Today’ utility providers need to be more tuned in to both the customer journey and consumer expectations. That’s because customers expect more from the utility customer experience than ever before.
There are two predominant reasons for the higher customer expectations. Firstly, technology has drastically changed consumer behaviour. Customers now expect convenient and immediate customer service, in addition to self-service technologies that make it easy to find the information they want, when they want to look for it. Secondly, today’s customers have a heightened awareness of sustainability. Many want to make actionable changes to their lifestyle to cut down on their energy consumption, reduce their carbon footprint, and reduce their bills.
Are you interested in learning how a customer portal for utilities solution can help you address both of the above challenges? Read more about the benefits here.
These changes present an opportunity to utility providers, who now have the ability to significantly improve the customer experience and position themselves as an energy partner - not just a service provider.
By focusing on the customer experience and improving customer engagement, utility providers are not only able to significantly improve customer satisfaction levels, but they can also make internal improvements to their processes to improve efficiency, reduce costs and, ultimately, boost profitability.
With that in mind, in this blog we’ve listed five ways in which utility providers can improve utility customer engagement.
1 - Focus on digital transformation
Utility providers have a unique opportunity to develop relationships through digital interactions. Yet, according to J.D. Power’s 2021 Utility Digital Experience study, utilities are continuing to struggle when it comes to delivering a “satisfying” digital experience.
The report states that utility mobile apps and websites have shown they can deliver on basic tasks as the world transitions to digital-first customer engagement models, but more in-depth functions - such as research on energy-saving information or updating service - continue to present major challenges.
By focusing on digital transformation through the implementation of a utility customer portal, utility providers are able to dramatically improve the customer experience and customer engagement by seamlessly providing customers with the tools they need to manage their accounts, pay bills, view energy consumption analytics and so much more!
2 - Become an energy partner, not just a service provider
There’s a global sustainability movement that focuses on energy efficiency and reduced carbon footprint, and your utility has the opportunity to get ahead of the curve and truly become an energy partner for your customers (not just a service provider).
By providing your customers with in-depth reports and analytics that focus on customer usage data, you can proactively help your customers reach their energy consumption goals - whether that is to save money or lead a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.
3 - Put customer safety and convenience at the top of your agenda
No matter where in the world your utility serves its customers, there’s no denying that extreme weather is becoming increasingly common. On top of that, a rising number of people are working from home.
Digital and real-time communication has become an important aspect of a utility’s offering. Customers want notifications and alerts that give them information before, during and after a power outage. If your utility can provide that, your customers will see your business as a reliable and trustworthy provider.
4 - Start creating a two-way dialogue with your utility customers
Long gone are the days where the only interaction utilities had with a customer was sending them their monthly energy bill. Customers today want more information from utility providers, sent directly to their smart devices.
This is an opportunity for your utility to move away from transactional interactions, and instead transition towards true customer engagement opportunities that build a two-way dialogue between your utility and the customer.
A two-way dialogue doesn’t only help your customer It can also improve your internal efficiencies, help your utility meet its own conservation and demand goals and even improve the work of your engineering and operations teams.
5 - Use customer data to your advantage
We live in a world of big data, which is extremely valuable when it comes to improving your customer engagement initiatives. By collecting data and using smart metering you can learn things about your customer such as when they use the most energy and what time of the day they are consuming energy.
This data gives you the insights you need to plan strategic and highly-personalized messaging that can be sent to customers to significantly improve their experience with your organization.
Interested in learning more about improving utility customer engagement, and how a utility customer portal solution can help? Get a free demo of the award-winning SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities today.