Case Study

LCEC Saves $3M a Year With Expanded Payment Options

ACI Customer Excellence Awards Video: Lee County Electric Cooperative

LCEC is a rural cooperative. We were founded almost 75 years ago in the Orange Groves of North Fort Myers to provide our customers reliable power. As a cooperative we are member owned, so everything we do here is about our customers. LCEC has been working with ACI since 2009 when we first rolled out our debit card credit card acceptance program.

The payment channels that ACI has provided LCEC encompass our website, our phones, and also our mobile app. Today’s customers want different ways to pay for their services. Our customers just want to be able to pull out their mobile app, pick and choose whatever options are more convenient for them. In the past we only had two payment options. Right now, our customers have such a vast variety of touch points to get payments to us, where in the past they didn’t, which increases customer satisfaction greatly.

The change in the mail payments has actually dropped from 60% of our customers back in 2009 mailing it, down to 20%.

Our customer experience indexes, how we measure our customer satisfaction, we have several surveys that we send out and one of them would be our post call survey, which is given to our customers by the representatives at the end of every call. Since we have been partnered with ACI, we have seen our customer satisfaction increase dramatically. Implementing the ACI solution has helped employee satisfaction because they feel they have a way to help customers.

Our experience with ACI has been exceptional. At least we went through an RFP process back in 2009 to see who was going to be the right partner for us. ACI has done that. They have been collaborative. We’ve had a number of discussions with the field staff and the product team about what offerings do our customers need. We have closed down two of our offices by providing our customers more convenient ways of paying. We are using that $3 million savings that we are getting each year and putting it back into our business. One in maintaining our rates if not actually lowering our rates as costs have gone up in other processes, we’ve been able now to absorb that into our operation and actually had a price decrease this year, which is one of the few electric utilities that has done that.

ACI provides us what is coming in the horizon. They let us know what options are available to us so that we can make the right choice for our customers.

For a long time, cash and check were the only means of bill payment for LCEC utilities. But in less than four years, LCEC has added numerous options including web, mobile, IVR and authorized payment stations. 

By meeting their customers where they want to be met today and in the future, LCEC executed an electronic bill payment strategy that raises customer satisfaction and lowers costs.

Expensive Bill Payment Centers Stymied Growth

LCEC customers had limited options for paying their utility bill, and operating costs for LCEC’s walk-in bill payment centers was $3 million per year, which represented 60% of their annual budget. LCEC wanted the ability to offer convenient payment options to increase customer satisfaction while lowering the cost of their payment centers.

Multi-Channel Bill Payment Experience Expands Choice

Working with ACI Worldwide, LCEC created a consistent, multi-channel bill payment experience for their customers. They implemented IVR (interactive voice response), mobile browser and web payment channels using the ACI Speedpay solution. By leveraging ACI’s hosted, PCI-compliant solution, it enabled LCEC to accept credit card payments without bearing the cost of interchange.

New System Slashes Costs, Drives Change

Customers have flocked to LCEC’s new convenient electronic bill payment options, decreasing their use of mailed checks from 60% of payments in 2008 down to 20% in September 2013. Now 66% of payments are processed electronically. ACI’s Speedpay solutions enabled LCEC to close down two bill payment centers, resulting in a $3 million annual cost savings. By offering convenient, electronic payment options to their customers, LCEC increased their customer satisfaction by 10%, proving it’s possible to lower costs, while increasing customer satisfaction.