In many cases, the water utility billing system is the most underrated software solution today because we take water supply almost for granted. But when we take a deeper look into it, the water supply and management is a complex operation that requires specialized software solutions.
What is water utility billing software?
The water utility billing software is designed for water utility companies to run all of their operations, from managing resources to billing and revenue management. It shares many functionalities with other utility billing software solutions, but it is optimized to suit the unique needs of water utility providers.
Some of these unique features include leakage detection, metered and nonmetered billing, revenue management with Non-Revenue Water analysis, move-in/move-out tracking, and an advanced customer portal, to name a few.
The billing software solution can be used by municipalities or any other government or private water utility provider.
Table of contents
- What is water utility billing software?
- How does a water utility billing software work?
- Features of water utility billing software
- Automating the utility Quote-to-Cash Process
- The Water utility customer experience (CX)
- What is the Water utility Revenue Management Software?
- What water utility billing software to choose?
How does a water utility billing software work?
A modern water utility billing software is preferably a cloud-based solution. It collects data from water meters and transforms them into billable units to process bills and other non-bill payments. The billing is automated, so all billing, payments, collection, and report generation are made with minimum human resources required and no errors.
It also incorporates meter management with leakage detection and notifications if it detects any abnormalities in the water supply chain.
Consequently, Advanced revenue management helps optimize revenue and prevent revenue leakage, including specifics of the water supply industry like Non-Revenue Water.
It also focuses on excellent customer experience (CX), with extensive customer support over a user portal accessed over a web or mobile app to meet customers’ new expectations. Therefore, it enables customers to easily keep track of usage, create comparison reports and reduce their water bills.
The cloud-based water billing software architecture runs on cloud servers to ensure fast accessibility, easy setup with minimal costs, connectivity with third-party applications, and extensive security.
Features of water utility billing software
As mentioned before, a water utility billing software shares most of its features with general utility billing software but also offers some unique features the water industry requires. Some of the key features of this system include:
The provider can see the data for any specific meter, its history, and the bills in the system. The billing software can be synchronized with any standard and digital meters, third-party apps, and automated processes.
Advanced customer management
The system provides a centralized customer database with searchable fields such as customer names, addresses, or phone numbers. The customer account page can be fully customized with other user-defined fields or properties. The provider can quickly access all customers’ records, billing and usage history, pricing plans, notes, and various reports. That helps agents when interacting with customers and provides a better customer experience.
Metered billing & Nonmetered billing
Reading devices automatically update their meter readings. Therefore, the software can perform metered billing and bill the customers based on their usage. The system also supports the billing of utilities at flat rates or one-time charges that can occur as special events or with high-volume customers.
With real-time intelligent data analytics, the system detects and creates alerts if any unusual activities or water supply abnormalities occur. It’s a fast and effective way to prevent water leakages, incorrect meter readings, or water theft, resulting in incorrect billing and customer disputes. It is also the correct way to ensure water conservation.
Move-in and move-out
Move-in/move-out function is unique to the utility business. It means that if the customer changes the location (move-in/move-out) at any time in the billing cycle, the billing is done correctly to the day the change occurs.
Customer interface & Online payment
With a customer interface and online payment processing, the utility providers can offer flexible online payment options that include email invoices and an option to combine multiple bills. The customer interface provides the customers with a complete record of payment transactions and payment history and enables customer support or changes in their plans.
The interface is accessible over a web browser or via the provider’s mobile application.
Web and mobile Self-Care
A mobile Self-Care solution is the upgrade of the customers’ interface. The web and mobile self-care apps provide enhanced customer care 24/7 services with tailored offers, outbound care that reduces stress on call centers, immediate help, and customer feedback.
It also informs the customers about possible disturbances in the water supply or any other relevant events.
Water utility Revenue Management software
Water loss is a specific problem in revenue management that water utility providers face. Read more on this topic below.
IoT and 5G connectivity
Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are coming fast to utility industries. Water utility providers implement IoT technology with smart meters and the newest sensors. With the emerging 5G technology, IoT and 5G connectivity will transform the industry and is a must for any utility software.
Automating the utility Quote-to-Cash Process
Quote-to-cash term describes the entire end-to-end sales process. The process starts with product configuration, pricing, quoting, customer acceptance, ordering, and managing revenue.
In today’s economy, it is essential that the utility companies integrate, streamline and automate the Quote-to-Cash process to be efficient.
Six basic steps in the quote-to-cash process must be automated.
Six steps of the Quote-to-Cash process
- Configuration of service
The customer, preferably over the customer interface, selects precisely what services they want and their specifications.
- Price & Quote
The sales department or the software automatization determines the exact cost of services and the quoted price. Then the customer receives the quote (contract) for the selected services.
- Signing the contract
When the customer receives the quote and (digitally) signs the contract, the provider will automatically enable the agreed services.
- Automated Billing
When the services are enabled, the billing is done automatically on the agreed day of the month. If the payment is not received, the dunning process will start automatically to ensure the payment is collected.
- Revenue management
The real-time analytics of the software continuously analyzes the processes, prepares reports, keeps track of revenue, and makes suggestions to improve the process.
- Upsell, Cross-sell, and renewal
Based on tracking their consumer behavior, the provider will offer the customers additional services that could benefit them. As a result, the customers can renew the order or accept offers for cross-selling or upselling products and services.
The utility companies must automate their Quote-to-Cash processes to utilize their resources fully, lower costs, and unlock their ability to predict, monitor, and realize expected revenue from the services provided.
So, how to automate the quote-to-cash process? Certainly easiest by selecting the right water utility billing software.
The Water utility customer experience (CX)
The water utility customer experience is a term that describes the impression that the customers have about their utility provider. This impression is based on every interaction they have with the provider’s brand.
The customer experience includes all interactions with its customers, be it billing, solving disputes, providing information, or helping the customers with their problems.
In the last years, the changes in customer behavior have been significant. Customers more than ever desire a fast, easy, and personalized interaction with the provider.
Above all, they value transparency in pricing and billing. Customers want to know what they are paying and how to manage their usage to control or reduce their water bills.
With the digitalization, they expect the water utility sector to follow and reduce the need for paperwork or physical visits to providers’ offices to manage their services.
By implementing technologies like Web and mobile Self-Care apps, the utility providers improve the customer experience. At the same time can reduce operational costs and improve the efficiency of their staff.
The customer experience transformations revolve around self-service and digital channels that any modern utility software must provide.
What is the Water utility Revenue Management Software?
A revenue management system is a software tool that helps businesses predict demand and other consumer behaviors with extensive data analytics. This tool lets utility providers set the correct pricing and make distribution choices to maximize profits and prevent revenue leakage.
Water utility providers face a specific problem since they all face water loss that affects their revenue. Surprisingly, only a few have the tools to address this issue effectively.
That is why establishing an effective revenue management strategy is essential for water suppliers to ensure the sustainability of their business.
The term that describes these losses is Non Revenue Water or NRW.
Non Revenue Water occurs because of water leakages through damaged water pipes or missing and faulty water meters. In addition to that, water loss also occurs from water theft by unauthorized consumers or by non-paying consumers.
Billing and revenue management is easy with an intelligent water utility billing system. Utilities can recover significant revenue by reducing their water loss or Non-revenue Water.
The software and reports will identify the problems. The utility provider can then address these problems according to the difficulty or costs the issues will require to fix. They can, for instance, replace the faulty water meters or decide to renew all the damaged pipes. It can also help identify water theft and, most importantly, prevent inaccurate billing that causes a lot of disputes and customer dissatisfaction.
All this will bring new streams of revenue and improve revenue growth.
What water utility billing software to choose?
Although water utility companies face little or no competition, they must still provide excellent services to their customers and for a fair price. Therefore, they must keep a tight lock on their costs, invest in infrastructure and make informed business choices. This is impossible without a modern, intelligent water utility billing software that includes all the functionalities mentioned above and more.
At Tridens, we work closely with companies from the energy and utility industries to provide each sector with a tailored solution that meets the needs of a fast-developing industry.
Want to get more information about our solutions? Leave a comment below or Schedule a Demo!