Streamlined payment processing means more time for customer service

Heather Olivier, February 18, 2020

When the City of Gulfport, Mississippi adopted our Bill Pay Direct Post service, they were able to substantially reduce daily payment processing, freeing up staff to better serve residents. Here’s how we helped them provide better customer service to the citizens of Mississippi’s second largest city.

 

Every day, another pile of checks

Officials in the city’s utility department explained to me how much time it took to process the water and sewer bill payments residents were sending through their banks’ bill pay services. They shared how each day they received a large envelope with 50 to 100 bill pay utility payments. On heavy days, two office staffers spent up to two hours to open them all, pull up the appropriate account numbers in their system, and then complete the posting process.

 

I showed them how we could arrange to have the various bill pay services send the checks they were printing for the residents to Hancock Whitney — instead of their office — and the bank would process them and send them an electronic file each day that they could post to their accounting system in minutes.

 

Streamlined payment processing means more time for customer service

Left to right, Treasury Services Sales Specialist Heather Olivier and Institutional Banking Representative Jennifer King. The City of Gulfport's adoption of Bill Pay Direct Post has allowed staff to save time and provide better service to utility customers.

 

Better customer service plus a robust menu of payment options

The city benefited in two main ways. The first is that with the time they save every day by eliminating bill pay processing they’ve been able to have staffers take on different duties that improve customer service. In addition, they have been able to devote more staff time to answering the hundreds of calls their office receives from residents each day regarding their utility accounts. The city's adoption of Bill Pay Direct Post has allowed staff to save time and provide better service to utility customers.

 

The second big benefit is that it’s helped them to be able to continue to offer online bill pay as a convenient payment option. It’s important for the city to enhance the customer experience by offering residents a range of payment options — everything from in-person cash, check or credit card payments at either of their two offices, to mailing a check to a lockbox, to online credit card and Automated Clearing House (ACH) credit and debit alternatives.

 

The city receives as many as 1,700 online bill pay payments a month, representing about $115,000 in receipts. Those payments comprise only about 6% of their total number of utility payments. But it’s the method those residents are most comfortable with, and by eliminating the drain on staff time using Bill Pay Direct Post, they can continue offering it as a payment option.

 

If processing significant volumes of payments made through online bill payment is a concern or a burden to your staff, Bill Pay Direct Post is definitely a service worth looking into. It has saved the City of Gulfport a lot of time that they can now focus on their customers.

 

Interested in learning more about how Bill Pay Direct Post can streamline your payment processing? Simply complete the form below and one of our Treasury Services Specialists will contact you.