The energy industry has seen significant changes over the past decade, and the pandemic has only increased what customers expect from their electricity providers even further.
This has been a challenge for electric utility providers, which have traditionally operated in an industry with little-to-no competition. This lack of competition left many management teams seeing no real value or ROI in prioritizing the customer experience and investing in innovative technologies.
But, that has changed dramatically in the past few years. The customer experience is no longer an option…it’s a necessity, and today’s electric utilities understand that. The customer experience is an opportunity for electric utility providers to improve customer satisfaction, increase utility-customer engagement levels and even access internal efficiency gains.
So, what’s to lose? According to a study from Accenture, nothing! On the topic of utility technology adoption, Accenture said: “Leading utilities recognize the need to do things differently. They are innovating to compete in the energy transition. They are creating new business models to meet customers’ changing needs.”
With that in mind, in this blog we take a look at some of the top trends in electric utility software. Here are a few key technologies that will help your electric utility improve customer satisfaction and find new productivity wins.
#1 – Self-Service Customer Portal
Due to the need for immediate information, today’s customers want to help themself. They want self-service options where they can change their account information, pay their bills, view their utility usage and get the latest information and updates from their electric utility provider. They can do all this, and more, with a utility customer portal.
A customer portal is a self-service platform, either web-based or delivered through an app, where customers can access everything they need in regards to their electric utility account. It benefits the customer because it provides a superior experience and a seamless way to find/change the information they need, and it benefits the utility because it reduces costs, improves customer satisfaction and reduces call volume to the customer service department (resulting in a lower cost-to-serve).
#2 – Remote Account Access
Modern electric utility software makes it possible for customers to access their account when they want, where they want, however they want to (mobile, tablet, or PC). Many utility customers are simply unable to visit a physical office or call their customer service department during regular office hours. Remote account access gives these customers the ability to modify their accounts at a time that is convenient for them. Not only does this capability increase engagement, it also increases customer satisfaction by allowing them to take an active role in their utilities.
One of the most popular and effective ways to deliver remote electric utility account access is through a mobile application. Mobile apps can deliver a seamless customer portal experience, allowing utility customers to access their utility accounts directly from their favourite device and a time that best suits their lifestyle.
#3 – Online Billing
Billing, where do we start? It’s one of the only times a customer ever interacts with their electric utility provider, and it was traditionally a slow and laborious process. Bills would be posted out to customers, and customers would then come into the local office to make a payment.
Things have come a long way since then, and there’s a new electric utility software trend in town that’s taking billing to an entirely new level. Online billing. Online billing, also known as eBilling, gives electric utility customers the ability to pay their bills directly from their desktop, laptop, or mobile device when it’s most convenient for them. With the right electric utility software, your customers can also sign up for eBilling notifications and pre-authorized payments, ensuring their bills are paid on time every month.
Are you implementing any of these top trends in electric utility software?
Keeping up to date with the latest top trends in electric utility software will ensure your utility is able to continue to deliver a world-class customer service and seamless customer experience as your customer demands change.
Whether you want to focus on eBilling, empower your customers to modify their own accounts, provide outage maps for your customers, or set up notifications and alerts so you can send out instant updates to your customers, the latest electric utility software innovations make this all possible.
Do you want to learn which electric utility software solutions might be the right for your business requirements? Get in touch with SilverBlaze today. Our team of utility customer engagement specialists would love to answer your questions.