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What is CIS Billing and How Can It Improve Utility Customer Experience?

Utility providers need accurate accounting of the supply of energy, gas, water, and other utilities to consumers. Nevertheless, the most vital is error-free billing. However, even these operations are not enough to run a utility business successfully. In the modern world, it is impossible to win the sympathy of consumers without effective communication. CIS utility billing software solves all these tasks and creates a strong basis for interaction between utility suppliers and customers. Find out how a CIS utility billing system can help improve the customer experience and retain customers in an increasingly competitive market.

What Is CIS Utility Billing?

What Is CIS Utility Billing

A Customer Information System (CIS) is a centralized hub for communicating with utility consumers and storing all data about servicing and payments. Its operation is ensured by special software packages that consider all the needs of the CIS billing system. The following common functions are most often included in the work of the CIS platform:

  • Customer communication;
  • Meter reading management;
  • Billing;
  • Calculation of tariff plans;
  • Connecting, disconnecting, or suspending the service;
  • Accounts receivable and much more.

What is a Customer Information System (CIS) in Utilities and Billing?

The CIS billing system collects all information about the consumed utility and calculates the cost of the service by tariff plans. Since the final price of the service depends on many factors, all of them should be considered when creating the invoice. 

Consumers can see how the price they pay for utility companies’ services is formed. Thanks to the transparency of CIS billing and accurate accounting of utility consumption, trusting relationships between suppliers and customers will develop. 

A modern CIS utility billing solution differs significantly from the software of previous generations since it includes features not previously offered by providers:

  • Customer notifications about changes in tariff plans, debts, special offers, etc.;
  • Loan management for those clients who prefer to pay for utilities in installments;
  • Interactive customer services for quick response to all customer requests or complaints;
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) to manage personal consumer accounts and use them as a quick communication channel.

All these features are auxiliary to billing, but customer service will not be satisfactory without their effective implementation. Today’s consumers are accustomed to having direct access to service providers and all their consumption data. CIS billing systems may set up this direct communication channel and provide billing transparency.

How Cloud-Based CIS Utility Billing Fits into Your Operations

Cloud-Based CIS Utility Billing

The CIS billing system operates on the principle of a database. However, unlike traditional databases, all information in CIS billing is centralized, segmented, and unified. This allows you to get quick access to any blocks of information without separating it from the total mass of data. In addition, CIS billing systems can be used to build predictive models using AI and ML tools. Here are just some of the key opportunities for integrating Cloud-based CIS billing into the activities of utility companies.

Data Organization

Utility companies serve many consumers, receiving regular streams of information about their meter data, payments, ordering services, changes in tariff plans, etc. CIS billing systems allow you to combine all this data and store it in the Cloud, having constant access not limited by company office hours. As a result, customer service improves since company employees always have access to consumer data, no matter when they contact the support service through their accounts.

Information Segmentation

Data segmentation is necessary to structure it to facilitate further processing. For example, if you want to predict debt risks, you need to work with information on late payments. However, information about meter readings will be irrelevant in this case. Thus, by segmenting information, you significantly facilitate the work of employees, saving on the time and effort required to implement each specific task.

Relationship Management

Addressing customer concerns immediately is key to customer retention. If they have any questions, doubts, or difficulties, the company’s immediate response signals to them that all their problems will be resolved. The advantage of utility customer information systems is that they offer a quick communication channel with company representatives. Moreover, many consumer questions disappear when they log into their account and see a detailed record of their consumption and payments.

How CIS Billing Systems Can Improve the Customer Experience

 CIS Billing Systems Can Improve the Customer Experience

Customer satisfaction is more than just a nice bonus for utility providers. It is one of the key factors affecting a company’s profit, and it is no less important than timely bill payments. This determines the importance of customer information systems for utilities, which become an effective platform for interaction with consumers. With the help of the CIS billing system, the utility provider can solve many current problems.

Accurate Billing

An automated consumption accounting system and accurate billing help avoid misunderstandings and disagreements with consumers. The intermediary in the form of an employee who calculates the cost of the consumed utility is excluded from CIS billing. Along with this, errors in billing also disappear.

Real-Time Updates

The lag between consuming the utility and receiving payment information disappears. The CIS system allows consumers to see their consumption figures and the price they must pay at any time. This eliminates possible distrust in the company and doubts about the final figures in the bills.

Fast Processing of Consumer Appeals

The speed of communication with company representatives largely determines consumer satisfaction with its services. Any consumer may have questions, complaints, and suggestions. With the help of CIS billing systems, they will receive instant feedback and feel that their interests are respected.

Data Consolidation

All client data will be stored in one place, which means no information about consumers’ payments or requests can be lost. In addition, CIS users will not have to enter the same data over and over again at the provider’s request. This also has a positive effect on the company’s image and clients’ positive attitudes towards it.

Improving Marketing Campaigns

Since utility companies’ employees will see all consumer data, they will be able to develop more personalized marketing campaigns. Using various filters that can be configured in CIS utility billing software, they will be able to identify the target audience they need and send them personalized offers.

Instant Notifications

To effectively communicate with consumers, it is important to hear their requests and questions and talk to them. CIS billing systems provide a communication channel through which companies can instantly notify customers about tariff changes, preventive maintenance, debts, and other issues.

Visibility of All Operations and Tasks

Having access to the CIS billing system, company employees will see all current and unresolved tasks. These could be unpaid bills, requests to replace meters, doubts about the chosen tariff plan, etc. In this way, they will be able to respond more effectively to all requests or calls and confirm the image of the company as capable of solving all assigned tasks.

Find out the Benefits of CIS Billing on the Use Cases

Benefits of CIS Billing

If you want to know the features of CIS integration for utility billing, visit the MaxBill website. It is a leader in the development of CIS billing software for utility providers, offering solutions to enhance their businesses. MaxBill software allows you to automate routine billing work and set up personalized service for your clients using a CIS system. Get acquainted with numerous successful cases of CIS software integration collected over almost three decades of serving utility companies. If you need ideas on integrating CIS billing into your company, contact MaxBill for advice. You will receive a cost-effective solution that will settle many current challenges and create a solid foundation for future development.

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