Technology has evolved significantly over the past decade, and with it has come a new customer; a customer who expects a more seamless experience from brands and service providers than ever before.
For utilities to successfully improve customer satisfaction, a focus on reducing customer effort, increasing customer engagement and improving the customer experience is crucial. Technology can help make all of that happen.
That’s why, according to Accenture, 59 percent of utility executives report that the pace of digital transformation for their organization is accelerating.
Utilities are uniquely positioned in that the market has traditionally lacked competition, and, as a result, many providers have held off investing in technology innovations. But as customer expectations evolve, this is simply no longer an option.
Customers now demand increased dialogue from their utility providers, and that means real-time usage data, outage notifications and so much more. Consumers want to be able to pay their bills at the click of a button, they want to compare their usage easily to the previous month and they want to learn how they can make adjustments to their energy consumption habits in order to save money.
Thankfully, technology has yielded innovative opportunities for traditional services in the power, water, gas and telecom utilities industries. Companies are now in a better position to engage with their customers and create a more enjoyable, and valuable experience.
The most successful utility providers moving forward will be the ones who invest in innovative technology that will allow them to reap the benefits of improved customer satisfaction, in addition to better internal efficiencies and an engaged customer base.
With that in mind, what are some of the top technologies driving utility customer engagement in 2022?
#1 – Utility Customer Portal
A well designed customer web solution – such as the SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities – allows utility providers to offer a range of services that customers can interact with at their own convenience, and on their own device.
Increased engagement through self-service features allows utility providers to optimize their processes and deliver an improved return on investment (ROI).
A comprehensive utility portal takes into account the complete 360 customer experience, from becoming a new customer, to managing services, ebilling, online payments, smart tools, utility service notifications and alerts – to request for disconnection when the customer moves on.
The result? Your customers will be more engaged with your utility than ever before.
Not only that, but a utility portal will also improve internal efficiencies for utility providers.
A customer portal will automate utility forms, cutting out those frustrating paper forms that were once handled through PDFs, spreadsheets and other time consuming methods. Making these available through your customer’s browser, tablet and/or smartphone is a cost-effective and time saving strategy that will not only improve engagement with your consumer and enhance their overall experience, but also free up time for your customer service team.
#2 – The Growth of the Smart Home
Smart devices, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home, have become hugely popular over the past few years, and sales of these devices are only growing. These devices allow consumers to automate their home with current trends, including remote mobile control, thermostat adjustment, automated heating and text notifications.
These industry disruptors are giving customers increased control over spending, access to real-time information and more options on how to interact with their utilities. As a result, they are disrupting traditional services and winning market share with what is a customer-centric model.
These smart technologies give utility providers an opportunity to enhance their offering to customers and enhance customer engagement.
Through smart metering, utility providers can enhance their communication efforts with customers, send real-time notifications when they are experiencing high usage, provide accurate utility usage tracking and offer price plan comparison tools.
We’ve moved beyond the experimental stage with home smart devices – consumers now expect convenient ways to automate and control their home services from their smartphones, and utility providers can help them do that.
3 – New tools to improve customer service efficiencies
Customers today want instant answers to their questions. Self-service is a game changer here, as it allows utilities to offer instant issue resolution and important information through their customers preferred means of communications.
Utilities can seamlessly answer customer questions by rolling out push notifications, answering popular questions on their website with an FAQ page, or including automated forms on their website or customer portal so that questions are directed to the right customer service representative (CSR).
Not only does all this improve the customer experience and increase customer satisfaction, it also leads to internal efficiencies for a utility’s customer service department – including, lower time per call, faster issue resolution, internal efficiency improvements and lower delivery costs.
Empowering customers to manage their own utility accounts, enhances customer satisfactions and saves CSR huge amounts of time on manual tasks so that they can focus on valuable revenue-generating activities.
Want to learn more about how your utility can embrace technology to enhance customer engagement in 2022? Contact SilverBlaze today. Our team of experts would love to help your improve your customer experience, and implement a customer experience strategy with the future in mind.