E-billing: Understanding the adoption barriers

Garin Toren, Striata

The Internet and email have made an incredible impact on our lives, completely changing the way we communicate. Billions of emails and SMS messages are sent every day, replacing letters and postcards, yet consumers are not turning off paper bills and statements. Billers and financial institutions are not succeeding in motivating significant numbers of their customers to replace paper documents with online equivalents.

After several years of trying, organizations with the best results have converted 15% to 20% to paperless processes, while others have achieved results below 5%.
           
These low paperless adoption rates are despite many rounds of marketing, incentives and additional charges for the paper version.

Almost every major biller and financial institution enables their customers to view electronic versions of their bill or statement via the biller's website or customer service portal.

So, if this online option exists, why aren't consumers agreeing to turn off the paper version?

There are six clear reasons why billers have not managed to convince customers to turn off the paper:

1. Customer indifference

Almost all consumers are content to continue with the current paper system and feel no need to change to a new way of doing things. Put simply, paper works. Minority segments of a customer base will take up a website process because they are passionate about the environment or they are highly computer literate. The majority however, simply could not be bothered. And doing nothing is the path of least resistance.

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