The landscape of utility software has changed dramatically in the last few years. If utility providers are to keep their customers both engaged and satisfied in today’s customer experience-focused world, they need to stay up to date with the latest, and greatest, customer engagement software for utilities.
But, this shouldn’t be viewed as a “challenge”. The customer experience represents a massive opportunity for utility providers.
Those able to keep up with these changes will realize improved customer engagement, a happier customer base and bi-directional dialogue that benefits both the customer and the utility.
This is highlighted in a study from Frost & Sullivan that looks at the top 10 economic trends for 2022.
Aroop Zutshi, Global President at Frost & Sullivan, said: “Companies that embarked on digital transformation were able to manage the pandemic more than those that are not digitally enabled. Digital transformation will continue to play an important role in the next year and years to come and will be forced on any organization going forward.”
Why utility customer engagement software is essential in the digital world
Technology has drastically changed customer behaviour. Customers now expect convenient and immediate customer service, in addition to self-service technologies that make it easy for them to find the information they want, when they want to look for it.
In fact, a study from McKinsey – which involved nearly 20,000 residential utility customers, representing 84 utilities in North America – found a disparity in customer-experience performance among utilities, with top-quartile performers seeing three to four times higher net customer satisfaction than those in the bottom quartile.
By investing in utility customer engagement software, utility providers are able to improve how they communicate with the customer, drive up satisfaction metrics, create a more engaged customer, and, ultimately, build a world-class customer experience.
So, with that in mind, what is the top customer engagement software for utilities? We look at five key solutions here that can help digitally transform your utility, reducing your cost-to-serve and dramatically improving utility customer engagement.
The Top 5 Customer Engagement Software for Utilities
#1 – Self-Service Customer Portal
Whether delivered through a mobile application or web page, utility providers today can realize huge benefits by allowing customers to manage their accounts through a customer portal. A utility customer portal is essentially a dedicated hub where customers can access their accounts, pay their bills, review usage data, send customer queries and much more, making the entire utility experience seamless.
#2 – Smart Metering
With the implementation of smart metering, utility providers can move away from conventional analogue meters that are read annually, and instead gain quick and accurate meter readings of a utility customer’s usage in real-time. The data from smart meters can be used to send real-time usage alerts to utility customers, helping them to save money and meet their environmental goals. The more insightful and valuable data a utility can send its customers, the more engaged those customers will be.
#3 – Electronic Billing
Billing is one of the most common points of contact that a utility has with its customer. As a result, a seamless billing solution can dramatically improve customer satisfaction levels. eBilling, also known as paperless billing or electric billing, is a method used by utilities to allow their customers to pay their bills online. When billing is made easy, customers are significantly more likely to be both engaged and satisfied with their utility provider.
#4 – Notifications and Alerts
Due to the ever increasing ease of digital communication, customers no longer expect utility communication to be a one-way street. They want their utilities to be engaging, positioning themselves as an energy partner and not just a service provider. Notifications and alerts give utility providers a way to directly contact their customers with important information around outages, utility usage and billing.
#5 – Back-End Customer Query Routing Software
All of the above customer engagement tools are customer facing, but high-quality customer engagement also comes from seamless internal efficiencies. For example, here at SilverBlaze we use our innovative Smart Forms and Workflow Software to efficiently route customer queries to the appropriate team without the need of human intervention or approval (unless required), which in itself avoids the event of an error or omission. Seamless interactions lead to higher customer engagement levels.
Interested in learning more about these customer engagement tools for utilities? Contact SilverBlaze today. Our team of utility customer portal and customer experience specialists would love to answer any questions that you may have.