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With the Atlantic hurricane season currently underway and California’s wildfire season rapidly approaching, it would be fair to say that the majority of utility providers across North America are currently working hard to ensure they have successful storm response and management programs implemented.

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Whether your utility operates in the electricity, water and sewer, natural gas, telecom or multi-service utility sector, the most important aspect of your company is the ability to use key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to constantly improve the way you operate.

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Due to the evolution of technology, customers across every single industry now want instant and seamless issue resolution. Friction in the customer support journey can significantly affect a utility provider’s satisfaction levels, and ultimately results in a below-par customer experience (CX).

By reducing friction in your customer support strategy, you will make it far easier for your utility customers - whether water, sewerage, electricity, gas or telecom - to do business with you and you will significantly improve the CX. 

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With hundreds of thousands of residents picking up the pieces following the devastating impact of Hurricane Michael earlier this month, the importance of outage notifications during severe storms has been brought to the forefront for utility providers.

Weather-related power outages are unavoidable, and the consequences of hurricanes can be hugely damaging. That’s why utility providers must interact with their customers every step of the way. The quicker power is up and running, the sooner both households and businesses can begin getting back to normal. 

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How your utility customers view your business is becoming increasingly important, unhappy customers are the result of bad service and, in an increasingly connected world, negative online reviews are aplenty.

But while this digital world can damage the reputation of an inefficient organization, it can also help completely transform a company’s business processes to be significantly more effective. 

It is easy to think your business has tapped the full potential of digital technology, but many companies are still failing to complete this successful transformation.

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An increasing number of utility providers are learning that going digital is a must when it comes to meeting the expectations of their customers’, and giving customers easy access and a way to understand their usage data is now an absolutely essential component of the modern customer experience.

This is all part of a wider growth in on-demand consumer services, which have exploded throughout every industry over the last decade. From Netflix’s on-demand movies to Uber’s almost instant taxis and even Amazon’s one-day delivery times, consumers now expect immediate access to services. 

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Following on from an extremely active 2017 hurricane season, which saw major Hurricanes such as Harvey, Irma and Maria crippling the power grids of Texas, Puerto Rico and Florida, it’s more important than ever before that utility providers create a robust plan for the preparation and response-management of storms - no matter how severe they are.

The public nature of these storms, along with the resulting media attention, has brought with it increased scrutiny on utility providers and regulators, with the general public now more aware of the difference between a good response and a bad response.

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Changes in customer online behaviour have made the customer experience (CX) a crucial element to many consumer brands. This is no different for utility companies, which now must become CX-centric or risk falling behind.

Matthew Guarini wrote in Creating The CX-Centric Utility: “The utilities of today ... want to change the engagement model to reduce costs, provide new solutions to counter non-regulated solutions, alter consumption behaviour to drive energy efficiency, position for smart home services, and use customer advocacy as a lever for favourable treatment by regulators.”

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When you think about Smart Technology you may first think of consumer products, but Smart Technology is part of a much larger evolutionary change - a catalyst to re-thinking all sorts of business services and equipment.

Smart Technology is becoming more and more prevalent in the marketplace, yet despite this, a large percentage of companies are yet to adopt it and obtain the positive Return On Investment (ROI) that is generated from the implementation of Smart Technologies.

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Over the past decade, we’ve seen numerous changes across the utility landscape, and we are set to see many more in the coming years: from customer centricity, to Smart homes, to a lean towards more alternative renewable sources.

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