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South East Water to offer electronic billing

London-based Application Service Provider (ASP) and e-services company, iDesk pIc, today announced that its Electronic Bill Payment and Presentation (EBPP) technology, ebillity, is to be trialed by South East Water. Initially, state-of-the-art electronic billing will be offered to a selected group, with the ultimate aim of making this available to all customers by the autumn.

The company, which supplies water to 1.5 million people in Sussex, Kent, Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire will offer customers the option of accessing their water statements through a range of consumer technology devices. In today's market, this would be PC browsers, IVRs and fax, and in time, emerging products such as WAP-enabled mobile devices and digital TV, at any time of the day or night.

Commented Steve Buck, director of commercial services, at South East Water, “The deregulation of the water industry means water companies have to think about obtaining a competitive edge to help acquire and retain customers. South East Water selected ebillity as a means to achieve this as well as to improve economies of scale and differentiation. ebillity really stood out from the rest. We chose it for its functionality and because it is backed by a customer care focused company that can offer other services to support the ebillity solution.”

South East Water is also outsourcing its technical support to iDesk’s established in-house technical helpdesk and customer support operations, which is part of iDesk’s Managed Solutions division. This arm of the business is capable of personally handling consumer and business bill or technical queries, related, for example, to service provision. This additional iDesk service will leave South East Water’s own call centre operations more available to handle general enquiries and customer relations.

South East Water will also be able to take advantage of ebillity’s Interactive Customer Care (ICC) and Targeted Marketing functions. These will aid the company’s CRM strategy by giving them the means for providing enhanced customer services to attract and retain customers.

"By combining our EBPP functionality with our ICC service module, the ebillity ASP solution will allow South East Water’s customer service representatives (CSRs) to provide a more interactive and integrated service," said Simon Brown, director of iDesk EBPP services. He explained, "Thanks to ebillity providing consumers a 24hours/7 days a week electronic point of contact for all routine bill enquiries, typically accounting for some 80 percent of inbound calls, CSRs are more available to focus on enhancing customer relations. The net result of decreased inbound calls is a more responsive, but less costly, customer service operation - achieved through the reduced costs of CSR labour, leased lines and CRM technology."

About ebillity

At the heart of ebillity is proven EBPP and ICC software from iDesk's chosen strategic technology partner, Solant Inc., Colorado, USA, and state of the art hosting facilities which match the highest standards of security and reliability. Unlike proprietary platform-based EBPP software, ebillity's open architecture allows it to interface with customers' existing computer systems where required. Based on object-oriented principles and built on Java and WebObjects software design standards, ebillity is open, flexible and easily implemented into in-house systems. Residing on UNIX platforms and Windows NT, it will accept customers' current data formats and create electronic bills that can be presented via Internet browser, email, IVR, and all emerging digital formats.

About South East Water

South East Water supplies 400 million litres of top quality drinking water in the South East of England every day. It provides water to 1.5 million people living and working across an area of 3607 square kilometers in Sussex, Kent, Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire. South East Water has over 9,000 kilometres of high pressure water mains with 2 million joints and connections.

About iDesk plc

Established in 1994, iDesk is at the forefront of the e-services industry. London based iDesk offers migrating help desk applications, outsourced support and hosting into advanced ICM (Intelligent Customer Management) applications, Managed solutions and ASP (Application Service Provision). iDesk provides products and services to the majority of the UK's telecom providers and over 40 Internet service providers. Client's include: BT, Cable & Wireless, NTL, UUnet, Mirror Group and John Menzies. For more information, visit iDesk at:

Editors Note: Why electronic billing?

A number of driving forces are changing the way companies look at billing their customers. For example, the cost today of conventional billing through the mail is estimated at around £1.50 per household. The additional cost of handling bill enquiries via call centers is calculated at £5 per customer call. Furthermore, electronic billing enables billers to engage in one-to-one marketing with their customers to inform them of discounts, offers, other services etc.


Umesh Raichada

iDesk plc

(+44)7939 054850


Alex Murphy or Lisa Allen

Strategic Relations

(+44) (0)1494 434 434

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Strategic Public Relations Ltd in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit