Utilities need to reduce billing errors in order to avoid reprocessing invoices and compromising customer service. In many situations, utilities identify unforeseeable errors in invoices after bills have already been printed and in the worst case, errors don’t get caught by the utility at all and it is the customer who notices something wrong on their bill. To avoid reputational damage and the extra work of reprocessing invoices after they have been issued, utilities should use a flexible billing system that detects errors early on, makes it easy to adjust inaccurate invoices, and helps to deliver excellent customer service.
To ensure that billing processes are completed accurately, utilities need to measure service usage and convert this into an invoice, accounting for and correcting any abnormalities which may arise during the several steps involved. Utilities pay special attention to the most error-prone activities in order to reduce the chance of anything going wrong; however, when unforeseen issues occur, it is essential to make quick and accurate invoice adjustments. If utilities want to have all their bases covered, they need a billing system that not only reduces the number of errors in the first instance but also provides the tools to identify and correct issues when they do occur. With this in mind, utilities should look for a billing system that accurately calculates billing amounts and also helps them manage common issues caused by events such as metering errors, data entry mistakes, rate changes, and service failures.
Even though utilities can often fix metering errors through validation rules, they still need their billing system to let them edit meter readings and usages in cases where data has been incorrectly entered or the usage was not accurately estimated. Moreover, the billing system should also help utilities keep their customers informed about any adjustments made to their balance. One common issue that occurs is that rates are incorrectly updated due to human error; in this case, utilities should have a system that lets them automatically rebill an individual service or a group of products using the correct rates to avoid tiresome manual processes.
While adjustments are usually made due to errors, there are other reasons why utilities may wish to adjust invoices. For instance, some utilities might give a courtesy adjustment to customers who have excessive water or sewer charges due to a leak on their property. In this case, utilities need their system to calculate the customer’s seasonal average to make sure the adjustment reflects a reasonable value.
Bearing all this in mind, utilities need a billing system that provides them with more control over the billing process, not only for correction of issues before bill delivery but also for quickly resolving issues found on printed invoices. By investing in a system that can deal with these problems, utilities can respond effectively to situations that require billing adjustments while continuing to provide outstanding customer service.