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Utility Providers in the US have invested billions of dollars in advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), yet the broad majority of utilities have “vastly underused” this technology to help their customers save money and improve the customer experience (CX).

That’s according to a new report released in January 2020 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. The study, which surveyed 52 of the largest US electric utilities, found that only one of these utility companies was optimizing its use of AMI to help customers save money.

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Utility providers are in a constant crunch to find new efficiencies that will help them save money, and allow their organization to invest in the customer experience (CX). This is part of the ongoing pursuit to improve customer satisfaction.

However, in an industry as mature as the utility sector, finding these efficiencies is no easy feat. That’s why a large number of organizations are turning towards new technology solutions, which would ultimately allow utility companies to streamline operations and better service the end-consumer.

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Your utility's customer information system (CIS) is a crucial component for providing the best customer service experience possible - and a high quality customer experience (CX) will lead to significantly more satisfied utility customers.

Since the needs of your customers are always evolving and expanding, there’s a chance your current utility CIS is missing features that have become standard among your competitors. Today, SilverBlaze takes a closer look at the three most common features that your utility CIS may be missing, and address why they're necessary for customer satisfaction.

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One of the hottest topics in today’s business world is that of cybersecurity. Protecting your utility’s customer data is not only a legal requirement, but it’s also absolutely essential for the satisfaction of your customers.

This is particularly important in an environment where cybercrimes on business are commonplace. Carbon Black’s second Canada Threat Report found 88 percent of Canadian businesses reporting suffering a data breach during the past 12 month.

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The way customers interact with their utility provider is changing, and your utility billing software has to be able to meet the demands of those changes. 

The easiest, most efficient and most cost-effective way to do this is by choosing utility billing software that is not only equipped to thrive today, but also designed with tomorrow in mind. By understanding the unique expectations of today's utility customer, you can ensure your eBilling and payment solution is providing a world-class customer experience (CX) to your customers.

This is an important step towards ensuring the needs of your customer is a top priority. 

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Social media is no longer just a way for consumers to connect with their friends. In fact, social media is now one of the first places they go to connect with the businesses and services they pay for, whether it be to lodge a complaint, to receive information or to ask a question.

Consumers use social media in every aspect of their lives. It’s one of the most popular online activities that users engage in, and a study from Emarsys found that there’s a staggering 3.2 billion social media users worldwide - that’s 42 per cent of the world’s entire population.

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Today’s customers demand more from the organizations they engage with than ever before. That’s why there’s a growing need for utility companies to transition to customer-centric business models if they are to improve customer satisfaction metrics.

In fact, offering customers personalized choice, control over their energy usage, digital management of their accounts and improved engagement channels is now essential to any utility strategy.

Despite this, a study by J.D. Power found that utilities are one of the lowest-performing industries for digital customer experience.

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Data security is vital for small, medium and large businesses, and utility providers are no different. Protecting your customer data is not only important for customer satisfaction metrics, it's also required by Canadian law. 

Cybercrime can also have a huge impact on your utility's bottom line. Research from Cybersecurity Ventures found cybercrime will cost the world in excess of $6 trillion each year by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015. Meanwhile, data published on Wikipedia estimates the average cost of one single data breach will be over $150 million by 2020.

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Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the products they consume. Whether it’s eating meat, reducing single-use plastic or cutting down on their monthly utilities, people all over the world are proactively working to lower their impact on the earth.

A study from Futerra, which surveyed over 1,000 consumers in the US and UK, discovered that 96 per cent of people feel that their own actions - such as donating, recycling or buying ethically - can make a difference.

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At first glance, water seems like one of Earth’s most renewable resources. It falls from the sky when it rains, it surrounds us in oceans, it’s inside glaciers and icebergs and it covers a staggering 70 per cent of the world’s surface.

However, there’s a problem. Around 97.5 per cent of seawater is unfit for human consumption, and with populations and temperatures rising around the world the freshwater reserves that we do have are under severe pressure.

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