Customer experience and customer service are critical to a utility provider’s customer satisfaction and engagement.They are often used interchangeably, but did you know that they are two different things?
Customer experience is a customer’s overall perception of your brand resulting from every interaction they have with your company. These interactions can include, but are in no way limited to, reading your blog or FAQ, talking to customer service via chat, or paying a bill.
To provide an excellent customer experience, every touch point needs to be considered and perfected across all your teams, departments and channels. A negative customer experience can greatly impact a utility’s overall growth.
Customer service, on the other hand, is the assistance and advice that you provide to customers. Good customer service is just one part of the overall customer experience, though it generally plays a significant role, especially in the utility industry.
Customer experience and customer service have some other differentiating factors as well.
1 – Proactive vs Reactive
Your customer experience is about anticipating what your clients need and forecasting how those needs will change so that you can continue to meet them. Customer service, however , is typically a reactive process where you respond to clients’ problems as they bring them to you.
2 – Ongoing vs Isolated Events
Customer experience takes a holistic approach to customer management focusing on building long-term relationships. Good customer service can be a part of building these relationships, but involves managing and measuring the outcomes of isolated events.
3 – Metrics
Customer service is measured through key performance indicators like customer satisfaction, customer effort scores and net promoter score. These can be used to help you understand your customer experience, but customer experience is generally measured using metrics such as lifetime value, retention rate, churn rate and more.
Now, you may be wondering whether customer experience is really that important in the utility business. Afterall, there aren’t nearly as many competitors in the utility industry. That means you aren’t vying for customers in the same way a retail company would, where customer retention and customer loyalty is imperative.
But a good customer experience has important benefits in all industries, even the utility industry.
Firstly, a good customer experience can help increase positive reviews and improve your brand reputation. This can help attract top talent for your workforce, as well as investors and government buy in.
Similarly, a good customer experience can lead to less criticism, negative communication and general frustration among customers. That means the interactions your employees have with them will be more productive. This can help improve your employee’s mental health, reduce turn around, and improve productivity.
A good customer experience can also increase your company’s perceived value. This can provide opportunities for price increases with limited resistance, and can help you increase revenues more quickly and with less bad press.
How a Customer Portal can Improve your Utility Customer Experience
Over the past few years, there has been a shift in the way customers look at customer service. While customers will still reach out to customer service teams with complex issues, their expectation is different for low-level problems.
If a customer perceives their issue as something that can be easily resolved, they will want to try and fix it themselves.
That’s where a utility customer portal comes in. By offering a customer port1 -al, you are meeting consumer needs and providing a more personalized experience. In turn, this will enhance their overall perception of your brand.
This not only benefits the customer. It also helps your business by:
- Allowing staff to focus on more complex issues and provide quick response to easy questions
- Providing a channel for 24-hour support
- Improving engagement and customer satisfaction
- Making it easier for customers to pay their bills
- Providing a secure platform to share information
- Helping to collect customer feedback through surveys, scores and commentary
- Increasing the scalability of customer support
For more information on how a customer portal can improve your customer experience and your business’ overall growth, contact us today.