Utility service outages are a leading cause of call center overload; in return, the consumer receives lower-than-average customer service. Companies that are able to notify customers in real-time of emergency outages, brief service interruptions, and scheduled maintenance outages are able to reduce the strain on customer service representatives.
Not only that, but a recent survey by J.D. Power and Company determined that proactive outage reporting can be a powerful opportunity to build customer satisfaction. The study found that 66 per cent of utilities are providing informational alerts regarding the cause of the outage, how many people are affected and an estimate for the restoration of service. Utility customers who receive alerts are more likely to give their utility company a higher customer satisfaction score than those customers who didn’t.
It’s a win-win situation. Utility companies benefit from increased customer self-service, resulting in a reduced number of high-volume repetitive calls to the customer service departments; ultimately, consumers benefit from easy and quick access to information they need. No more waiting on the phone or listening to recorded messages. The communication is as instant as possible because it is sent immediately and read on the customer’s device.
When it comes to instant notifications, mobile apps are the most convenient method due to the large amount of mobile users. In cases where electricity or cable internet is interrupted, customers are able to receive alerts on their phones using their cell phone network.
When customers are connected to their utility company with a mobile app, they are able to receive communications at any time and any place, while responding to the situation as they see fit. For example, a remote worker may have other options for a work location if power or internet service is affected by an unscheduled outage.
The J.D. Powers and Company study also found that over 35% of utility customers were accessing their utilities website using a mobile device. Not all websites are optimized for mobile usage and a purpose-built mobile app can increase the user experience by providing content and navigation tailored to mobile touch screens. Utility companies should consider mobile design and mobile apps as a strategy to increase up-take on online services.
The SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities was built to provide the optimum customer experience across all devices, mobile and desktop. Push notifications inform customers about upcoming planned outages, usage updates, and when their latest paperless bill is available to pay.
Along with notifications, SilverBlaze offers an optional add-on for outage system integration. Our OMS Web Extensions Portal includes:
- OMS integration– real-time, secure web service calls
- Outage Notification – sign-up and management
- Report Outage Forms – customer and CSR-facing
- Outage Notifications – email, SMS/text
- Outage Map – based on Google Maps
- IVR web services integration
At SilverBlaze, our team is focused on developing innovative solutions for the utility sector that responds to technology advancements and customer trends. This is why we are pleased to announce the release of the NEW SilverBlaze Customer Portal Mobile App. From billing to usage monitoring and notifications, your customers will have a robust, easy-to-use mobile app within reach whenever they need to connect with you.
We’d be pleased to connect with you and provide a personalized experience. For a demo of the feature-rich mobile version of The SilverBlaze Customer Portal, click the link below or contact us.