Changes and advancements in technology are transforming how organizations operate in all industries. New tools give companies profound insights into data, access to new internal efficiencies, more personalized customer service opportunities and a huge number of other benefits.
For utility providers, advanced technologies bring a range of opportunities that empower them to build better customer experiences (CX), as well as improve their own internal operations.
One such technology is a utility customer portal.
We have talked a lot on this subject of how using a customer portal to centralize all of your customer needs in one location can significantly improve your utility’s customer experience, but did you know that it can also save your organization time and money?
Here are the top four ways that your utility can improve its operational efficiencies and save money through the use of a customer portal specifically designed for utility providers:
#1 - Improve Self-Service
We live in an on-demand world where customers demand answers to their questions on their preferred devices, outside of the traditional 9-5 business hours that most organizations are constrained to. Well instead of relying on your customer service team to always answer your customer queries via a phone call, why not build a strategy in which customers’ consistently have the answer to their questions in the palm of their hands.
Through a customer portal solution, your utility can provide customers with immediate access to their account, where they can pay their bills via eBilling, receive notifications and alerts, review usage data, update account information and much more.
By encouraging your customers to help themselves through either a browser account or a dedicated mobile application, your utility is able to reduce call volumes to your customer service department, which saves you both time and money.
#2 - The Automation of Manual Tasks
Manual, rudimentary tasks can be incredibly time-consuming for employees, detracting them away from important tasks that actually allow your utility to deliver real value to your customer that drives up satisfaction levels. A customer portal can make use of Smart Forms and workflows to automate customer service queries and direct them to the appropriate department, or agent.
Automation removes inefficiencies within your internal operations, prevents human error from occurring and ensures the seamless flow of customer service queries to the right teams. This increases the speed and efficiency of how your utility customer service department works, allowing them to spend time on the tasks that result in true ROI.
#3 - Increase Utility Employee Retention
Staff turnover is often seen as one of the most challenging aspects of running a customer service department. That’s because the best employees want to be challenged with rewarding tasks, not pigeon-holed with the manual processes and same simple customer requests they receive daily.
By using a customer portal to address easier questions via online self-service, your support agents will be left with more challenging and complex issues. As a result, your employees will feel more valued and thus, more rewarded and more satisfied. This increases employee engagement, and reduces attrition rates within your utility’s customer service department.
#4 - Cut Down on Paper Use
There’s a growing demand from customers who want the organizations they do business with to become more environmentally-friendly. This is one reason why your utility may decide to cut down on those paper bills that you mail out to customers, but there’s also a tonne of other benefits such as speeding up your revenue cycle through eBilling, improving the customer experience by making it easier for customers to access information online as well as saving time and money.
By using a customer portal to reduce costs associated with paper invoices, bills and reports that are typically mailed or faxed to customers, your utility’s procurement department will be able to save money and your customer service team will be able to work more efficiently.
Want to learn more about the benefits that a customer portal solution can bring both your customers, and your utility? Contact Silverblaze today. Our award-winning SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities has been designed specifically to provide utility providers with a value-focused, highly-customizable self-service portal.