If you’re a utility, then you should be looking to better understand your utility customer, so that you can improve the customer experience, enhance your own internal efficiencies and drive up utility customer satisfaction. But how? A utility customer portal can help you do just that.
The utility provider and utility customer interaction has traditionally been very one sided. Utilities only reached out to customers when a bill was due, and customers only phoned their utility providers when they were experiencing a billing or outage problem.
The result? Utility providers had limited insight into customer interests and behaviour.
In recent years, the utility industry has experienced a huge paradigm shift towards a two-sided dialogue. Customers are more empowered, more engaged and expect more exceptional customer service from their utilities than ever before.
Learning about the interests and behaviours of your customers can help you better understand their needs and therefore better meet their expectations.
The use of a customer portal solution designed specifically for utility providers can help your utility compile customer intelligence that significantly enhances the service and interactions you have with your utility customers.
What is Customer Intelligence
Customer intelligence is defined as information and insights obtained from the collection of customer data through internal and external sources. Customer intelligence helps businesses to understand more about their customer, with the goal of providing them with better service and desired products.
When it comes to utility providers and customer intelligence, a report from IBM, says: “Understanding your customer is the first rule of customer service. To succeed, utility companies need a 360-degree view of customer preferences, behavior, attitudes and expectations.”
This data can be collected in a number of ways, but one of the most effective ways for utilities to collect data is through the use of a utility customer portal.
What is a Utility Customer Portal?
A utility customer portal is a customer-facing software platform, delivered through either a web browser or mobile application. It’s designed specifically to improve the way in which utility providers and their customers interact with each other.
A customer portal operates as a dedicated hub where utility customers can access all of the services and information they need in regards to their utility, and utility providers can seamlessly send out important information to their customers.
Through a utility customer portal, customers can:
- pay bills online;
- view their current and past utility usage information;
- receive notifications and alerts directly from their utility provider;
- send customer service queries without having to phone the utility’s call center;
- and much more!
How Does That Help Your Utility Collect Customer Intelligence?
Utility customer portals have a plethora of uses and benefits for both utility providers and their customers, from reducing customer service wait times, increasing a utility’s internal efficiencies and providing 24/7 customer service.
Yet, the use of a customer portal can go so much deeper than that. By collecting customer data, utility providers are able to analyze advanced information and key insights into their customers’ preferences, behaviours and expectations - without the need for invasive methods such as surveys and interviews.
For example, by monitoring where customers are active on the customer portal, utility providers can gain a clearer understanding of how to develop content that will provide value to customers moving forward.
With customer portal data utilities can answer important questions, such as:
- Are customers subscribing to outage alerts?
- Are customers using paperless billing?
- Are customers electric to receive service notifications?
A customer portal presents a new way in which utility providers can develop their engagement and understanding of customers in the digital age. Through rich, quantitative data, customer portals can further a utility provider's customer engagement and give them the insights they need to provide superior customer service.
Interested in learning more about how a customer portal solution for utilities can help you enhance your customer experience? Get in touch with SilverBlaze today. We would love to help!