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Social media is no longer just a way for consumers to connect with their friends. In fact, social media is now one of the first places they go to connect with the businesses and services they pay for, whether it be to lodge a complaint, to receive information or to ask a question.

Consumers use social media in every aspect of their lives. It’s one of the most popular online activities that users engage in, and a study from Emarsys found that there’s a staggering 3.2 billion social media users worldwide - that’s 42 per cent of the world’s entire population.

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Today’s customers demand more from the organizations they engage with than ever before. That’s why there’s a growing need for utility companies to transition to customer-centric business models if they are to improve customer satisfaction metrics.

In fact, offering customers personalized choice, control over their energy usage, digital management of their accounts and improved engagement channels is now essential to any utility strategy.

Despite this, a study by J.D. Power found that utilities are one of the lowest-performing industries for digital customer experience.

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More, and more, utilities - whether in the electric, water, gas, telecom or multi-service utility sector - are faced with consumer choice, to choose between energy sources, alternative energy providers, or competitive networks. This means utility providers increasingly have reason to invest in customer engagement tools and the back-office staff to support it.

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The customer experience (CX) is becoming increasingly important in all industries, and utility providers now have a range of reasons for wanting to better engage their customers and offer superior customer service. That's why utility customer engagement software is so essential.

In fact, a recent study from Deloitte predicts that utility providers will increasingly invest in new technologies over the next three, five and ten years: “We expect digitalization to increasingly enter the spotlight, as electric power companies map out new ways to deploy rapidly advancing technologies to address challenges and harness opportunities.” 

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Utility providers - whether in the electricity, water and sewer, natural gas, telecom or multi-service utility sector - have traditionally been slow to embrace disruptive technologies and new customer service strategies due to a lack of competition within their sectors.

This competition still hasn’t changed, but the way customers perceive the companies they engage with has shifted massively - and utility providers are no different.

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Utility providers, whether water, sewerage, electricity, gas or telecom, are increasingly realizing that they are in the customer service business.

It hasn’t always been this way. With little to no competition from others within the industry, utility providers in the past have been slow to embrace disruptive technologies that allow them to offer a service that goes above and beyond what their customers expect.

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New innovations in technology and the constant evolution of consumer expectations are forcing change across all industries, and the utility sector is no different. Utility providers must now use next-generation technology to satisfy their customers, or risk being left behind.

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Like many other industries across the globe, utility providers are beginning to discover that digital communication is key to the satisfaction and experience of their customers - and they’re not wrong.

According to research from Marketing Week: “15 years ago, the average consumer typically used two touch-points when buying an item and only seven percent regularly used more than four. Today, consumers use an average of almost six touch points, with 50 percent regularly using more than four.” 

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The utility industry has undergone huge changes over the past decade, from increased gas and oil production to the advent of new energy efficient technologies which are trying to disrupt and change the sector.

However, one thing has changed the way utility providers work more than anything else - the customer experience

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Utility providers around the world face unprecedented challenges due to rapidly changing market demands, and many are failing to keep up. With little to no competition from others within the industry, utilities providers in the past have been slow to embrace disruptive technologies and keep up with evolving customer expectations.

This lack of competition has historically led utility providers to sit back. Why aim for progress when the competitive pressures to innovate are pretty much removed? Then, the market changed. 

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