How do you handle payment plans…?
From time to time, usually due to leaks or personal financial situations, customers end up with extremely high bills. If your utility is like most I work with, you likely offer customers in this situation the opportunity to set up a payment plan.
Are you tracking them manually?
Unless your billing software has the ability to track payment plans, you probably do this manually. Usually, this means keeping a list of customers with payment plans and checking the cut-off list on cut-off day. If the customer has paid their monthly installment, you delete them. If not, you leave them on the list to be cut off.
Pretty tedious, isn’t it?
Is there a better way?
Of course there is!
Why not adjust the total amount of the payment plan off the customer’s account and bill the monthly installment back to their account each month?
No need to check the cut-off list each month
Your customer no longer has a large outstanding balance and they must pay the full amount due each month, eliminating the need to scrutinize the cut-off list for accounts with payment plans.
This means creating a new service for installment payments and adding that service to each account with a payment plan. Ideally, your billing software provides the functionality of an installment service that automatically becomes inactive after the final installment is billed.
Even if it doesn’t, your manual list becomes a list of installment services to deactivate each month rather than checking every payment plan against the cut-off list.