Two main objectives come to mind when utilities want to improve business - firstly, they want to improve operational efficiencies so that they can better allocate their internal resources and save costs. Secondly, they want to build better customer experiences and improve customer satisfaction.
In fact, a 2019 study from KPMG found that projects that increase efficiency and save money were reported as having a higher priority within the industry - driven by rapid changes in market conditions.
The use of digital technologies are now playing a key role in advancing business strategy, with 75 percent of utilities commenting in the KPMG survey that their management boards are looking for the IT function to improve operational efficiencies within their business.
What if we told you that your utility could both improve operational efficiencies and increase customer satisfaction by implementing some innovative technologies into your processes?
Your utility can now make use of self-service platforms, customer-facing technologies and automated software to reduce strain on your customer service department, improve your internal processes and significantly improve the customer experience.
Why are operational efficiencies important for your utility?
The definition of operational efficiency isn’t a complicated one. It’s simply the steps that your utility takes to streamline its day-to-day processes, improve business performance, better allocate your internal resources and save costs.
Implementing the right technologies that give your business tangible results is slightly more complicated, however.
To successfully achieve new operational efficiencies your utility must implement technologies that automate manual processes, create seamless information sharing across departments, reduce strain on your customer service team and encourage customers to answer their own queries where possible.
Which utility technologies improve operational efficiencies and boost customer satisfaction?
With the right technologies in place, your utility will finally be able to not only improve operational efficiencies, but also significantly reduce costs and generate better customer issue resolutions - but what technologies are needed?
SilverBlaze has listed just a couple of technologies here that can improve both your utility’s customer satisfaction metrics and operational efficiency KPIs in one innovative solution.
#1 - A customer portal for utility providers
A utility customer portal is a secure website or mobile application that allows customers to manage their entire utility account on one user-friendly platform without requiring the help from a customer service representative.
Customers can use a customer portal for a range of tasks, including receiving outage notifications, updating personal information, making a payment, finding a resolution to an issue, managing their utility usage and much more.
Available 24/7, on any preferred device, utility customers can use customer portals as a self-service platform to resolve any queries or account changes they have. This dramatically reduces the need for an employee-to-customer interaction, and therefore allowing employees to tend to more prioritized tasks rather than consuming valuable work hours resolving a common issue for multiple customers..
Since everything your customer may possibly need to know, or change on their account, is accessible through a customer portal, the implementation of a customer portal can save your utility customer service representatives a huge amount of time. As a result, your utility will be able to focus its resources on more complex queries and build more efficient operational processes that deliver true value to your customers.
#2 - Smart forms that revolutionize how your internally work
Web forms are a way of collecting information from customers or collating customer queries without them having to physically phone into your customer service team. The issue with these simple web forms is that they require manual processes on your utility’s back-end in order to redirect the form to the correct department to successfully resolve the query.
Smart forms designed for utility providers are the future. Smart forms serve the same purpose as simple web forms, but they use technologies such as electronic completion, dynamic sections, validations, CIS integration and electronic submission to automate the entire process for both your employees and your customer.
Smart forms can be used for any utility customer requirement, from account changes, service requests, issue reporting, move-out requests, pre-authorized debit applications and much more - using integrated workflow to intelligently direct customer queries to the correct department.
By transitioning your utility’s reliance on emails, phone calls and spreadsheets to smart forms, your business will be able to automate utility customer service requests and create faster and more effective operational processes.
Are you interested in learning more about how these technologies can lower utility operating costs and improve operational efficiencies, all while increase customer satisfaction at the same time? Contact the SilverBlaze team of experts today. Our award-winning software has been specifically developed to revolutionize how utility providers operate.