Did you know that utility providers typically lag other industries in creating “wow” moments, with just 33 percent of utility customers experiencing one of these experiences in the past year, according to a study from McKinsey.
According to the report, delivering stand-out moments that go above and beyond customers’ expectations can lead to dramatically higher utility customer satisfaction.
Unlike other industries, utility providers have no real competitors, despite this, customer satisfaction is still crucial in a world where customers are demanding more from the companies they do business with than ever before. ‘Wow’ moments will allow your company to differentiate themselves and stand out in an industry that might be saturated or noncompetitive.
One way to significantly improve the customer experience (CX), as suggested in the McKinsey report, is to create better customer journeys through the use of innovative digital technologies.
But it’s not just the customer this benefits, it’s the utility provider as well!
A snippet from the McKinsey report reads: “Enabling more customers to use digital channels also brings big benefits for the utility: shifting customers from call centers to digital channels drives down costs, while capital investments in technology can add to the rate base.
“Indeed, many companies are adopting a digital-first mind-set in which digital channels are the first line of contact in the customer journey, reflecting the fact that self-service can often be more satisfying for customers than speaking to someone in person.” The self-service function is especially satisfying for the utilities and its employees because of the reduction in call volume going to the call centers and CSRs.
With that in mind, how can utility providers enhance customer satisfaction levels, improve their own internal operations, and access cost savings channels all through one technology software?
That’s where the wide range of features and benefits of a utility customer portal come into play.
What is a utility customer portal?
Before we get into how your utility will benefit from the implementation of a customer portal solution, let’s first take a look at what a utility customer portal actually is and the kind of functionality the software encompasses.
A utility customer portal is a customer-facing software platform, delivered through either a web browser or mobile application, that’s designed to improve the way in which utility providers and their customers interact with each other. It’s essentially a dedicated hub where utility customers can access all of the services and information they need in regards to their utility, and utility providers can seamlessly send out important information to their customers.
Through a utility customer portal, customers can pay bills online, view their current and past utility usage information, receive notifications and alerts directly from their utility provider, send customer service queries without having to phone the utility’s call center, and much more!
Utility customer portals can also be integrated with a range of other systems for further functionalities, such as smart metering or utility outage management.
How do utility providers benefit from implementing a customer portal?
1 – Lower Cost to Serve
A utility customer portal provides your customers with everything they need to serve themselves, from paying bills, checking their utility usage or sending direct issue queries to your team. Through a portal, your utility will be actively supporting your customers by encouraging self-service and proactively answering questions through notifications and alerts.
The result? Your utility will be able to significantly reduce call volumes to your customer service department. This has two benefits, you’ll be able to lower the cost-to-serve for increased savings and you will also be able to free up time for your agents to focus on higher-value tasks.
2 – Improved Customer Satisfaction
Moving away from the utility communication efforts of yesteryear is no bad thing. In fact, sending letters to your customers to communicate with them is simply an ineffective method to interact with your customers in 2021.
A utility customer portal allows you to provide your customers with personalized, instant and informative communication that boosts customer engagement. The result is a far superior customer experience for your customers, and improved customer satisfaction levels.
3 – Cost Savings
Last but not least, your utility can save a huge amount of money by implementing a customer portal. That money goes straight back to your bottom line, improving your utility’s overall profitability.
There are a few ways that the use of a utility customer portal will reduce your utility’s costs, including:
- Moving to a paperless billing model
- Using smart forms and workflows to reduce processes costs through intelligent automation
- Transitioning to online customer communication methods saves you money from printing and mailing
Are you interested in learning more about how your utility will benefit from the implementation of a customer portal for utilities? Get in touch with SilverBlaze today. We have created an award-winning customer portal software solution specifically designed for utility providers.