Commodity or differentiated service? Despite utility products often being viewed as commodities, this concept is changing and it is now considered important for the utility industry to develop their customer relationships and become a trusted service or energy provider, rather than just numbers on a piece of paper.
A theme that has been developing across North America for the last couple of years is how to build customer satisfaction and loyalty with customer engagement. Utilities are adapting their methods, from implementing new technology to aid customer experience, to working on how they communicate with their customers.
Customers want to see that the businesses they are interacting with are adapting to the times, and keeping up trends, technology and customer service norms. Some companies have reinvented themselves, completely changed the way they deliver their products or services, in response to advances in technology.
You may not be aware that Netflix started out as a postal movie service, delivering physical copies to customers through the postal system, before developing their online streaming service. Netflix knew that going digital would be more convenient for their customers, reduce their operating costs, and would provide a model that could scale globally.
Often transformative solutions bring a win-win to consumers and businesses.
Having a customer centric focus at your utility company can set the stage for continued growth, lower service costs, create happier customers, and provide a competitive advantage should the market be disrupted in the future.
The theme to increase customer engagement has grown exponentially because of shifting customer expectations, digitization of home devices, and as consumers increasingly want to connect with businesses online.
How can utilities keep in step, and develop their customer service and engagement offerings to serve the needs of their customers, now, and into the future?
A popular change across many service industries is the movement towards e-billing. E-billing allows customers to see their bills online, manage their spending better and even pay via their phone or mobile device. Many consumers see this as a standard offer, an expected type of service. Not offering online payment and e-billing is seen as a mark of being behind the times.
Utility companies can do more than digitize the payment process. Utility customers are interested in their utility usage and accessing consumption information. Giving real time data to consumers provides transparency into the process and allows consumers to make better usage decisions. This fits with the Utility’s Demand Conservation Program, by actively empowering and educating customers.
Customers satisfaction has been linked to customer effort, how easy it is for a customer to interact with a business. Bringing together e-billing, utility usage data (and more!) into one easy to use web-based platform is highly convenient for utility customers.
With customer portal software such as SilverBlaze, utilities are now able to offer a fully online experience, providing a self branded, custom designed platform, built for customer engagement.
The SilverBlaze Customer Portal delivers a feature rich solution for e-billing, usage tracking and management, Smart forms, content management, and more. It gives utilities the opportunity to interact with customers in new ways, providing relevant information faster – for example, sending push notifications for service outages, usage information, and when payments are due.
The SilverBlaze Customer Portal helps public, private, and municipal utility providers, throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean, to improve customer satisfaction with increased engagement, while delivering positive ROI results.
The SilverBlaze Customer Portal Enhances Customer Engagement
There’s no better way to learn how the portal could work for your organization than by experiencing it for yourself. Request a demo to see firsthand what it’s like to use our self-service web portal, and get answers to questions like:
How does it work?
What do the portals look like?
How much can I customize my portal?
Which features will offer me most benefit?
What is the portal like to manage?
How will the portal integrate with the systems I already use? And more!