Customer Service and Billing – An Energy Industry Case Study

Work Smarter - Workflow90% of all electronic correspondence is still conducted through email. Customer service and billing are no exception, as many companies send their billings through mass email or directly from an accounts receivable clerk electronically.  What happens to all those emails that are stored in your service rep’s inbox?  Worse, what happens when an electronic billing bounces back due to an invalid customer email address?

The Problem:  

Customer Billing:  One of our energy customers sends over 100,000 mass emails per month and on average they receive approximately 5,000 bounce backs for each send.  When emails bounce, they spend thousands of labor hours each year reconciling the bounced email address with the account number and customer address, so that a regular snail mail billing can then be sent out via US mail to the customer address.  And of course when 5% of your customers aren’t in receipt of a bill, this affects their ability to pay on time and the company cash flow.

Customer Service:  Separately, the customer service department is handling hundreds of email communications per day with customer inquiries and issues.  When customers email customer support, this typically triggers a sequence of events based around the correspondence.  For example, a customer inquires about the total amount on their billing statement or service interruptions, then customer support needs to involve accounts receivable or the field service team to handle the issue.  In all, there may be 10-20 emails internally and externally about the particular customer issue.  The customer correspondence and open tickets need to be tracked so that everyone can stay on the same page in order to optimize the customer experience.  #customersatisfaction=customerretention

This particular customer had 3 full time data entry clerks, manually importing and filing each email related back to the customer and their support ticket.  Although they kept the communications in their original electronic format, this still equates to approximately 6,000 labor hours per year.

The Solution:  

The energy company needed a two-pronged solution;  for billing, the solution needed to automatically pickup bounced emails and decipher if the email was actually invalid or if there was another cause for the bounce.  The second was an integrated solution with Microsoft Outlook, where customer reps could easily tag and track all customer related emails based on their customer name, account number, and the support ticket.  In both scenarios, the email would be automatically uploaded to a CRM or document management system where they would be stored for centralized search and access.  With Email Manager’s “Tag-Once-Technology” all customer related emails would be classified and captured automatically.  Once the emails are received or sent, a workflow can be triggered and notifications are sent to all involved parties, where applicable.

In the mass email, customer billing scenario, one of the workflows actually triggers an event with their variable data printing solution, Planet Press.  Planet Press generates the customer invoice,  then prints, folds, and preps the invoice for mailing.  This now happens without any human intervention.

The Impact:

With Email Manager’s integration for both Microsoft Outlook and Exchange, the customer was able to save more than 10,000 labor hours per year while at the same time improving their cash flow with on time collections. Additionally, the customer service department can now focus on inbound inquiries and customer satisfaction, having eliminated the manual filing of email communications and the subsequent follow up with accounts receivable and the field service team.  Field techs and accounts receivable representatives are more productive as they are able to access the chain of events and conversations from their records systems in real time.

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Get Organized with Automated Classification and Capture

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