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New innovations in technology and the constant evolution of consumer expectations are forcing change across all industries, and the utility sector is no different. Utility providers must now use next-generation technology to satisfy their customers, or risk being left behind.

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Utility businesses are constantly looking for ways to streamline operations, cut costs, save precious time and work more efficiently. But, did you know that going paperless through the implementation of a customer portal can help you achieve all of those with ease?

Technological advances have changed the way businesses run their day-to-day operations and engage their consumers. Many utility providers, however, are still relying on outdated methods that leave the consumer unsatisfied with the customer experience (CX)

Utility providers that embrace changes in technology will realize significant benefits from a paperless approach, which both improves the customer experience and improves business efficiencies. 

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In our last blog, titled “Utility Providers: Are You Ready to Implement a Customer Portal?”, we looked at some of the key motives that indicate a utility provider is ready for the implementation of a customer portal. Now that you’ve decided a customer portal is the right choice for your business, you probably have one question - Do you build it yourself or do you buy it?

Before we get into ”build vs buy”, let’s first recap some of the benefits of a successful customer portal and how it can completely revolutionize your customer experience (CX). 

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Customer Portals provide significant benefits for utility providers. Not only do they vastly improve the customer experience and make business processes more efficient through automation, but they also give you valuable data that helps your utility understand its customers.

A customer portal is a great way to communicate with your customers and provide accessible information at the click of the button. This includes features that will make your customer experience superior to others within the industry, such as notifications and alerts, ebilling and outage notifications

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With hundreds of thousands of residents picking up the pieces following the devastating impact of Hurricane Michael earlier this month, the importance of outage notifications during severe storms has been brought to the forefront for utility providers.

Weather-related power outages are unavoidable, and the consequences of hurricanes can be hugely damaging. That’s why utility providers must interact with their customers every step of the way. The quicker power is up and running, the sooner both households and businesses can begin getting back to normal. 

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For utility providers of all sizes, digital technology offers a powerful tool to improve business processes, increase automation, offer a better customer experience to clients, and update your customer service strategy.

Customers in the modern world demand answers, seek information and want far more engagement from utilities than ever before. Adopting the right technology is now more important for the long-term strategy of any utility provider. 

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Like many other industries across the globe, utility providers are beginning to discover that digital communication is key to the satisfaction and experience of their customers - and they’re not wrong.

According to research from Marketing Week: “15 years ago, the average consumer typically used two touch-points when buying an item and only seven percent regularly used more than four. Today, consumers use an average of almost six touch points, with 50 percent regularly using more than four.” 

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The utility industry has undergone huge changes over the past decade, from increased gas and oil production to the advent of new energy efficient technologies which are trying to disrupt and change the sector.

However, one thing has changed the way utility providers work more than anything else - the customer experience

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The customer experience is becoming increasingly important in all industries, and utility providers now have a range of reasons for wanting to better engage their customers and offer superior customer service.

In fact, a recent study from Deloitte predicts that utility providers will increasingly invest in new technologies over the next three, five and ten years: “We expect digitalization to increasingly enter the spotlight, as electric power companies map out new ways to deploy rapidly advancing technologies to address challenges and harness opportunities.” 

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Utility providers around the world face unprecedented challenges due to rapidly changing market demands, and many are failing to keep up. With little to no competition from others within the industry, utilities providers in the past have been slow to embrace disruptive technologies and keep up with evolving customer expectations.

This lack of competition has historically led utility providers to sit back. Why aim for progress when the competitive pressures to innovate are pretty much removed? Then, the market changed. 

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