Joburg goes green via digital, MMS, statement but…

The City of Johannesburg is from today presumably standing ready to distribute municipal statements via the mobile phone platform in a move touted as “going green” and improving communication and customer service.

 The City announced last week that it will from the 23rd September 2013 (today) be ready to send municipal statements through multi-media service (mms) channel. The move will be closely watched given the City’s bad reputation when it comes to billing. The City has been faced with wide spread accusation that its billing system is corrupt with many ratepayers complaining of over-billing.

 This is after the City completed piloting the MMS communication which can reach all  customers with active cell phone numbers.

The City said all customers who have not responded during the pilot phase will still receive their printed statements until they have notified the City of their preferred option being – Post, E-mail or MMS. All three offer an audit trail that can give early indications of non-delivery of statements.

Group Finance Spokesperson, Kgamanyane Maphologela said customer service has been made easier now as customers can now receive their bills immediately on their cellphones. The MMS billing also guarantees instant receipt.

“Mobile bill presentment simplifies admin and helps to ensure that people don’t default on their payments simply because they don’t have billing information on hand and gives an option for customers to view their bill directly on their cellphones so they can make immediate payment or query the account on time.” he says.

The City said a key advantage of mobile bill presentation is that it reduces admin and helps ensure that people don’t default simply because they either don’t know how much to pay due to non-receipt of statement via post. This increases convenience for customers and reduces time delay in postage bills.

Maphologela said the City can be more confident about whether their bills are being delivered and be more proactive about dealing with those that are not. So rather than simply hoping that statements are received and paid on time, the City can use proven electronic presentation, and will be able to manage its billing system better and increase convenience for our customers.

All customers who opt to receive statements via the MMS option will only receive one printed statement every three months.

We encourage our customers to see this opportunity as another effort of the City to improve its customer centricity”.

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