Digital innovations are not only influencing customer expectations when it comes to business-to-consumer communication, but they are also changing the way businesses must operate if they are to deliver a service that makes a profit and satisfies the customer.
Due to a lack of competition within the market, the utility industry has largely lagged behind other sectors when it comes up adopting innovative new technologies and building a superior customer service. That’s all changing.
Advances in energy technology such as solar energy and green technologies are becoming more efficient, cheaper to produce and more widespread among consumers. This means utility providers must improve their customer experience, or risk falling behind.
While it may seem daunting at first, this actually represents a plethora of new opportunities and benefits for utility providers willing to take the next step, from reducing costs, delivering superior customer service, driving revenues and becoming a more efficient business.
SilverBlaze has listed three digital essentials that utility providers must have if they are to take the next step and plan for the future market:
1 - Innovation is key
While many in the utility industry have been hesitant to adopt new technologies in the past, the majority of utility providers are now realizing the benefits of today’s technology and making it an essential part of their business processes.
Technology can improve a utility provider’s existing services and processes, provide increased value to customers and improve their existing infrastructure to make engagement with the customer not only easier for the client, but also for their own in-house team.
Some technologies that utility providers are using to innovate their business processes include:
- smart meters;
- notifications and alerts;
- smart forms;
- outage alerts;
- integrated customer portals that put everything both the utility provider and the customer needs in one place;
- and much more.
2 - Become a partner, not a bill
The mention of smart meters leads us onto our next point. Utility providers are no longer a bill on a piece of paper each month, and customers expect improved engagement and advice on how they can save money and become more energy efficient.
With consumers implementing new technologies into their homes in a bid to save money - such as smart thermostats, energy efficient bulbs and highly-efficient appliances - utility providers should not miss out on this opportunity to supply them with advice and contribute to the decision-making process.
If your utility can position itself as a trusted advisor to your customers, then not only will they trust your company and enjoy the service that you provide, but they will be more likely to invest in your products and services if you branch out into energy efficient developments in the future.
3 - Personalize your customer service
By becoming a partner rather than a bill, this will start your utility’s journey into a personalized approach to customer service. However, it’s essential that your utility has the technology in place that empowers your company to make this happen.
Automating your workflow through smart forms will allow your utility to offer its customers a self-service platform that in turn frees up your customer service department and removes inefficient and out-of-date manual practices. At the same time, these smart forms will also give your company important insights into customer data.
This data will allow you to personalize your web content and communication specifically for the needs of your customer. By creating more efficient information that’s tailored to the specific needs of your customers, your utility will significantly reduce customer effort and provide a service that goes above and beyond others within the industry.
Through the SilverBlaze Customer Portal, your utility can make the most of a self-service web solution that empowers you with the technology and information needed to offer a superior experience for your customers.
Want more information on how our software can transition your utility business into the 21st Century? Contact us today to learn more.