Utility providers - whether in the electricity, water and sewer, natural gas, telecom or multi-service utility sector - have traditionally been slow to embrace disruptive technologies and new customer service strategies due to a lack of competition within their sectors.
This competition still hasn’t changed, but the way customers perceive the companies they engage with has shifted massively - and utility providers are no different.
The evolution of technology and customer-driven companies have resulted in a change in how consumers perceive value. Value is no longer just a matter of price and superior products/services, it’s much more than that.
Modern-day consumers value the customer experience (CX), which is every single point of contact they have with your utility, over anything else. Basic customer support is no longer enough, if you really want to satisfy your customers then you need to become customer-centric and create a strategic plan that focuses on CX.
Going above and beyond for your customers with new technologies to reduce customer service friction across every touchpoint, as well as enhancing their utility experience (such as installing smart meters or introducing ebilling), is the key to customer happiness.
That’s why thinking about the entire customer journey is essential to the overall customer experience you offer. But what exactly is the customer journey and how does it apply to the utility industry?
What is the customer journey?
The typical customer journey is made up of the awareness stage, consideration stage and decision stage, in which a customer realizes they have a problem, considers the solutions, and then purchases that solution from their desired company.
Due to a lack of competitors, this obviously doesn’t apply to utility providers. However, just because your business doesn’t have a typical customer journey doesn’t mean you don’t have one at all.
A utility customer journey should look at each and every interaction that a customer could potentially have with your company - and how you can improve the customer experience by reducing customer effort, improving self-service channels and providing valuable information that can help them make informed decisions to reduce energy costs and their carbon footprint.
What are client personas?
One important aspect of the customer journey is creating client personas. These personas should be a representation of the different customers that could contact your business - think the energy-efficient customer, the person that wants to reduce costs or the customer that calls in frustration when their service is down.
The creation of these personas will help your utility understand what drives a particular customer to contact you and what technologies and customer service strategies you’ll need to put in place to deliver a superior customer experience.
Personas will help you to work out what your customers' challenges are, how they prefer to communicate with your brand, what they expect from your utility, what your company voice should be and much more.
With this information, you’ll be able to see where your customer experience might be underperforming and what technologies or strategies you’ll need to implement to improve it.
How can an innovative customer portal help your business create a seamless customer journey?
Improving the customer experience with your customer journey in mind is all about making use of innovative technologies - that’s where the SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities comes into play.
The use of our world-class customer portal and the integrations that can be added to it (such as notifications and alerts, smart metering, ebilling and much more) will offer your company numerous benefits, including:
- Improving customer engagement.
- Enhancing the customer experience.
- Improved customer service.
- Save your business time and money.
- Automate inefficient processes.
- And much more.
Do you want to learn more about our Customer Portal for Utilities and find out how it can enhance your customer journey and help create a superior customer experience? Contact our team of experts today. We will be more than happy to answer any questions you have.