In the digital age, allowing your utility customers to take the initiative and choose their own terms of communication and research will empower them to be more engaged with your company and also enhance their customer experience.
That’s why adopting an innovative customer portal solution that allows your utility to implement self-service is crucial for the satisfaction of your customers.
Not only is it an effective strategy to improve the overall customer experience, but an effective self-service approach can help your company save money, become more time-efficient, reduce company overheads and free up customer service agents to work on higher-value assignments.
But, what exactly is customer self-service, how is it used and what are the benefits? We will explain all here.
What is customer self-service?
The definition of self-service is fairly straightforward. Simply put, self-service allows your utility to provide online support to your customers without them being required to interact with a representative from your company.
It allows customers to use technology - such as your company’s website, social channel or customer portal - to access information, pay bills online, review usage data and much more without the need of assistance from a live customer service agent.
This means your utility customers will have immediate access to 24/7 information that could potentially solve any problems they are facing or help them to interact with your company - all with a few clicks of a button.
There are a variety of different ways that self-service can be delivered to your customers, including a customer portal, website blogs, FAQs, chatbots and much more.
Why is utility self-service so important in the digital age?
With the evolution of new technologies and top brands establishing successful self-service strategies, customers now expect a higher quality customer experience no matter which company or service provider they engage with.
With no natural competition, it’s fair to say that utility providers have previously underinvested in the customer experience and self-service technologies. This has resulted in the utility sector falling far behind other industries when it comes to customer service levels and customer satisfaction.
Customers expect the same level of service from your utility than they would get from top brands such as Amazon or Apple - and a self-service strategy is essential to that. In fact, a study from Nuance Enterprise found that 67 percent of consumers said they preferred self-service over speaking to a company representative.
Thankfully, utility providers are increasingly realizing that it’s time to focus on the customer experience. Not only does an improved customer experience improve satisfaction, but it can have significant benefits for your company too.
To give you an idea of just how important self-service is in the digital age, SilverBlaze has listed three key ways self-service can benefit your utility company.
1 - Increased customer service efficiency
Self-service works as a filter for your customer service team. Those who are talking to your customer support representatives are likely to have already used self-service for a basic task, but now need help on a more difficult issue.
Not only does this give agents more time to work on assignments that will provide a higher value for your customers, but it will also empower them to work more effectively.
2 - Reduced costs
One of the highest costs for any company is the price of customer service. However, with the implementation of a successful self-service program your utility has the potential to cut down significantly on customer service overheads.
By leveraging a simple, easy-to-use and highly effective customer portal solution, your utility can realize significant cost savings.
3 - Happier customers
The most important aspect of a self-service approach to customer service is to provide additional value to your customers. A superior customer experience can help your utility see dramatic improvements in customer-satisfaction scores.
Want to learn more about how the SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities can help drive a successful self-service strategy for utility providers, whether in the water, sewerage, electricity, gas or telecom industry? Contact the SilverBlaze team of experts today for more information.