event

BillButler is the angel on the bill payers' shoulder

by Megan Roelofs
Posted on July 03, 2019

Keeping track of your different utility bills should be straightforward. When Gurvinder, Director at BillButler, optimistically tried to get his bills organised, he quickly experienced how easy it is to get lost in the myriad of your bills. How much you pay, when contracts expire, or whether you’re on a good deal or not are factors that significantly complicate the matter. Since the majority of households in the United Kingdom can have up to ten recurring bills and subscriptions, BillButler hopes to help many get a grip on their bills.

When Gurvinder tried to get a firm grip on his recurring bills, it quickly turned out to be much more difficult than expected: “Unbeknown to me, the cost of my mobile phone, broadband and energy had all crept up and I was overpaying for these services at a time when I really couldn’t afford to. I couldn’t find most of my bills and I wasn’t sure if I was in a contract or free to renegotiate prices with my utility suppliers. It took hours and many calls to different suppliers to start getting some sense of control. By the end of the day I discovered my broadband and mobile contract had expired, of which they hadn’t notified my. I realized that being passive over my bills wasn’t financially good for me”.

“We’re the angel on the bill payers’ shoulder, helping them to keep on top of bills and make better financial decisions.”

An angel on the bill payers' shoulder
After speaking with others, Gurvinder realized he wasn’t alone when it came to being passive over his bills. It convinced him to start BillButler: “BillButler brings all your bills into a single app on your phone, you can see your different suppliers in one place, access your bills, see how much you’ve been spending since you joined them, when your contract ends and how much you can save by switching. We have really worked on our AI capability to pull out all the data from peoples’ real bills and display it in a simple, engaging way. We’re the angel on the bill payers’ shoulder, helping them to keep on top of bills and make better financial decisions.”

“Many suppliers know that a high percentage of customers won’t switch after their initial contract ends. This allows them to start to overcharge for the same service.”

Gurvinder also aims to help people seek out better deals for their subscriptions: “What typically happens is that you see a great offer for a mobile or energy supplier and you eagerly sign-up. But when your contract ends, your monthly price increases by 50%, for example, because you’re now out of contract. Many suppliers know that a high percentage of customers won’t switch after their initial contract ends. This allows them to start to overcharge for the same service.” The statistics back up Gurvinder’s claim: “According the OFCOM, the UK telecoms regulator, there are six million households on expired broadband contracts and eight people on expired mobile phone contracts. The number of households on variable energy contracts is even higher.”

A new way of helping
Gurvinder’s BillButler aims to have a much closer and better-informed relationship with its users than their competition: “The main competitors are comparison websites who have in-frequent transactional relationships with their users. Comparison websites spend a lot of money on marketing to attract potential users and loyalty seems to be limited”. In comparison, BillButler has monthly touch points with its users. “We send them their bills and display bill them in simple diagrams. We alert users when their contract expires and recommend other deals based on their real usage. We really want to engage households who are normally too busy to keep track of their bills or feel financially stretched”.

Nudges and insights
Besides a more long-term relationship with their customers, BillButler is also unique for using scientific-based nudges and insights. Before participating in the TFI Growth Track, only the top 5 cheapest deals would be shown. However, our TFI Researchers suggested to tweak the BillButler app on this aspect: “The TFI programme taught us that many people feel comfortable with sticking to a status quo, they like staying with their current supplier, but just want to pay less. Because of that, we are working to make sure that the search results also feature at least one deal from the existing supplier.” Other nudges and insights added during this programme are based on the idea that people like to copy others’ behaviour. This resulted in the finding that many people are prone to, for instance, pick a mobile phone provider when they know that many people in their neighbourhood are with the same supplier.

“From our B2C perspective, we have seen an improvement in our conversion rate since participation.”

TFI Growth Track
The TFI Growth Track did not only help BillButler through adding nudges and insights: “Together we made changes to the messaging used in our app and to some of the customer processes. These prompts make it easier and more interesting for the consumer to sign up. TFI also definitely helped us with the selling side of business. From our B2C perspective, we have seen an improvement in our conversion rate since participation.” However, the shared philosophy and aim to help people is what brought them the most: “TFI is about helping people make better financial decisions. They help people that are one or two unexpected bills away from a big financial problem. I look at the United Kingdom and see that it is similar to Europe, and I want to help those people in the same way. TFI reminds us to stick to our company goal, to our ethos and passion in what we are trying to do.”

The future
Besides further developing the product, Bill Butler has many ambitions for the future: “We want to partner with large financial institutions and SME banks to offer our service to a much larger user base. We believe that banks can become a bigger financial control centre for their users. Instead of just using your banking app to make payments, they could help their consumers see their real bills and help them save money.”

Want to know more about BillButler? Check our selected start-ups or their LinkedIn or Twitter!