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How to Increase Collections and Make the Most of E-billing

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  • Welcome everyone! First off, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to listen to us for the next 45 minutes or so. My name is Jenny Sharpe, Program Specialist here at Experian QAS and run marketing programs within our government and utilities space. I’m very pleased to have Joe Lang here with me today. Joe is a Key Account Manager for Experian QAS, specializing in the Utilities industry – Joe would you like to say hello to our listeners and tell us a little about what you do in the utilities space? Our topic for today’s discussion is 5 helpful tips revolving around best practices to help increase collections and make the most of e-billing through email cleansing and standardization. Before we jump into the presentation, I have a few housekeeping items to mention – if at any time during the presentation you have a question or comment, please feel free to type it into the chat function in the lower right hand portion of your screen. You do not have to wait until the end of the presentation to submit questions. Additionally, a recording of the presentation will be sent to the email address provided at registration so there is no need to request annotation. With that, let’s move onto the agenda!
  • First, Joe and I will discuss the growing importance of email and e-billing using industry statistics and research. From there we’ll get into how to better manage your e-billing efforts as well as how to grow your marketable email database. Joe will then take us through options for testing, cleaning and updating email addresses in your database, followed by an overview of email services offered by QAS that will aid in the steps previously outlined. From there we’ll take questions from the audience
  • The statistics displayed were gathered from resources including DoubleClick’s annual customer study and Bank Technology News Research. It doesn’t come as a surprise that there are currently 1.4 billion email users in the U.S. today with advertisements, bills and personal email making up a good amount of the over 90 trillion emails sent annually. Google researcher, DoubleClick, reported that 90% of email users send/receive at least one email every day with 44% of American’s being on email constantly. Joe, I know I pay all of my utilities, and a lot of other bills online every month, so it doesn’t surprise me that email was reported to be the preferred method of communication among those surveyed. JOE TO WALK THROUGH LAST THREE BULLET POINTS
  • With most customer email addresses being captured via a web form or over the phone, errors happen frequently. Fat fingering, miscommunication and typos are common occurrences much like when capturing a physical address. Joe, can you talk us through some of the other issues plaguing utilities companies when it comes to accurate email capture?
  • With customer satisfaction being a major focus and priority, it’s imperative to maintain a positive customer experience. If an email address is captured inaccurately, the consumer will most likely never receive communications, resulting in negative customer experiences and lost marketing opportunities. If a customer doesn’t receive their email notification, bills can also often go unpaid. In addition to negative effects on customer communication efforts and unpaid bills, a utilities ISP reputation can be impacted. Joe – can you tell the listeners more about ISP reputations and how they can affect consumer email communication?
  • We’ve come up with 5 simple tips that if followed, will improve your email database. Joe and I will take you through each one of these steps, explaining how it effects your utility and what can be done to ensure you’re making the most of e-billing efforts and email communications. The first step is how to diagnose your current email database, followed by attacking those that prove to be bad or undeliverable. From there, we’ll discuss how to validate new emails before they actually enter your database. Joe will then detail how to improve your ISP reputation. We’ll then go over how to perform append services periodically in order to ensure that you maintain an accurate email database. With that, let’s dive into our first tip..
  • Before we can start focusing on capturing an accurate email at the point of capture or performing nightly email appends, it’s important to evaluate the accuracy of your current email database. Joe – can you explain how a utility would go about doing this?
  • Joe, Now that we’ve found the bad emails already in our database, what do we do with them?
  • Okay, so I’ve now cleaned my existing email database and feel confident in what I currently have in there. Now I want to focus on validating new email addresses before they actually get put into a database – Joe, how would I go about this?
  • ISP’s, or internet service provider’s, screen and filter ALL incoming mail for their users in order to avoid spammers and unwanted email messages. In order to do this, ISP’s rely on individual mailer’s “reputation” to decide which emails they’ll let through and which ones they won’t. Joe, how is a utility companies ISP reputation determined and what can they do to improve it?
  • JOE
  • Okay, so I’ve now diagnosed my existing email database and addressed all of the bad emails, I’ve made sure all email addresses captured are now accurate before entering my clean database, and I’ve improved my ISP reputation. What’s next?
  • To recap, the 5 tips we, along with QAS, recommend in order to improve email and e-billing efforts are to diagnose your existing email database, attack those emails that prove to be undeliverable, validate new emails before they enter your database, improve your ISP reputation and finally to perform append services periodically. Joe, can you explain some of the tools QAS offers in order to help with the steps detailed?
  • Thanks, Joe. At this time, we’d like to answer some questions from the audience. As a reminder, if you have any questions or comments please be sure to enter them into the lower right hand portion of your screen. If you ask a question that Joe and I don’t have time to get to, we’ll be sure to email a response to the address provided at registration.

Transcript

  • 1. How to Increase Collections and Make the Most of E-billing August 18 th , 2011 Teleconference Dial-in: 866-564-7440 Passcode: 584284
  • 2. Featured Speakers
    • Matt Chase, Utilities Account Manager, Experian QAS
    • Jenny Sharpe, Marketing Program Specialist, Experian QAS
  • 3. Agenda
    • The growing importance of email and e-billing
    • How to better manage e-billing efforts
    • Fastest way to grow your marketable email database
    • Options for testing, cleaning and updating emails
    • Overview of QAS Email Services
    • Q&A
  • 4. The Growing Importance of Email and E-billing
    • 1.4 billion email users with over 90 trillion emails sent annually
    • 90% of email users send/receive email every day*
    • 44% are on email constantly*
    • Preferred communication method
      • 76% of consumers would prefer to receive bills via email**
    • Inexpensive channel for direct mailers
    • Average savings of $2 per e-bill
    • Email allows for consistent interactive and effective communication
    * DoubleClick's 6th Annual consumer Study (2005) ** Bank Technology News Research (April 2002)
  • 5. Current Challenges Utilities are Facing
    • Sources of ‘bad’ emails include
      • Information captured at point of entry
      • Web forms
    • Syntax and domain errors
    • Soft bounces vs. hard bounces
    • Complaints and spam traps
    • ISPs are becoming more strict
  • 6. Impacts of Bad Email Addresses
    • Negative effects on customer communication efforts
    • Lost marketing opportunities
    • Negative impacts on your ISP reputation and inbox placement
      • Emails can be sent to Spam folder
      • Emails sometimes never reach the customer
      • Possibility of sender shut down by large ISP’s
    • Ultimately, lost revenue opportunities
  • 7. 5 Ways to Improve your Email Database
    • Diagnose your email database
    • Attack the bad emails already in your database
    • Validate new emails before they enter your database
    • Improve your reputation with ISPs
    • Perform append services periodically
  • 8. TIP 1: Diagnose your email database
    • Capture rate
    • Penetration rate
    • Bounce rate
    • Complaint rate
    • Spam trap hits
    • Existing invalid emails
  • 9. TIP 2: Attack the bad emails already in your database
    • More than 50% of flagged bad emails are due to minor syntax errors within the email address that can be fixed
    • Identify and correct invalid characters
      • Example 1: cavendish 2 gmail.com = cavendish2 @ gmail.com
      • Example 2: jpommers @ yahoo com = jpommers @yahoo.com
      • Example 3: ted_king@ yaho.co = ted_king@ yahoo.com
      • Example 4: john.doe@ sbcglobal.com = john.doe@ sbcglobal.net
      • Example 5: “Smith, Joe” <jsmith@example.com> = jsmith@example.com
    • Quickest and easiest way to increase your marketable email database
  • 10. TIP 3: Validate new emails before they enter your database
    • Catch and correct syntax errors
      • Ensure proper standardization and conformity to internet standards
    • Confirm email domains work
      • It exists, its active, and can accept mail
    • Verify mailboxes exist
      • Invalid mailboxes account for over 70% of undeliverable emails
    • Suppress spam traps and risky email addresses
      • Role based accounts = [email_address]
      • Fake emails = [email_address]
      • Malicious emails = [email_address]
      • Do not mail list
  • 11. TIP 4: Improve your reputation with ISPs
    • Major ISPs actively screen and filter incoming mail for their users and rely on individual mailers “reputation” to determine emails they will let through
    • Reputation determined by
      • Bounce rate
      • Complaint rate
      • Spam trap hits
    • 77% of delivery problems were based on sender reputation
    • Each ISP has their own set of metrics
    • Sending too many bad emails will flag the sender as “spam”
  • 12. TIP 4: Continued… Improve your reputation with ISPs
    • Implementing a comprehensive validation prior to emails being sent will
      • Immediately reduce bounce rate by 50-70%
      • Reduce complaints and spam trap hits
      • ISPs increase inbox delivery
      • Reduced mailing costs from your email service provider (ESP)
      • Higher conversion rate on email leads captured
      • Avoid blacklisting
      • Never get shut down by ISPs
  • 13. TIP 5: Perform append services periodically
    • eAppend
      • Use name and address in your database to append valid email
      • Immediately increase email penetration rates
    • Email Change of Address (ECOA)
      • Best for previously performing email that hasn’t been opened in 6 months or suddenly bounces
      • People change emails frequently for many reasons
      • Leverage ECOA to find your loyal customer’s new email
  • 14. 5 Ways to Improve your Email Database
    • Diagnose your email database
    • Attack the bad emails already in your database
    • Validate new emails before they enter your database
    • Improve your reputation with ISPs
    • Perform append services periodically
  • 15. QAS Email Services
    • Real time service
      • Hosted web service
      • Interacts with front end users to correct email
    • Email Express Processing
      • Run an automated correction/validation nightly batch service on newly acquired emails
    • Bureau services
      • Email cleanse and correction
      • ECOA
      • Email Append
  • 16. Q&A Questions after the event? Email: us.webinars@qas.com Call: 888-727-3985 Visit: www.qas.com Submit your questions now! ?
  • 17. © 2011 Experian Information Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 18. Please visit www.qas.com for more information.