A young Danish company called Natur-Energi took on a challenge to create a better communication tool that would increase the number of invoices paid on time.
A test population group of 2,879 new customers were selected and their behaviour through a two-month billing and payment cycle was carefully monitored. Records were kept of the type of invoice sent, date and medium of the first and second reminders, traffic to Customer Service and date of write-off.
The study provided evidence that new customers pay the required amount significantly later if they receive their invoices by e-mail, compared to physical mail. Natur-Energi discovered that sending invoices via e-mail actually increased their overall costs.
The survey found that 59% of customers receiving the invoice via e-mail had to be sent a reminder, while only 29% of customers receiving the invoice via mail required a follow-up message.
After the first reminder, the customer helpline workload realised an 80% increase for customers who received e-mail invoices. This created a large strain on the company’s customer service telephones, as well as personnel. Only 50% of the customers who received their invoices via e-mail reached out for help. That is to say, 47% of those receiving an initial invoice by e-mail called Customer Service after a reminder and 14.5% of customers receiving an initial invoice via direct mail called Customer Service.
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