Providing your utility customers with a self-service customer portal option can help improve your billing capabilities, reduce the strain on your internal resources and a wide range of other benefits that drive your utility’s revenues.
Perhaps most importantly, it can help you engage with your customers and provide them with a better overall customer experience.
When choosing a self-service customer portal, however, there are a number of factors to take into account to ensure you make the best choice for your utility. In this blog, SilverBlaze has listed five key considerations to keep in mind when making your choice.
1 - Will the self-service customer portal integrate with existing 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 self-service 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 customer portal should be capable of integrating with any future solutions you choose to implement.
2 - Is the self-service customer portal solution customizable to your unique needs?
It’s important that your self-service portal reflects your utility’s unique needs and characteristics. The right solution will provide out-of-the-box functionality, while still allowing for future customization that ensures you are capable of improving customer engagement.
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 smart 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 customer portal that improves customer engagement, as well as the overall customer experience.
3 - Does the customer portal solution reduce strain on your employees?
The best self-service customer 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 the customer portal balance security and accessibility?
The self-service customer 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.
5 - Does the self-service customer portal provide value to both your utility and its customers?
When we say value, we mean both tangible and intangible. A customer portal should actively engage your customers and result in a positive experience for both them, as well as your utility’s employees. 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 account immediately.
- Receive instant notifications and alerts of upcoming service outages or upgrades.
- And much more!
By making it possible for your customers to access their own information, a self-service customer portal should provide clear return on investment by reducing the 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.
How can SilverBlaze help?
The SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities is the only self-service 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.
Want to learn more? Contact the SilverBlaze team today. We would be more than happy to answer any questions about how our innovative customer portal can revolutionize your customer engagement and internal processes.