Smarter bill pay helps retain customers

A smart bill pay experience is personal for the customer and offers guidance and real-time insights. Brad Jones is Vice President and General Manager of the bill pay solution suite at Fiserv. He shares his insights and thoughts for developing next generation bill pay capabilities.

Moving and managing money is essential to people’s lives, and, increasingly, consumers are shifting toward digital solutions for day-to-day financial management. This means existing digital capabilities like online and mobile bill payment are ripe for enhancements that go beyond foundational benefits such as convenience and security.

Both consumer expectations and technology are changing rapidly. A big challenge financial institution face is making sure innovation in areas like bill payment is strategic and purposeful and will meet the needs of their customers and members. No one wants to waste time chasing shiny objects.

A better payments environment ultimately enables a financial institution to improve efficiency, enhance customer engagement and satisfaction and stand out in a competitive industry.

The current pandemic has emphasized the need for financial institutions to improve digital engagement with consumers. It is now more important than ever to make it easier for customers to transact digitally, especially for new digital users gained during the pandemic.

Financial institutions need to deliver smarter bill pay experiences to keep pace with consumer demand and shifting preferences for digital interactions. Financial institutions that deliver intelligent bill pay experiences have the ability to enhance customer satisfaction and engagement as well as increase retention by enriching and personalizing interactions.

What makes a smarter bill pay experience?

A smarter bill pay experience is personalized and delivers intuitive guidance and real-time insights. The process is really driven by customer expectations and the ability to deliver the experience they expect while growing engagement with the financial institution.

Offering this type of experience requires understanding consumers and how they pay, then using that data to anticipate what they will want to do so you can automate the experience and make it easier for consumers to pay bills.

Using a data-driven approach, financial institutions can create differentiated and engaging digital experiences that put people in control of their finances and have a positive effect on their financial health. Implementing these capabilities can help customers and members meet their needs and achieve their financial goals beyond just paying bills, creating a positive association that drives satisfaction and retention.

For financial institutions to implement a smarter bill pay experience, they need to have a deep understanding of how customers interact with their finances. They can then leverage that data to improve the bill payment experience by offering intuitive guidance, such as offering suggestions on billers a consumer is likely to pay to streamline the bill payee set-up process, and help consumers stay on top of their finances with real-time alerts and notifications.

If a financial institution is successful in serving as an advisor in the bill payment process, even in an automated way, it can impact the entire customer relationship. Paying bills is a small part of how people manage their money and work to achieve longer term financial goals. Financial institutions have the visibility to coach people on managing their money, and bill payment is a good place to start to establish that rapport.

Creating engagement requires creating opportunities for interaction. For example, intelligent bill pay enables real-time alerts and notifications to provide consumers with visibility into payment due dates, then allows them to take action immediately. This level of proactive and personalized interaction enriches the customer experience in a way that consumers expect today.

In the future, smarter bill pay experiences will be commonplace for financial institutions as they move to meet consumer expectations. The bill pay experience will help position financial institutions as trusted advisors for their customers and members in a way that we haven’t seen yet.