Utility companies serve broad, diverse populations and require dynamic approaches to marketing and engagement. Utilities that effectively engage customers enjoy higher satisfaction and retention rates, reduced customer support costs, and improved reputations.
In the sections below, we’ll discuss the tools and strategies that utility companies embrace for effective marketing and engagement.
Understanding Customer Engagement in Utilities
Customer engagement refers to a business’s efforts to encourage productive interactions with customers. Engaged consumers are proactive, receptive, and interested in learning more about a company’s services.
In the utility industry, customer engagement is an important driver of customer satisfaction and retention. Utility customers have lots of questions—when they’re empowered to seek answers and solutions, customers are happier and easier to serve.
These days, customers have high expectations regarding communication channels, information access, and rapid response times. To meet these modern needs, it’s essential for utilities to provide excellent digital engagement tools.
Utilizing Engagement Software and Building a Robust Digital Presence
Customer engagement software solutions are tools for helping customers navigate their utility service. Engagement software is used for building platforms like portals and apps that customers can use for managing their accounts and requesting information. These tools streamline support operations and personalize the customer experience.
Engagement software also automates a substantial amount of data collection, helping utilities to better understand their customers. Recording a data point for each transaction and communication makes it possible to perform analytics that support a utility’s key decision-making areas, like marketing and financial planning.
Along with engagement software platforms, a robust digital presence also includes a user-friendly website. A well-designed website serves as the hub of a utility’s marketing efforts and a conduit for sharing useful information and linking to social media accounts.
To draw traffic to your website, provide helpful content in the form of blog articles and interesting web copy. Implement search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to target high-opportunity keywords, matching your content to the most-searched-for concepts in your industry. High-quality content connects potential customers to the information they’re seeking. It also positions your brand as a credible industry authority.
Tools and Strategies for Effective Customer Engagement
Email Marketing for Continuous Engagement
Email is a powerful and effective communication tool that can take center stage in your marketing and engagement campaigns. Emails offer an incredibly high return on investment, as they’re easy to produce and can rapidly reach a large number of readers.
For best results, consider these best practices for emails:
- Keep messages short and focused
- Build each message around a clear and specific call to action (CTA)
- Avoid getting “tuned out” due to sending too many emails
- Send emails during optimal engagement times: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday between 9 am and 12 pm
Use analytics to optimize your email marketing strategy. Monitor which types of messages bring about the desired results (such as click-throughs to your website) and continuously explore creative approaches for improving engagement.
Online Customer Support and Chatbots
A customer portal should provide a variety of communication channels, including a way for customers to receive instant support. Since customer service representatives can’t be immediately available around the clock, chatbots are useful fill-ins.
Chatbots simulate conversation to provide answers to basic questions and transfer complicated requests to customer service reps.
The overuse of a chatbot system can easily frustrate customers. However, the appropriate use of chatbots is well-received, thanks to the speed and efficiency of an automated response system.
User Generated Content and Community Building
Encourage customers to leave reviews of your company. Reviews help with reputation building and also inform your leadership team of what is and isn’t working. Reviews also provide quotable endorsements that can be leveraged for marketing purposes.
You may also choose to set up a customer forum within your website or portal. This allows customers to engage with one another, often leading to fast user-generated solutions that reduce the demand on your customer support staff.
Utility Education and Information
Your digital platforms should provide customers with all the information they might be seeking. That includes access to their own account info and usage history, as well as general info on topics like efficiency and sustainability. Tools like digital brochures, blog posts, and videos are all useful for sharing content.
Monitoring and Measuring Engagement
Evaluate the success of engagement efforts with ongoing measuring and monitoring. Track metrics like website visits, portal logins, and customer service inquiries to determine how interested your customers and potential customers are in engaging with your brand.
Get Better Engagement for Your Utility Company
Effective utility marketing and engagement strategies are data-driven and powered by intuitive software. At SilverBlaze, we provide utilities with software solutions that improve engagement and boost financial performance. Request a product demonstration today to learn more.