Utility service providers are expected to meet incredibly high customer service standards. These days, great customer service requires more than a smile and a friendly voice.
Today’s utility customers expect user-friendly digital options for managing their accounts, making payments, and communicating with their providers. Fortunately, providing an excellent customer experience is a win for utilities, too. Streamlined communications and helpful self-service options lead to greater operational efficiency and reduced demands on customer service representatives.
At SilverBlaze, we help utilities connect with their customers using software that streamlines communications and simplifies operations. Below, we’ll discuss the software features and customer engagement strategies that differentiate top-notch customer service centers for utilities.
Understanding the Modern Utility Customer
For both sides of the utility-customer relationship, voice calls are slow and inefficient. Digital solutions that eliminate calls reduce the demand on a customer support staff while opening up fast, convenient, 24/7 support options for customers.
In meeting the digital-first preferences of modern utility consumers, a customer service center should emphasize:
Meeting these objectives means providing customer service platforms and experiences that are convenient, comprehensible, and delay-free for all customers.
Essential Features of a High-Engagement Utility Customer Service Center
User-Friendly Self-Service Portal
A user-friendly customer portal makes it easy for customers to manage their accounts and find answers to questions without requiring assistance.
At SilverBlaze, our customer portal design emphasizes customization for utilities and 24/7 self-service options for utility customers. Self-service features include:
- Billing and payment
- Consumption tracking
- Alerts and notifications
These self-service offerings empower customers to take control of their accounts and their user experience, resulting in reduced call volumes and improved customer satisfaction rates.
Intelligent Forms and Workflows
Software tools like SilverBlaze’s Workflows and Smart Forms help utility teams streamline workflows and customize digital engagement offerings. These tools present customers with intuitive, intelligent forms, i.e. forms with interactive elements that guide users through the process of inputting information. Effective use of intelligent forms helps utilities implement automation that leads to quicker issue resolution and improved data accuracy.
Utilities perform complicated data collection processes in order to properly bill customers and manage resources efficiently. These challenges require software systems that never stop working, with seamless integration and data consistency across different platforms and modules.
Because every utility faces unique challenges, SilverBlaze offers platform add-ons such as Outage Management System (OMS) web extensions that enhance data consistency and scalability.
Comprehensive Customer Support Options
Modern customer service for a utility emphasizes the use of digital communication channels. Along with phone support, options like direct chat, AI chatbots, and email make it easy for customers to interact with providers in their preferred channels.
If digital communications are slow or confusing, then customers become frustrated and efficiency gains aren’t realized. However, with great software and well-trained staff, these offerings can lead to streamlined communications, reduced demand on customer support staff, and greater customer satisfaction.
Enhancing Customer Engagement Beyond the Basics
Along with the essential features described above, here are a few additional considerations for enhancing customer engagement and providing excellent customer service experiences.
Personalized User Experience
To meet the needs of a diverse customer base, personalize the user experience. On digital customer service platforms, it’s easy to offer customers features, options, and content that are tailored to individual preferences. This may involve segmenting users based on characteristics such as geographic location. Or, self-service options can provide users with opportunities to control their user interface and determine notification settings.
Proactive Communication Strategies
Along with offering helpful communication channels, customer engagement software enables automated notifications and reminders. Outage notifications, billing reminders, and other messages can be employed to help customers stay informed and control their accounts.
Utilizing Feedback for Continuous Improvement
Customer engagement platforms make it easy to monitor customer behavior trends and solicit feedback. Customer feedback can be gathered through a customer portal using survey questions. Or, a utility can work with third-party groups that help companies solicit and analyze customer satisfaction data.
Security and Data Protection
Digital solutions bring data security risks. To combat these hazards, utilities use tools like encrypted communications and multi-factor authentication to ensure the protection of customer data.
Security concerns should be properly communicated to customers in order to build trust and improve compliance with recommended measures.
To maintain the highest levels of security, it’s important for utility managers to work with their software providers to coordinate prompt software updates and to ensure that the workforce is well-trained on security matters.
Get Better Customer Engagement for Your Utility Company
SilverBlaze’s customer portal software is a comprehensive customer engagement solution for utilities. Contact SilverBlaze today to schedule a product demonstration.