According to a recent study from Pew Research Center, over three-quarters of Americans own a smartphone. In 2016, there was a notable increase in ownership by those age 50 and older. The adoption of smartphone use by all generations has caused an increasing demand for mobile functionality from utilities providers. Customers want to access their accounts and billing information in the same way they are used to communicating with their coworkers, friends and family. For that reason, utility companies must adapt their mobile capabilities to be inclusive for all customers. Here are a few key points to keep in mind when developing an inclusive mobile strategy.
Get on board with mobile. Stigma may lead you to believe that Baby Boomers don’t expect mobile functionality when it comes to their utility billing and account management because they are accustomed to traditional models. According to a 2016 survey by AARP, over half of Baby Boomers ages 60 to 69 own a smartphone. And over three-quarters of adults ages 50 to 59 are smartphone users. It’s safe to assume that users will only grow more comfortable using their devices to accomplish day-to-day tasks like bill payment. For this reason alone, utilities providers must get on board with mobile and develop a multifunctional service for all customers.
Don’t underestimate customer ability. According to a Fiserv report from 2014, 40 percent of smartphone owners pay at least one bill from their phone. In 2018, the mobile adoption rate has surely increased. It is important that utilities providers, especially those with a long history in the industry, not underestimate the desires and abilities of the customer strictly based on past experience and tried-and-true processes. While traditional billing models certainly have a place in the payments service, introducing new technologies to customers is equally important in order to maintain customer satisfaction.
Technology will continue to evolve. Looking forward, smartphone adoption will only grow more ubiquitous. Along with adoption will come leaps in mobile technology. The future of billing is brimming with potential – including integration with mobile wallets, social media and even virtual and augmented reality. As time goes on, utilities customers will come of age with the expectation that mobile integration is a given. By operating under that expectation now, and including the senior demographic in the equation, utilities providers will remain on the cutting edge of consumer demand.
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