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5 Reasons Customers Will Love ‘Free Online Immediate Pay’

by on January 9, 2017
Free Online Immediate Pay allows customers to instantly make a payment.

 

(Story by Shanelle Hinkle-Moore)

AEP Customer Operations Centers recently launched a new free service that allows paperless billing customers to make an “immediate payment” for their electric service, via a checking or money market account. Here are five reasons customers will love this payment option.

  1. It’s free!
    Customers have many ways to pay their bill immediately: over the phone, at a pay station, kiosk, or online. But, these options come with a convenience fee which can frustrate some customers. “One of our biggest customer complaints is, ‘Why is there an extra charge to pay my bill?’” Lindsay Chambers, functional system analyst associate, explained. The Free Online Immediate Pay option is another benefit for customers to switch to paperless billing.
  2. It’s quick
    Paperless billing customers can log-in online and make a real-time electronic check payment. The “immediate payment” will be applied to a customer’s account seconds later, empowering Customer Operations Center agents to accurately and quickly respond to service requests.
  3. Helps Retain or Start Electric Service
    Immediate Pay means faster response for electric service, which is good news for customers with time-sensitive transaction needs, such as last minute bill payments to avoid disconnection or late fees, or to make a security deposit to start electric service. It also helps customers to stop payment collection activities or initiate service restoration.
  4. Provides More Flexibility
    Previously, paperless billing customers only had the option to schedule future payments. The Free Online Immediate Pay adds more variety to the list of choices customers can consider to meet their needs.
  5. It’s Easy to Use
    Customers can enroll for paperless billing and make an immediate payment all in one transaction. The smooth customer experience for paperless billing customers to make an immediate payment that “is as easy as click, click, click,” said Chambers.

Why This Matters

An AEP Strategy for the Future is a Customer Experience (CX) where customers’ needs are met or exceeded. Free Online Immediate Pay demonstrates one way the company listens to customer’s concerns and improves technology and business processes to develop a solution. “CX is the main driver behind this first free digital immediate payment option that is both quick and easy to use. This new feature allows our paperless billing customers to make a free immediate payment, which provides a win-win for the customer and the company,” said Diane Moore-Nichter, credit policy and payment administration manager.

It also supports our goals to encourage customers to enroll for paperless billing which lower operations and maintenance costs and increase J.D. Power scores in customer satisfaction. After seeing a demonstration of Immediate Pay, Roger O’Dell, customer operations center manager, said, “It’s an outstanding opportunity to respond to the voice of the customer. The enhancements to the system are intuitive which will lead to reduced customer frustration and effort. It includes safeguards that help decrease customer complaints and avoids duplicate payments. It is another step forward in improving the CX.”

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