Improving the customer experience is a growing trend. Even with companies, like many of those in the utility industry, who have little-to-no competition, the customer experience is more important than ever before.
A good customer experience isn’t just about making customers happy so that they stick around. A good customer experience can help improve and reduce customer interactions, leading to improved employee satisfaction and reduced turnover. It can also help reduce costs, especially those related to billing, past-due follow ups, service calls and call center wages.
Unfortunately, there are many utility providers whose customer experience strategies are failing. Here are the three most common reasons why.
#1 – They are ignoring the customer experience
Because many utility companies have little to no competition, the idea of focusing on customer experience can seem redundant. Afterall, if they aren’t going anywhere else, why would you focus your strategy on something like customer experience, which is all about retaining customers.
But the reality is, customer experience is so much more than keeping customers around. A world-class customer experience will result in reduced costs and better employee satisfaction. But that isn’t the only benefit of running a tight utility customer experience strategy.
Having a customer-centric strategy can help reduce bill payment time, which increases cash flow. It can also reduce resistance and the vocalization of customers when rates increase. Not to mention, a good customer experience can help future-proof your utility from the risk of potential competition, if a new or different technology were to gain footholds in your market.
#2 – Not defining a great customer experience
If the benefits of customer experience at your utility are something you’re fully on board with but you still seem to be having a problem, chances are you haven’t properly defined what a great customer experience looks like.
To understand what this looks like, you first must get into the mind of your customer and figure out what a good customer experience looks like to them. This will help you determine how your team should interact with customers so you can come up with a solid training program.
While customer needs vary from one business to the next, there are some consistencies across utilities companies (and most other industries):
- Access to information
- Real time notifications when something has gone wrong
- Being able to access and pay bills wherever and whenever they want
- Being able to see usage and spending habits
#3 – Not measuring your customer experience success
One of the most important aspects of any customer experience strategy is measuring results. Without it, you can’t know whether your strategy is working or identify opportunities to change it.
To help ensure you are making the most out of your customer experience strategy you need to track important KPIs, such as:
- Net Promoter Score
- Customer Satisfaction Rate
- Customer Effort Score
- The number of inquiries that didn’t turn into a ticket
- The reduced number of inquiries related to a specific query, like how to request a copy of a bill
These are just three of the ways that utility companies fail in their customer experience strategy. If you feel that your customer experience could be better, be sure to consider these areas and determine whether you need to make a change.
One change you can make that will have a major difference is implementing a customer portal.
Customer portals are a key customer experience tool that businesses in every industry are starting to use. These portals allow customers to feel in control, by offering them easy access to information which allows them to solve simple problems on their own and complete everyday tasks specific to the company they are doing business with. When it comes to utilities, this includes updating personal information, reviewing and paying bills, seeing usage information and so much more.
For more information on improving your utility’s customer experience or to learn about the benefits of customer portals, contact us today.