What is Bill Simulator?
Bill Simulator is an alternative version of Budget Simulator that enables you to consult bill-payers on the costs that make up a bill or rate, such as their council tax or utility bill.
It gives your respondents greater insight into how their money is spent, while your organisation gains a better understanding of where your respondents’ priorities lie and potential changes they would welcome or be willing to accept.
How does it work?
Bill Simulator has the same look and feel as the standard Budget Simulator configuration and functions in a very similar way:
You provide a breakdown of all the elements of expenditure that make up a bill or rate. These elements are grouped under different areas along the left-hand side of the page.
Respondents can use a slider to adjust the level of expenditure for each item, indicating their personal priorities and areas where they’d be prepared to pay more in future or would rather spend less.
As they move each slider, “Consequences” text displayed on the right-hand side of the page explains what the likely outcome will be of making that change to help respondents make an informed decision.
At the same time, the dashboard at the top of the screen automatically updates to show the respondent at a glance the overall increase or savings they’ve made to the bill or rate so far, as a cost and a percentage of the original bill, and what the total cost of the new bill stands at.
Configuring your simulator for different levels of bill-payer
Bill Simulator is different from standard Budget Simulator in one crucial way: it can be configured to display a different end amount based on information about the respondent, such as their property tax band or their particular customer package or tariff.
Before a respondent comes through to the sliders page, you can introduce a screen with up to two questions asking for information that affects the type of bill or rate they pay.
If need be it’s also possible to pre-populate the answer field to a question. For example, if you wanted to ask respondents to provide the estimated value of their property, some respondents (such as renters) may not readily know that information. However you can pre-populate the field with an average property value so that no-one is prevented from participating in the exercise.
All of the other features in the tool are the same as those in the standard Budget Simulator configuration, which means:
- The simulator can be set up to use any currency.
- Respondents are given the opportunity to provide comments for each group of sliders, for example to explain the reasons behind their decisions.
- Once they’re happy with their response, respondents can review their submission and see all of the consequences of their decisions on one page. They’re also invited to add any final overall comments they may have. Until they choose ‘Submit choices’, they can revisit and change their decisions.
- At the end there is the option to include a small number of demographic questions, if collecting this information would be useful for your organisation.
- The final submission page can be configured to include a message or link to another website, such as your organisation’s home page or more information about the consultation.
- An optional feature can be enabled which allows your respondents to share their response on social media, if they want to share the decisions they’ve made & challenge their contacts to have a go at using the simulator as well.
If you’d like any more information about Bill Simulator, get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.