Providing your utility customers with a self-service customer portal can help improve your billing capabilities and reduce the strain on your resources. Perhaps most importantly, it can help you engage with your customers and provide them with a better overall experience.
When choosing a self-service portal, there are a number of factors to take into account to ensure you make the best choice for your utility. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of of five considerations to keep in mind when choosing your self-service utility provider.
1. Will Your Self-Service Portal Integrate Easily with Your Current Systems?
Your utility may have previously invested in software and solutions to help meet the needs of your customers. With this in mind, it’s important to consider whether your customer portal will easily integrate with your current systems and software solutions. The best solution for your utility will be easy to configure and effortlessly connect with your existing platforms, including:
- eBilling repository
- Online payment service
- And OMS
In addition, your self-service portal should be capable of integrating with any future solutions you choose.
2. Is Your Self-Service Portal Solution Customizable?
It’s important that your self-service portal reflect your unique needs and characteristics. The right solution will provide out-of-the-box functionality, while still allowing for customization to engage your customers.
A self-service web portal should be customized to:
- Incorporate a visual design that is consistent with your brand for a seamless experience
- Utilize unique intelligent forms and automated workflows
- Provide customers with an easy to navigate interface
With complete control over the look and feel of your self-service portal, you can clearly present your customers with the tools they need to access important information. The end result is a self-service portal that improves customer engagement, as well as the overall customer experience.
3. Does Your Self-Service Portal Solution Reduce the Strain on Your Employees?
The best self-service portal solution for your utility should free up employees across the organization to tackle other issues:
- Your IT team will be able to shift focus toward testing solutions and further improving the customer experience
- Your customer service department will experience lower call volumes, reducing wait times and allowing your employees to better service your clients
- Your billing department can better manage queues and ensure any customer billing changes are quickly processed
4. Does Your Self-Service Portal Solution Properly Balance Security and Accessibility?
The self-service portal solution you choose should be easily accessible for your customers, regardless of their device or location. The best option will also be highly secure. With so much personal data and information being collected every day, your self-service solution should:
- Store information and data in an encrypted central hub
- Store information on-site, or in a secure, off-site location
- Stand up to rigorous penetration testing to ensure it is protected against potential attacks
For more information on self-service portal security, read our blog post, Web Portal Security for Utilities: Is Your Self-Service Web Portal Secure?
5. Does Your Self-Service Portal Solution Provide Value for Your Utility and its Customers?
When we say value, we mean both tangible and intangible. A self-service portal should actively engage your customers and result in a positive experience. A robust self-service portal solution will provide customers with tools to:
- Quickly receive and pay their bills online
- Access their usage history and information from any location with an internet connection
- Make changes to their accounts immediately
- Receive instant notification of upcoming service outages or upgrades
- And more!
By making it possible for your customers to access their own information, a self-service portal should also provide a clear path to a return on investment by reducing costs associated with producing physical copies of bills, invoices, and reports, as well as mailing and faxing costs.
When a self-service portal is able to provide both tangible and intangible value, you can be confident that it’s the best choice for your utility.
The SilverBlaze Customer Portal: The Smart Choice for Your Self-Service Portal Needs
The SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities is the only self-service customer portal designed exclusively for utilities, making it the best choice for private, public, or municipal utility providers.
Offering exceptional customization, security, and value, the SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities is easily integrated with your existing systems and can be quickly deployed to increase customer engagement. To learn more about how SilverBlaze improves customer experiences while saving money, download your FREE Utilities Guide to Customer Satisfaction & ROI with Smart Technology today!