Commodity or differentiated service? Despite utility products traditionally being viewed as commodities, this concept is changing rapidly in recent years.
It is now considered highly important for the utility industry to develop customer relationships that enable them to become a trusted service or energy provider. It is no longer enough for utilities to be just a number on a piece of paper (or online bill) every month; they need to educate and inform their customers.
Utility providers now have an opportunity to significantly improve customer satisfaction simply by improving how they engage with customers. To accomplish this, utilities are implementing new technologies that enhance the customer experience and improve communication.
A study from McKinsey & Company found that from 2018 to 2020, utilities that maintained or improved digital satisfaction saw overall customer satisfaction rise by an average of 2 percent, whereas utilities that experienced a decline in customers’ digital satisfaction saw overall customer satisfaction decline by an average of 1 percent.
Utilities that made the most of technology to improve customer engagement were able to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction at lower cost to serve.
Why is Customer Engagement so Important for Utility Providers?
Today’s customers are changing. They expect more interaction with the brands they do business with than ever before, and they expect those interactions to be seamless and easy. They want companies to reach out to them with hints and tips, and they want utility providers to be open and honest about service issues and downtime.
Implementing a customer-centric focus at your utility company can set the stage for continued growth, lower service costs, less strain on your internal resources and happier customers.
So how can utility providers keep up with the latest trends in customer engagement and ensure that their customer service offering is delighting their customers both now, and in the future?
Here at SilverBlaze we have found that one of the most effective ways for utilities to improve customer engagement is through the implementation of a customer portal.
How a Customer Portal Improves Utility Customer Engagement
In the utility industry you have no doubt noticed the huge shift towards eBilling in recent years. eBilling allows customers to see their bills online, manage their spending better and even pay via their phone or mobile device.
While this is important for utility providers to offer, many customers today now expect this from their service providers as well.
But what if you could do more to digitize the payment process, combining your eBilling solution in one centralized platform where your customers can access everything they need to know about their utility account?
That’s exactly what a utility customer portal does. With a customer portal, utility customers can access their utility usage, consumption information, tips on how to save money, information on current outages and so much more.
Giving your utility customers real-time data and helpful information allows you to position yourself one step further than just a mere utility provider, but rather as a partner that genuinely cares about the goals of your customer.
Not only that, but by including all of this information in one portal, you can dramatically reduce customer effort. In fact, a new study from Escalent, found that 93 percent of customer satisfaction is tied to CES - meaning higher customer satisfaction is only possible with improvements on customer effort.
By bringing together eBilling, utility usage data, account information, outages and more into one easy to use web-based platform that provides valuable customer engagement, your utility can create a relationship that is highly convenient for utility customers.
How SilverBlaze can Help
With a customer portal software, such as the SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities, your utility will be able to offer a highly-customized online experience which will dramatically improve customer satisfaction and engagement.
The SilverBlaze Customer Portal delivers a feature rich solution for eBilling, usage tracking and management, Smart Forms, content management, and so much more. It gives utilities the opportunity to interact with customers in new ways, providing valuable and relevant information faster through push notifications and alerts.
Are you interested in learning first-hand how you can improve customer engagement with the SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities? Schedule a demo today.