MASTERCLASSING

Text Your Gas Bill

David Murphy

DataServe UK has appointed mobile agency Incentivated to build and host a meter-reading service that enables its customers to text their gas and electricity meter readings to the company.
With energy suppliers required by law to take an actual reading only once every two years, and estimate in between, the service will enable Dataserve to bill its customers accurately, reducing the incidence of overpayment, and, where bills are under-estimated, the accumulation of debts.
Dataserve, which consists of the former Scottish Power and Manweb metering, registrations and settlements businesses, appointed Incentivated following a trial of the service late last year in the North west of England, and Scotland. The trial identified a willingness among customers to use the service, as well as a high rate of accuracy for the readings submitted.
After the reading has been submitted, the customer receives a return text message, either confirming the reading, or pointing out where it looks like an error has been made.
This is an obvious application, but it takes a forward-thinking client like Dataserve to put it into practice says Incentivated managing director, Jonathan Bass. Offering a range of choices, such as text messaging, alongside IVR, online and postal options has to be the right choice for simple interactivity such as this. The mobile medium is the preferred channel for more and more people, and it happens to be a method that should drastically reduce Dataserves cost of meter reading acquisition as well.

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