Utility providers are taking a growing interest in customer experience strategies in a bid to boost customer satisfaction and engagement, knowing technologies play an essential role in that. In fact, research from McKinsey’s Journey Pulse survey in utilities shows that delivering stand-out moments that go above and beyond customers’ expectations can lead to dramatically higher satisfaction.
Unfortunately though, utilities are still lagging behind other industries in creating these “wow moments”. McKinsey found that just 33 percent of utility customers experienced one of these experiences in the year prior to the survey.
The key to delivering these wow moments and boosting customer satisfaction comes down to digitization. Through the integration of technologies, your utility can improve satisfaction by making life easier for your customers, encouraging self-service, improving engagement and revolutionizing your customer experience offering.
Without technology, your customer service department becomes overloaded with queries that, while easy to resolve, take time away from them being able to answer complex queries and offer higher-value to your customers.
In this blog, SilverBlaze has taken four common customer queries that frequently result in wasted time for utility customer service agents, and how you can use new technologies to resolve them in a more efficient and seamless manner.
1 - “My bill is too high.”
This can be a time-consuming question for your utility’s customer service team. If a customer believes they are being overcharged then the onus will be on your utility to prove otherwise. This means your customer service agents will have to look back through the customer’s usage report to double-check that bill is correct. This is frustrating for both your call center agents and the customer.
Resolution: The integration of real-time utility usage and analytics will help prevent these customer service calls. By giving customers the insightful data they need to manage their energy usage, you’ll help them save money on their monthly utility bills and reduce their carbon footprint.
At the same time, these real-time usage updates will show customers exactly how much their bill is, and will empower them to cut down on their usage if their bill is getting too high. This will minimize calls to your customer service team if customers experience a surprise from the price of their bill.
2 - “My power is out, when will it be back up?”
When a customer’s power goes out, they are often left wondering ‘why - and when is it coming back?’ It’s often a simple question to answer the why (it was the weather or a broken wire), but it’s not as easy to tell a customer when their power will be back up and running. If a customer isn’t given information about when their utility will be back up-and-running, it will begin to impact their satisfaction level.
Resolution: To fix this issue and prevent your customer service team getting thousands of customer calls when an outage occurs, your utility should consider implementing outage notifications.
Outage notifications are a way to communicate real-time updates with your utility customers. You can keep your customers informed through notifications directly to their favoured devices before, during and after an outage to assure them that any issues are being resolved. By proactively updating customers about outages, you will improve customer satisfaction metrics and reduce strain on your customer service team.
3 - “I am having trouble paying my bill.”
Sometimes customers do all they can to pay their bill on time, but they unfortunately encounter errors that prevent it from arriving. Perhaps they haven’t received their billing information, maybe they sent the money in the post and it didn’t arrive, or possibly they entered the wrong card information? Why not automate your utility’s billing rather than waste time with inefficient manual processes and time-consuming customer calls?
Resolution: You can remove any of these customer complaints and strains on your customer service team by making the transition to paperless billing. The use of eBilling technology allows your customers to receive bills and pay them on their favourite devices, at a time that’s convenient for them. Notifications will let them know when their bill is due and customers will make their payments faster as a result. Paperless billing is convenient for both you and your customer.
4 - “I need to change my account information.”
Traditionally, customers would have to contact their utility for any information about their account. Whether they wanted to change information, find out usage data, pay their bill or anything else related to their account, they had to phone your utility business and speak to an agent. This is frustrating for your customer, but it also wastes time for your utility’s customer service team who have to perform tasks that the customer should be able to easily do themselves.
Resolution: Your utility is now able to encourage self-servicing tools and empower your customers to take control of their entire experience through the use of utility customer portals. By using the SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities, for example, utility customers can access, manage and change their utility account information all on one user-friendly and easy-to-use portal.
Through a customer portal, your utility can send customers account information, outage notifications, utility usage data and much more all directly to their preferred device. This encourages customers to solve their own problems at a time that’s convenient for them. At the same time, it allows your customer service team to work on more complex queries that deliver higher-value experiences to your customers.
Want to learn more about how technology can improve your utility customer experience by empowering you to seamlessly resolve customer queries? Contact SilverBlaze today. We have years of experience in developing innovative solutions that boost the utility experience, customer satisfaction and improve engagement.