Buyers Guide Content
- What is Utility Billing Software?
- Common Features of Utility Billing Software
- Benefits of Utility Billing Software
- Market Trends for Utility Billing Software
- Key Considerations for Buying Utility Billing Software
What is Utility Billing Software?
Utility billing software is used to manage customer information and invoices of various facilities such as water, gas, electricity, waste management services & more. Utility companies use such software to record customer data, process daily reading meters, calculate and produce billing amounts for utility usage, raise or track service requests.
An effective utility bill management software comes across as a one-stop solution for all your utility needs. These software systems can be cloud-based, or on-premises and provide end-to-end billing functions.
Common Features of Utility Billing Software
Some of the most common capabilities of utility billing software are:
- Customer management: Top utility billing software provides centralized customer database, which includes contact details, services provided, billing and interaction history and more. Hence, these types of software not only offer a way to collect payments but also form an integral part of your customer management.
- Meter management: Upload meter data automatically into the system and view complete historical usage. Meter reading offers various advantages including greater accuracy in measuring data usage, automated alerts for the utility, customers, and technicians. Additionally, users may even alert technicians if meter readings appear unusual.
- Rate management: Designed to manage utility rate calculations and track rate changes, utility billing software integrates seamlessly with major financial system. You no longer have to worry about adjusted rates and create separate schedules for various locations.
- Account management: This is a crucial feature of top utility billing systems. You can view all important and searchable account information in one place such as customer name, phone number, address & more. As per the specific need of the utility provider, customer account pages can be further customized.
- Online payment option: Digital payment system is an inevitable component and is important in expanding your audience base. The best utility billing software not only offers a flexible mode of payment to their customers but also keeps past transaction records. This option helps one to make payments directly through payment gateways provided by the software.
- Move-in/ move-out: The move in or move out feature of electricity billing software is unique to the utility business. It tracks the date when a customer moves to or from the location where the meter reading device is installed. It means even if the customer changes the location at any time during the billing cycle, the billing is made correctly.
- Metered billing: A billing structure that charges customers based on their usage of the product/service. It typically incorporates a unit of usage and charges a fixed amount per month. If your company’s running costs increase directly to customer usage, metered billing might be the perfect price strategy for you.
- Nonmetered billing: Nonmetered billing is the type of billing structure that does not require a metered reading. The billing for utilities in such a setup is through fixed one-time charges.
Benefits of Utility Billing Software
Read on to know the several benefits of using cloud-based utility billing software.
- Collecting usage data: A common role of any utility software is to track usage-based billing. The collection of this data can be done via integrated meter reading solutions or even through a third-party meter reading system. Regardless of the setup, utility usage information will be collected efficiently.
- Invoice creation: Be it water utility software or electricity billing software, you will get access to a range of features all designed to save your valuable time. The software is well designed to automate invoice creation process and delivery.
- Manage multiple locations: For a single client having properties across numerous locations, utility billing system software helps manage bills separately or as a single invoice. This totally depends upon the preference of a customer.
- Data security: Many of the cloud-based utility billing software offer encrypted data backups. These systems offer bank level encryption and provide safe and secure transaction experience. This in turn helps users build cordial customer relations.
- 24/7 access: It is essential that your water billing software allows 24/7 access so that customers can log in to their account as and when it is appropriate for them.
Market Trends for Utility Billing Software
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) model: SaaS or subscription-based model is becoming more popular for all types of utility-based systems. The benefit of SaaS model is quite compelling as it includes quicker implementation and affordable subscriptions.
Custom utility billing software: Such type of software caters to your unique workflow so that it fits in your CRM effortlessly. Currently, buyers are looking for utility software solutions that is customized to meet their specific needs while improving efficiency.
Key Considerations for Buying Utility Billing Software
Here are a few crucial factors to look for before you buy your utility billing software.
- Integration requirements: Check whether the utility billing software you intend to buy provides easy mechanisms to integrate with business tools you use such as PayPal, QuickBooks etc.
- Deployment options: As utility billing solutions are available in both cloud-based and on-premises options, analyze the short term and long-term cost differences between the two.
- Meet industry standards: Utility billing software solutions involve payment from customers and hence it is crucial to see if it complies with industry standards such as PCI DSS.
- Customer support: Yes, it is important to not only make your purchase decision based on the modules of the utility billing system but also as per the post-sales customer support.
- Focus on functionality: Going for a particular software only because of the features is not the right approach. It is essential that you check the functionality of the software first and figure out if it fulfills your business requirements.
- Do your research: It is important to do your research before investing in software to determine if it is ideal for your business. Don’t fix your mind on brands offering standard billing software services.