All consumers, especially these days, want a fast, easy and noteworthy experience when interacting with brands online. That’s why mobile applications have become an essential tool for customers around the world, with many using them to navigate their day-to-day life.
As a result, according to Statista, the number of mobile app downloads each year has been steadily increasing. In 2017, there were 178 billion app downloads. That number was projected to grow to 205 billion by 2019, and more than 258 billion in 2022 - a 45 percent increase over five years.
Despite this, utility companies still lag behind and have become hesitant to adopt mobile technology.Statista found that only 20 percent of US utilities offer fully-mobile applications to their customers with outage viewing and reporting, payment and usage inquiry features.
Why utility providers must provide mobile solutions
Utility providers have generally been slow to embrace disruptive technologies and new customer experience (CX) strategies due to a lack of competition within their sectors. After all, why invest money into new technologies when you have little-to-no competition within your market?
That way of thinking has shifted dramatically in recent years, with customers now expecting superior customer experiences with every single company they come into contact with. Rapid evolutions in technology and the growth in consumer-driven brands means customers now value the experience they have with your utility, not just affordable pricing.
The only way to truly create a satisfied customer base and safeguard your utility against future environmentally-friendly competitors is to build a superior customer experience, in which your customers view your company as an energy partner - not just a bill.
Here are four reasons why implementing an intuitive and customer-centric utility mobile application will revolutionize your company’s entire customer experience:
1 - Improving customer engagement
Utility customers want to be able to access their account information, usage data and preferences in real-time. They don’t want lengthy phone calls with customer service agents (no one does). You can streamline these inquiries and more with mobile applications.
By communicating with your customers through notifications and timely updates, customers will see you as a trusted energy partner. Take utility usage and analytics for example - by sending reporting updates and consumption advice on a customer’s utility usage, you can help them to cut down on costs or live a greener lifestyle. This helpful content will encourage customers to be significantly more engaged with your brand.
2 - Reduced strain on customer service teams
Self-service tools are a fantastic way to both reduce strain on your customer service department and improve the user experience for utility customers. Mobile applications make it incredibly easy to find out (anything to do with their utility account - at just a few simple clicks on their mobile screen.
By encouraging consumers to answer their own questions, make their own changes and manage their own accounts, you will save time for your customer service representatives to answer more complex queries - allowing them to deliver better service and higher value to customers who do actually need to speak to them. Simultaneously, your customers will feel a sense of empowerment and knowledge for attaining the answers they needed in regards to utility services and the amenities that are attached to it.
3 - Personalizing the user experience
Mobile applications allow for highly-personalized customer experiences, empowering the utility user to tailor specific settings, notifications and information depending on what they want to receive. These unique settings could be anything from targeted push notifications, billing enrolment or utility usage reporting. These can be changed by your customer depending on their economic or environmental goals.
By creating a personalized experience based around customization capabilities, as well as gathering important insights into customer data from these interactions, your utility will be able to create a customer experience that is uniquely segmented and designed to increase satisfaction.
4 - Seamless billing transaction
Paper billing is a thing of the past. Customers now expect easy, fast and seamless billing transactions that involve minimal effort on their part. Mobile applications allow you to do this by sending direct notifications to customers when their monthly bill is ready, and enabling them to pay that bill in a few simple steps.
Not only does this improve satisfaction for your utility customers, it also increases cash flow. No longer will you have to wait for billing information to be sent in the post, cheques to be sent back to your office and slow processing times. Through a mobile application, customers often pay their bills fast, ensuring that your company gets payments faster than ever before.
How can SilverBlaze help?
SilverBlaze recently announced the launch of its brand new Customer Portal mobile application, which has been designed specifically with a user-friendly layout that makes it far simpler for customers to manage their utility accounts.
Available for download through both the Apple and Google app stores, the mobile application allows customers to access crucial information such as bills and payments, past transactions, usage history and comparisons, self-service requests, outages, notifications and much more.
Interested in learning how our Customer Portal mobile application can boost user experience, improve customer engagement and provide more personalized experiences? Contact the SilverBlaze team today. We would love to answer any questions that you may have.