Rent billing and payment technologies…virtually, inexpensively and effectively.
Posted November 29, 2012 by Nicole Haskins
During college, I rented a house with two other girls. It was a low-cost option; allowing us to share expenses, responsibility, and savings.
Over the years, the terms “renting” and “cheap” became synonymous and held a negative connotation in our minds. Eventually, we moved out of the rental and soon became homeowners.
Twenty years later, things have come full circle once again as I embrace the idea of renting. In fact, I’m already in the thick of it; renting movies, kids’ toys, books on my Kindle, and vacation homes. Why this change of heart? Time and money.
Renting frequently offers the best value as well as better options that might not be available to me if I purchased them outright. By renting, I don’t accumulate outdated items and more importantly, I save money and time on the maintenance and repairs of those items.
These same “rental” concepts are now inspiring great change for utility billing organizations. Many utilities are opting to have their various electronic billing and payment services (IVR, web, customer notifications, and payment processing services) hosted by a best-of-breed third party.
[Hosted, also known as “Software as a Service” or “Cloud”, means that another vendor is 100% responsible for providing and supporting the suite of electronic billing, payment, and customer notification services; completely relieving the utility from having to procure or support any of these technologies or services themselves.]
The cost-savings and overall benefits in utilizing hosted services from a reputable vendor are tremendous. In fact, you probably use several SaaS or Cloud solutions already including hosted email, CRM systems like Salesforce.com or file storage and backup services such as DropBox.com. These tools allow you to streamline operations, connect with all of your customers in seconds, and reinforce your brand or CRM strategies quickly and effectively; all without the time, resources and expense involved in purchasing the technologies behind them. In addition to eliminating expensive hardware/software/infrastructure procurement and support costs, you’ll avoid much of the cost associated with data security, cardholder privacy compliance (PCI), and data continuity and system redundancy.
Switching to hosted billing and payments solutions provides you with substantial reliability improvements and higher up-time than comparable internally-owned and managed systems. Additionally, your utility is assured the most innovative features since shared, hosted services vendors routinely update them throughout the year – without any additional fees!
Renting is no longer stigmatized. Today’s savvy consumers recognize its value. Think about it. If you utilize your email through Google or Yahoo, rent movies through Netflix, and download books and magazines on your Kindles and iPads, then you are already leveraging the power, security and cost-efficiency of renting. So shouldn’t you do the same with your utility billing and payments functions?
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