Do you reconnect after hours?
For customers who are cut off for non-payment, will you reconnect them after your office is closed?
Fee survey results
In a utility fee survey I conducted in 2012, only 41.7% of the responding utilities reconnect after hours.
If your utility is in the majority and doesn’t reconnect after hours, why should you consider doing so? Let’s look at a couple of good reasons…
It’s good customer service
Many of your customers are at work while your office is open and may come home to find their service disconnected. Sure, they didn’t pay their bill on time and now they have to pay a reconnect fee to be turned back on. But why not provide good customer service and avail them of the opportunity to have their service restored that evening?
There’s revenue to be made
The utilities I referenced above charge an after hours reconnect fee (over and above the normal reconnect fee) ranging from $20.00 to $185.00! In keeping with the concept of assessing fees to customers who use the service, why not charge enough to cover your costs?
Many utilities pay a minimum of two hours call-in pay for employees who are called back to work. If you set your after-hours reconnect fee high enough to cover two hours of overtime pay (plus benefits) and the fuel cost for the vehicle, you’ve covered your costs.
Automate the process
Imagine this scenario…
Your customer comes home to find their service disconnected and a door hangar informing them of why they were cut off. Printed on the door hangar is your office website. They log into your fully integrated online bill pay system, pay their bill and the system determines if they are paying within your after hours time frame. If they are, it offers them the opportunity to pay the additional fee and be reconnected that evening. Once they finalize the payment, an e-mail is sent to the on-call service technician’s cell phone.
How simple is that?