it shows your company cares about its customers and regards them as real people rather than just another number to increase your bottom line.
Getting Bill Explainers To Work
One of the largest utility companies in the U.S., PPL boosted their customer engagement over 3x with personalized quarterly statements delivered via video. And PPL is just one example. We work with dozens of brands who consistently use bill explainers as one of the first places to upgrade their digital communications with Personalized Video.
Curious how you can improve your bill communication plan and increase customer satisfaction at the same time? Reach out, and we’ll schedule a demo to show you how you can automate video bills personalized for every customer.