A customer information system (CIS) is more than just a platform used for billing and paying. It’s also an important aspect of the meter-to-cash process: the day-to-day need for a utility or energy provider to reliably meter usage of a variety of commodities—such as natural gas or water—generate an accurate bill, and optimize its revenue cycle.
In the past, CIS billing systems were solely seen as a cash register for the utility. They were also generally viewed as fairly rigid, which significantly limited their effectiveness. Unfortunately, many utilities still utilize these outdated systems, unaware that vast technological strides have been made during the past few years.
How CIS Billing Systems Can Improve the Customer Experience
Today, cloud CIS billing systems provide several benefits for utilities and their customers, including:
- Offering an enhanced utility experience, leading to improved operational efficiency.
- Considering the customer experience, boosting customer satisfaction.
- Allowing for more accurate billing.
- Helping to improve upcoming or new marketing campaigns.
- Providing customer bill savings by reducing peak demand.
- Granting customers insight and control over their consumption and costs.
- Tracking and recording consumer insights and data analytics.
Previously, utilities had very few ways to document information about their customer interactions. The storage and transmission of that data across utility departments were difficult, creating a major obstacle in establishing meaningful customer relationships.
Today, modern utility CIS billing systems have the capability to run billing processes and function as a customer relationship management system. This technology gives each customer unique identification and allows your customer service representatives to manage, document, and file every interaction, complaint, change of service, and more.
CIS Billing and Utility Operations
Cloud-based CIS billing maintains customer relationships with less complication and error.
It can be difficult for utilities to seamlessly and accurately oversee metered consumption, customer information, and program details such as payment plans, terms of service, etc. Overcoming this challenge is even more difficult when overseeing customer data for a large population that’s distributed across a wide geographical area. However, a state-of-the-art CIS billing system allows these businesses to manage, schedule, and monitor any work carried out for customers, such as collections, equipment requirements, work order, statuses, meter checking, and more. Modern CIS also allows utilities to easily accomodate intricate local or state-based regulations and rate plans.
Advanced tools also allow utilities to manage and organize large service areas and rapidly-expanding customer groups. This system monitors and stores rate structures, customer bills, service requests, and customer changes, allowing businesses to segment large amounts of information into smaller, more manageable components to identify errors and ensure excellent service for your customers.
Modern utility customer information systems are crucial for improving and maintaining good relationships with your customers. We’ve all had the experience of calling a company and having to explain our situation multiple times to various CSRs. This lack of account knowledge is both damaging and annoying to customers, and it prohibits CSRs from doing their jobs effectively.
With the ability to document and track all customer interactions, CSRs are armed with the information they need to address customer concerns immediately and provide resolutions to issues that occur.
Learn More About How CIS Billing Can Benefit You
For more information on how a comprehensive CIS platform can enhance the customer experience and reduce operational costs, download our Guide to the Ultimate Utility Customer Information System. You'll find a technology roadmap for meeting your goals, a self-assessment worksheet to plan for the future, and a tool to identify the costs of your current CIS system.