Most utility providers do not have to compete to gain and retain their customers, but that doesn’t mean customers aren’t expecting more from their experience. In fact, customers are expecting more than ever, and improved technology is now an essential part of a utility provider’s customer experience.
No longer are utilities just a number on a piece of paper that arrives through the door each month. Utility customers expect increased engagement and more information from their providers, and push notifications and alerts now play a huge role in customer satisfaction.
Research from Navigant forecasts that utility spending on customer engagement tools to increase from $3.6 billion in 2017 to $5.2 billion in 2026.
The report states that consumers are demanding services equivalent to those offered by large corporations such as Amazon, Google and Uber. For this reason, utility providers are significantly increasing their investments in customer engagement technologies.
More so, the report found that utility customers want to be notified about the occurrence of outages, about their energy usage, receive energy efficiency tips as well as other services that require innovative new technologies.
Implementing the technology that provides important information to your customers, and updating them on a frequent basis with push notifications and alerts, means customers will be more engaged with your utility and, as a result, satisfaction with your service will increase.
Apart from improved services and customer experience, these online tools for customer engagement also help utility providers to reduce manual tasks and free their workforce up to work on more complex tasks. A win-win.
Here are three reasons why your utility should implement push notifications and alerts:
1 - Outage notifications
The increased publicity of storms in recent years (think Hurricane Harvey in 2017), means the general public is now more aware than ever before of the difference between a good outage response or a bad one - whether it be weather-related or not.
Outages are inevitable and as long as your company has a strategy that involves frequent dialogue with your consumer, they will be happy with the service you’re offering.
The main thing is that customers want to know the problem is being solved, and outage notifications and alerts are a proactive way to communicate with your customers, keeping them informed of the current status of their power.
2 - Ebilling
Paperless billing, otherwise known as ebilling, saves time, reduces printing and mailing costs, reduces the effort for utility customers and speeds up your revenue cycle. Combine this with notifications and alerts that gently remind them of payments that are due and you will be making your customers life significantly easier.
3 - Usage data
Customers are more knowledgeable than ever before. They don’t just want to pay their utility bill at the end of each month, they want to learn about their usage and use that information to cut down on costs and reduce their carbon footprint.
Through push notifications and alerts your utility will be able to provide customers with graphs that help them understand their usage data and even alert them if they are exceeding their planned/average usage.
Not only that, but notifications also give you the opportunity to share hints and tips with your customer on how they can cut down on energy usage, specifically when it comes to peak hours.
How can my utility implement push notifications and alerts?
While push notifications and alerts are pretty easy to implement into your current customer experience processes, they do require the use of innovative and up-to-date technologies.
This is where a software company will help. SilverBlaze, for example, has created the SilverBlaze Customer portal specifically for utility providers who are looking to up the ante when it comes to their customer experience.
Featuring an easy-to-use mobile interface, the SilverBlaze Customer Portal allows utility providers to provide their customers with important information instantly via push notifications. These notifications can inform customers when their paperless bill is available, of upcoming planned outages, usage updates, and more - something they’ll really appreciate.
These notifications create increased customer engagement and satisfaction. Notifications can alert customers if they are exceeding their usage goals on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis - a move away from the traditional one-bill-a-month, giving customers more control over their energy usage.
Meanwhile, notifications for ebilling reduce the customer effort by giving them a method in which they can pay their bill with a few simple clicks, and outage notifications will keep your customer informed of any issues and help to build trust.
Notifications and alerts are a key component to digital customer service, creating more positive and timely contact with utility customers.
Want to learn more about the SilverBlaze Customer Portal and push notifications? Contact us today.