With close to six million contracts, Eneco is one of the leading energy suppliers in the Netherlands. Eneco is continuously taking steps to improve efficiency wherever possible. Essential to this goal, is its payment reminder strategy.
Traditional methods didn’t cut it
In 2015, the Dutch energy supplier enlisted the help of Mi-Pay in an effort to improve both the efficiency and the customer experience of its dunning process. At the time, its approach relied heavily on traditional methods like letters sent via post and manual phone calls, which were both in-house and outsourced. Late payment numbers were high, as were contract terminations and the amount of customer cases which were transferred to debt collection agencies.
Solution: Mi-Pay Reminders
By implementing Mi-Pay payment reminders, Eneco was able to broaden its arsenal of effective payment collection tools and lower its overhead costs. In the optimized situation, the Dutch energy supplier makes use of a combined strategy that includes email, SMS, automated voice reminders as well as letters by post.
Eneco now starts the dunning process with an e-mail reminder, within days after the first payment is missed. Enclosed in the email is a paylink with which customers can easily pay their invoice. This change alone greatly reduces costs.
Of course, not every customer will pay when first prompted. To handle this challenge, Mi-Pay has provided Eneco with the ability to automatically send out payment reminders (with paylinks). These automated payment reminders are highly personalized and can be triggered at different stages within the collection process.
The reminder e-mails are followed up by automated voice reminders. What makes voice reminders highly effective is the combination of a soothing natural voice and the variety of payment options provided over the phone.
Replacing manual calls with Mi-Pay’s automated voice reminders allowed for significant cost saving.
The biggest innovation in Eneco’s collection approach has been the introduction of personalized interactive video reminders, complete with self-service payment options. Interactive video greatly increases the understanding of the situation, especially for customers with low literacy.
While viewing, debtors can conveniently select a suitable payment arrangement, such as pay now, pay in instalments and pay later or click to request additional help.
Efficiency through self-service
Mi-Pay’s focus on self-service has led to the creation of tools that enable Eneco’s customers to resolve debts on their own, in highly convenient ways. Since setting up payment arrangements no longer requires intermediation by staff, Eneco has been able to collect payments more efficiently.
Efficiency through technology (BI/ML)
The most efficient message, for debtor A, might not work as well or debtor B. Mi-Pay addresses this by leveraging business intelligence data and machine learning. By setting up an intensive build-measure-learn loop with continuous A/B testing, Mi-Pay has been able to help Eneco identify opportunities that maximize efficiency.
Results achieved by Mi-Pay
By collaborating with Mi-Pay, Eneco had been able to increasingly digitalize and automate its dunning processes. Outstanding invoices are now paid quicker and fewer customer cases are transferred to debt collection agencies.
#2 More loyalty
Working with Mi-Pay has enabled Eneco to reduce the number of monthly disconnections. At the same time, the improved payment experience has led to higher customer satisfaction numbers and improved customer retention. The more empathic and interactive approach to payment collection has also decreased the number of customers with payment problems who choose to end their relationship with the energy supplier.
#3 Higher profits
By implementing automated payment reminders and expanding the available payment options, Eneco has improved the efficiency of its payment collection strategy. These measures, working in tandem, have lead to higher profits overall.
Customer Testimonial – Kevin Priem, Partnership Specialist at Eneco
Why does one of the leading energy suppliers in the Netherlands trust Mi-Pay? Kevin Priem, Partnership Specialist for Credit Management at Eneco, explains.
What led you to seek help from Mi-Pay?
Primarily, the desire to improve the ease of payments for our clients and digitalize the payment streams. To achieve this goal, we really wanted to make the transition from paper to digital payments and help our clients along in that transition. We wanted to make it as effortless as possible for our customers to pay, and Mi-Pay helped us with that.
Mi-Pay has been a true partner for us. At Eneco, we believe that in order to really thrive, it is necessary to have a long term relationship that’s beneficial for both parties.
Did your customers demand the change?
It wasn’t necessarily customer demand, but you always want to keep improving in your customer experience. Before teaming up with Mi-Pay, our process was that we just kept on sending letters. Occasionally, there’d be an email, but without a paylink. At the time, the goal of an email was to notify customers about missed payments. Customers in arrears would then have to log into their banking environment, fill in all the payment details themselves and use a security device to complete the payment. It was a cumbersome experience. Even if customers do not request it themselves, it is important to keep innovating and surprise them with something new that is even better than what they were used to.
How has working with Mi-Pay transformed your dunning approach?
The digitalization and automation of our dunning processes have made a big difference in terms of customer experience and cost efficiency. It is a lot more effective to send customers an email with a paylink they can immediately click on, rather than a traditional, paper invoice in an envelope.
The key consideration here is that we chose to adopt a more personal approach towards our customers, and Mi-Pay’s payment reminder tools helped us to do that in bulk. We can now personalize our emails, texts, voice calls and videos on a large scale. That was a big win for us.
Which tools have been the most effective?
I think the automated voice reminders have been very effective for us. Voice reminders, with the right tone of voice, allow us to show more empathy. Once customers are on the phone, they have the option to pay directly or to talk to a colleague in person, which makes it a very powerful tool.
Email, is also very effective. It is great that we can personalize these emails with the customer’s name, all the relevant information about the debt and include paylinks, so they can take action right away. We also send the emails from our own domain, so customers really feel that we are reaching out to them ourselves, instead of a debt collection agency.
And of course, video. Interactive video allows us to show empathy alongside our corporate branding. People immediately recognize it’s from us, which inspires trust and drives results in a very friendly manner.
What effect has this had on your KPI’s?
By working with Mi-Pay, we really improved our degree of digitalization. That had a significant impact on our dunning process, as it lowered how many days it takes for us to collect the bulk of outstanding debts. For example, before we started using Mi-Pay’s automated voice reminders, we did the calls manually, and it was very costly. By improving the digital payment journey for our customers early on in our collection process, we increased the FTR (First Time Right) and decreased the handling costs at the backend.
Describe your relationship with Mi-Pay.
Mi-Pay has been a true partner for us. At Eneco, we believe that in order to really thrive, it is necessary to have a long term relationship that’s beneficial for both parties. Only then can you really co-create and challenge each other with regard to the core business. We feel this bond very strongly with Mi-Pay.
For more information regarding our Payment Reminders solution and how it can transform your business, feel free to contact to Michael Martens. As Head Revenue Ambassador at Mi-Pay, he’s always open to listen and advise on how best to tackle any and all payment related challenges.