Now, more than ever before, customers are expecting more from their utility providers. In order to meet their expectations, the future of utilities must be focused on providing a superior service experience as well as opportunities for customers to engage with their provider on their terms. If you’re looking for information on how your utility can prepare to meet—and exceed—the needs of your next generation of customers, we are here to help.
Recently, we conducted a survey of a cross-section of utility customers across the United States in order to better understand the features that were important to them in a utility provider and gauge interest in new features expected to roll out in the near future. This survey yielded interesting data on the future of utilities, some of which we’d like to share with you now.
Millennials Demand Convenience
We asked survey respondents about their preferred method of contacting and interacting with their utility provider, and the results showed that 53.5% of customers would prefer using online forms and email. Looking more closely at Millennials between the ages of 18-24, we found that 68.8% would prefer a mix of online forms, email, and SMS messaging. This means your customers would much rather provide you with information at a time that is convenient for them, rather than contact your customer service department during office hours (and potentially face long wait times during peak hours).
Millennials Never Want to Miss a Bill
Millennials are always on the move, but they’re never far from their smartphones. That’s why it makes sense that 56.4% of our survey respondents between the ages of 18-24 are interested in receiving their bills and other important notifications via direct SMS messaging. Not only does this method of interaction ensure your customers will receive their bills as soon as they are ready, it also means you can quickly provide them with important information about upcoming changes to their services. As an added bonus, SMS billing and notifications also saves your utility a great deal of money on postage costs.
Millennials Trust Friends and Family With Their Utility Accounts
Millennials want to make sure their utility accounts are up-to-date, even if they are on an extended business trip or holiday. 30.4% of customers between the ages of 18-34 that we spoke with said they would like to be able to provide a trusted friend or family member with restricted access to their utility account while they were away. This is a number we expect to see grow over the next few years as those adopting a “wait-and-see” approach become increasingly comfortable with the idea.
So What do These Numbers Tell us About the Future of Utilities?
The information compiled in this survey paints a clear picture of the direction utility providers need to head in order to increase customer satisfaction and engagement. Customers want to send and receive utility information as quickly as possible at times that are convenient for them. If customer satisfaction and engagement is important to your utility, you need to be looking for ways to meet future needs today. For more information on the future of utilities and how to ensure you’re prepared to succeed, download our FREE research summary, The Future of Customer Engagement for Utilities now!