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Less print for Sprint in bid to meet 40% paper reduction goal

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With close to one-quarter of its customers opting for electronic billing, carrier offers an option that will make it simple for them to adopt more electronic billing relationships.

Sprint Nextel has turned to a paperless transaction system from start-up Doxo as part of its commitment to reducing paper consumption by up to 40 percent by 2017.

The wireless telecommunications giant already has an electronic billing system in place, but it embraced Doxo because its customers can use the software to store and manage bills from multiple service providers in one location. In other words, your customers can have a single account where they manage all their electronic bills. I don't know about you, but that's a pretty compelling proposition for someone who loathes logging into multiple Web sites every month to check up on what I owe. Of course, Doxo doesn't have that many high-profile customers yet, so its electronic file cabinet will be kind of empty for a while.

Earlier this year, Doxo received $5.25 million in funding from investors including the investment fund backed by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. Sprint is its first high-profile client. But it also has picked up another customer this week: Kansas City Power & Light.

When I talked to Sprint about the Doxo technology, Scott Rice, vice president of care and billing services for Sprint, says Doxo will extend not replace his company's electronic billing strategy. Approximately 23 percent of Sprint's customers have signed up for its current electronic billing option, and the company hopes to continue pushing that number higher. Adoption is accelerating, Rice says. To date, Sprint's electronic billing option has saved 2.4 million pounds of paper, 26.5 million pounds of waste water and 13.2 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, the company estimates.

Clearly, the whole matter of reducing paper consumption is a big money saver for Sprint, as well, but Rice also sees electronic billing as a major customer service game-changer.

You'll notice that he is in charge of both care and billing services. Realistically, that's because the one guaranteed point of contact that a Sprint customer has with the company every month is the bill. It's why your envelope is stuffed full of special offers and other promotion materials, most of which you probably throw out. It clearly is in the company's interest to manage that relationship very, very carefully. So this is a pretty big endorsement for Doxo. And, who knows, maybe you'll pay more attention to the electronic version of Sprint's bill than the paper one.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure