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4 Items Your Customers Value Most on Your Bill

June 14, 2022

In our previous blog, Identifying the Noise on Your Bill to “Find the Waldo” of It All, we talked about why “Where’s Waldo?” is a compelling game. It’s all in the details, and boy, are there ever a lot of those! Each page is jammed with content, making finding Waldo a needle in the haystack mission. It’s fun, but obviously, a similar approach should never be considered for a bill. Your customers don’t want to be inundated with details when trying to find what they owe and when it’s due.

It can be challenging to eliminate all of the “noise” from a bill and just focus on the most valued items. But, just like Waldo, there are a few tricks you can follow to make locating the valuable things easier and faster for your customers. Adding color and considering layout and content hierarchy is a great start. In this blog, we’re going to focus on layout. 

It’s All About the Z

Understanding that most customers scan documents in a Z pattern helps identify the placement of specific bill elements. Take a piece of paper and draw a large Z across the page. Start at the top left corner and move to the top right corner, then diagonally across to the bottom left corner and then to the bottom right corner. Now that you have identified the Z pattern, you can place the most valued information in this zone.

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What Your Customers Value Most

As part of our recent document design report, we asked utility customers what information they find most valuable on their bills, and they selected the following:

  • Amount Due: 80% want their bills to state the amount due clearly. This calls for some highlighting to ensure that customers can identify this information without friction or delay. You can support this in a few different ways:
    - Add color highlights that match your company branding
    - Use a larger font size
    - Position the amount due along the Z pattern

  • Bill Due Date: 61% want to locate the bill due date easily. One of your customers' biggest fears regarding their utility bills is forgetting to pay or missing their due date. You can help alleviate this fear by highlighting this element on the bill. Utilities can do this the same way as suggested above with the amount due:
    - Add color highlights that match your company branding
    - Use a larger font size
    - Position the due date along the Z pattern
  • Usage Information: 51% want to see their usage information. Many customers pick up the phone to call their utility when their bill is higher than expected, and they don’t understand how their usage is calculated. Providing more detailed usage information can be a great way to alleviate any confusion when reviewing a bill. Using graphics and charts is the perfect way to dive a little deeper into how your customers are using their energy, allowing them to see what is making up their electric bill. Of note, 40% of customers like the presentation of usage in charts and graphs, and 24% also like the ability to compare current use to their previous usage.
  • Billing Detail Breakdown: 22% want a billing breakdown to understand what they are paying for. Bill line items are a clear and concise way to present this information, but you can go further with charts and graphs. If you are a utility that provides various services, adding a chart to show where their payments are being allocated will go a long way in helping customers understand how their billing works. 

Location, Location, Location

Now that you understand which bill items your customers value the most, you can focus on placing them in prime locations on your bill and use highlighting techniques like color and font size to draw attention to these items. If Waldo were always in the Z pattern, he would be easier to find every time. But the easiest way to find Waldo is to reduce the chaos and noise surrounding him. 

If you haven’t reviewed the top items that your customers can do without on their bill, check out our recent blog post, Identifying the Noise on Your Bill to “Find the Waldo” of It All.

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