Now more than ever, consumers are demanding the ability to interact with all types of service providers - from electric, water and sewer, natural gas, and telecom to multi-service utilities - on their own terms.
With the rise in mobile technology, web self-service options that can be accessed from anywhere and any device are quickly becoming a necessity for utility providers hoping to improve their customer experience (CX).
At the same time, utility providers face pressure to do more with less in an effort to save money and improve margins.
Is your utility concerned about keeping up with its customers' web self-service demands, while also looking for ways to improve operational efficiency? SilverBlaze has listed the four key trends you absolutely need to know:
1 - Customers demand web self-service
According to research conducted by Forrester, customer preference for web self-service options increased in 2014 from 67% to 76%. With web self-service options, utilities can quickly enhance the user experience by allowing customers to access their accounts, pay their bills with eBilling, and receive important updates online at any time of day, from any location.
Your customers will be more engaged and satisfied with your utility when they can access their information when and how they want, from wherever they are.
2 - Web self-service is poised to take advantage of mobile device use
According to Pew Research, 68% of American adults now use smartphones, and 45% of American adults use tablets. The numbers are clear: self-service portals that are compatible with mobile devices - either via downloadable apps or responsively designed websites. In fact, these things are now a must for your utility.
The value of getting important messages to customers (where you know they'll be paying attention) can't be overstated. With the right web self-service portal, utility providers can instantly alert customers to:
- Upcoming payment due dates
- Service outages
- Overdue bills
- Usage alerts
- And much more!
Best of all, this information can be sent directly to mobile devices via push notifications and alerts. This means that no matter where your customers are, they'll be able to receive important information and updates instantly. Your employees will spend less time and money sending physical documents to customers, which leads us to our next trend.
3 - Utility providers need ways to do more with less
As the marketplace for utilities continues to shift and expand, providers are increasingly driven to maximize their resources, while minimizing their costs and labour needs. Likewise, consumers are looking for ways to get more done during a day, while actually spending less time completing their tasks.
Because of this, utility providers have begun to rethink how they are best able to meet the needs of their customers.
With web self-service tools, customers can quickly access the information they traditionally needed to physically contact their utility provider to receive. With this level of convenience and engagement, call volumes received by your customer service department will be greatly reduced.
More importantly, customers who are engaged and aware of what is happening with their services are less likely to contact your customer service department - reducing call volumes and increasing employee satisfaction.
Web self-service portals also allow your customer service representatives to better allocate their resources, meaning they'll be better able to engage with, and assist, customers who do need to contact your utility - allowing them to focus on higher-value tasks.
4 - Consumers and executives feel utilities are overspending
Utility providers are always striving to reduce spend, while at the same time continuing to provide positive customer service experiences. However, recent opinion polling suggests that 60% of utility executives feel as though they are wasting billions of dollars annually. These numbers, published by GreenTech Media, are echoed by 70% of consumers.
By introducing web self-service portal and other paperless initiatives, you can immediately reduce costs associated with:
- Purchasing paper
- Printing bills and other notifications
Web self-service portals allow utilities to increase customer satisfaction and engagement, while reducing costs and improving return on investment (ROI).
Use trends to your advantage with SilverBlaze
In order to stay ahead of trends and take steps towards future-proofing themselves, utility providers must adapt now to meet the needs of their customers and employees. In doing so, they can improve customer engagement, save money, and maximize their resources.
The best way to capitalize on these trends is to adopt an all-in-one solution, designed specifically with your utility's needs in mind. Built specifically for utilities, the SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities is completely customizable and can be easily integrated with your existing systems.
With the SilverBlaze Customer Portal, your customers have the ability to better manage their accounts. They can instantly make changes from any location, retrieve and pay their bills online, and receive important updates sent directly to their mobile devices. The end result is improved customer satisfaction, reduced spending on paper, postage, and redundant tasks, as well as increased employee productivity.
To learn more about how you can integrate the SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities into your existing systems, begin responding to growing trends within the industry, and save your utility money, contact our team of experts today.