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Time for mobile statements

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South African companies that want an affordable and easy way to reach their customers with statements that comply with legal requirements should consider implementing mobile billing solutions.

The Consumer Protection Act and the VAT Act have clear guidelines for tax invoices that companies need to comply with. These laws and regulations lay down clear rules about the format an electronic invoice and statement must follow, the information it must contain, and the security precautions companies must follow when sending them to their customers.

‚With South Africa’s low internet penetration and high mobile penetration, the mobile phone is one of the best ways to reach the consumer with a statement.‚ That’s according to Jacques Swanepoel, Managing Director at Cellfind, a member of Blue Label Mobile. He says that with electronic statements already recognised under South African law, companies have the opportunity to achieve significant cost-saving by delivering account statements to their customers via their mobile phones.

It offers companies the benefits associated with online or email billing ‚ such as cost-savings on postage and paper ‚ along with a wide reach into their customer base. Swanepoel says that one of the biggest advantages of mobile billing is that it makes it simple to track and prove delivery of a statement to a client.

With an unreliable postal service, it is difficult to prove that a statement has reached a customer, unless it was sent via expensive registered post and signed for. ‚With a solution such as Cellfind’s miStatement, companies can easily prove that a customer viewed a mobile statement‚ says Swanepoel. ‚This adds certainty and transparency to the relationship that benefits both parties.‚

Swanepoel says that companies looking for a mobile statement partner should seek out a service provider with a proven track record that can demonstrate its compliance with the many laws and regulations governing electronic billing in South Africa. ‚Organisations should also opt for a solution that supports most of the mobile phones already in the market, rather than restricting them to only addressing customers with high-end smart phones‚ advises Swanepoel. A solution is to offer WAP or mobile Web access for customers with newer phones, as well as a USSD offering that will work with any GSM phone currently in the market.

Swanepoel says that mobile delivery of statements means that customers are able to receive their statements on the day which they are generated, rather than waiting for them to arrive in the post. This may expedite payment. ‚A major benefit for customers is that they are easily able to access both current and historical statement data from their mobile phones at any time. This adds a level of ease and convenience to the relationship that improves customer satisfaction‚ says Swanepoel.

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