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Auto-Enrollment Works, if You Do It Right

May 6, 2022

Some customer behaviors are so deeply entrenched that it can feel like mission impossible to get them to change. Despite all your best efforts to increase your e-billing adoption rate, 62% of customers still receive a paper bill.1 You may feel ready to throw in the towel, but there are many reasons to persist. For one, e-billing is cheaper, and who doesn’t love to save money? The average cost per e-bill per customer is eight cents compared to 53 cents per paper bill.2 Businesses save an average of 45 cents per month for every customer they move to an e-bill or an estimated $540,000 per year/per 100,000 customers. That’s huge savings! To help you turn your e-billing adoption campaign into mission possible, we’ve put together these auto-enrollment strategies and best practices.

Majority of Customers Are Ok or Neutral to Auto-Enrollment

You may have shied away from auto-enrollment in the past because it felt pushy, but we have some good news. Chartwell’s 2021 Residential Consumer Survey found that 57% of customers would be ok with their utility moving them to paperless billing without remaining on paper. An additional 25% are neutral to the idea. With a whopping 82% of customers open to auto-enrollment, you can make a significant dent in your adoption target as long as you have a rollout plan that ensures customers are happy once the switch is made. 

Education Before Auto-Enrollment 

To overcome the adoption obstacles that stand in your way, you need to understand why some customers still prefer paper bills. The 2020 KUBRA Consumer Billing and Payment report found that the top three reasons customers choose to receive a paper bill are:

  • 33% think it’s easier to review
  • 29% find paper bills an effective reminder to pay
  • 21% worry they’ll miss paying digital bills

Education is a critical first step in creating a successful auto-enrollment program. Spelling out the benefits of e-billing in educational programs and awareness campaigns lets customers know how easy it is to get started and use and that their e-bill will look just like their paper bill. You can reassure those who use paper bills as a reminder to pay or for recordkeeping that there are effective smart features available such as bill history and smart reminders that take care of that for them. 

As with any communication or marketing campaign, you will want to use a variety of channels because customers prefer to receive their bills via different digital channels,3 with 65% preferring email. And remember, it’s always good to start with customers who already engage with your organization digitally.

Consumers Prefer to Receive Statements Digitally

Pilot Programs Are a Great Way to Kickoff Auto-Enrollment

Trial or pilot programs are an effective way to kickoff auto-enrollment. In this phase, billers enroll customers in e-billing for a certain period while still receiving paper bills. During this time, customers can opt in for e-billing or paper bills. Pilot programs allow you to build your customers’ knowledge and comfort with the service, which helps motivate them to adopt e-bills and even encourages existing e-bill recipients to go entirely paperless.

Don’t Miss These Critical Steps if There’s No Pilot Program 

If you decide against a pilot program, you need to notify your customers that they have been selected to be enrolled in e-billing and will no longer receive paper bills. You will also want to communicate the main features and benefits of e-billing, like the ease of paying bills, handy payment reminders, convenient access to bill history, enhanced privacy, security, and overall convenience to your customers. This will help get them on board early and increase the chances of them being satisfied.

Be Aware of Customers Who Are Not Ok With Auto-Enrollment

Avoid backlash by recognizing that a certain percentage of your customers will not be ok with auto-enrollment. According to surveys, this is approximately 18%.Try to identify these customers and steer clear of simply signing them up for e-billing, as they are likely to perceive this as a heavy-handed approach. Instead, use trial or pilot programs to allow them to gain comfort with paperless billing and learn the many benefits while still receiving their paper bills. This helps reduce the likelihood of them being turned off e-billing for good. 

The Push They Need

You’re not alone in your struggles to switch customers from paper bills to paperless. No matter how loud you sing the praises of e-bills, it just isn’t enough–some of your customers need a gentle push. Auto-enrollment can be just the thing to boost your adoption rates if done correctly. In addition to the tips above, you need a platform that delivers a seamless bill pay experience to your customers. KUBRA iDoxs is an omni-channel e-billing solution that allows you to give your customers a convenient way to view and manage their bills. Talk to us today to learn more about how KUBRA iDoxs can be the behind-the-scenes star of your e-billing adoption campaign.


  1. Chartwell, 2021 Billing Industry Benchmark Report.
  2. Chartwell, 2021 Billing Report.
  3. KUBRA Citizen Billing and Payment Report 2021.
  4. Chartwell, 2021 Billing Industry Benchmark Report.

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