But what if your livelihood involves managing the upkeep of multiple properties? Keeping track of just a handful of water bills can take time, especially if they’re not all generated together, but as the number of properties and the associated bills grows, so does the drain on resources. For landlords or real estate agents the administrative burden can be significant.
“The practicalities of billing can hold the key to successful customer engagement for water utilities. Receiving a bill may be the only contact a customer has with their supplier so perception of service, regardless of the work being done behind the scenes to keep the water flowing, can easily be based on that alone.”
In its simplest terms, consolidated billing means a water utility can group together the properties that one customer is responsible for and then tailor a billing schedule according to their preferences.
Meter readings are taken at each property to track usage and then a bill for the whole portfolio is issued quarterly, bi-annually, or annually. Where there is a time lag between meter read and bill, the customer can choose to have usage at those properties estimated for that period of time to help their financial planning or, if they prefer, they can work with any over/under payments balancing out across the year.
Whether a customer looks after two just properties or hundreds, Aptumo can deliver one bill which still presents the details of each property individually. Bills can be presented in PDF, CSV, or XML format according to the customer’s preference, helping to reduce their admin and reporting burden even further, and the benefits of consolidated billing don’t stop there; a customer’s properties are all identified by a single contract reference which means just one number to remember, and just one payment to make.
“Because Aptumo is customer-centric rather than property-centric, it has the capability to generate one bill for a customer even if they do have multiple properties. It’s a significant step forward”, said Matt. “In a very brave attempt to offer this service to customers who need it, some utilities may be draining their customer service resources by putting manual processes in place which, if we’re honest, could cause more problems than they solve.”
Unravelling the impact of a simple operator error on a manually generated multi-property bill could take more time than the original process was designed to save, and it could damage a customer’s perception of the water utility.
“Aptumo offers consolidated billing as out-of-the-box functionality which makes it easier for a water utility to introduce. It can be adapted to display both metered and fixed costs, and it means that, for the first time, it’s a service that call centre agents can offer to customers to genuinely make their lives easier.”
Look out for more updates over the coming months about how Aptumo can help water utilities to engage effectively with customers. If you would like to know more about how Aptumo could help you deliver exceptional service to your customers, contact Matt Bowd at: email@example.com.