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COVID-19 made a dramatic impact on our lives and continues to do so. Stay-at-home orders, social distancing and how we engage with the organizations we do business with has changed our day-to-day interactions. 

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Today’s customers want fast, seamless experiences when interacting with brands. The customer experience (CX) is now a vital component of any customer service strategy and is a crucial aspect of driving up customer service ratings.

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A recent tropical storm in New Jersey has brought attention to just how important a successful digital communication strategy is for utility providers.

According to a new report from NJ Spotlight, 1.4 million households were left without power after Tropical Storm Isaias made its way across the east coast of the US last week. Utility providers in the area have come under scrutiny for their efforts in responding to the storm.

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In an on-demand world where customers expect a response from a customer service rep at a few clicks of their mouse or a couple of taps on the screen of their favourite device, self-service for utilities is king. 

This is because customers now seek information and want answers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They don’t want to wait until the morning for your customer service team to get into the office, and they certainly don’t want to wait on hold for an hour while they wait to get through - they want to resolve their issues on the spot, in real-time.

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Utility providers are taking a growing interest in customer experience strategies in a bid to boost customer satisfaction and engagement, knowing technologies play an essential role in that. In fact, research from McKinsey’s Journey Pulse survey in utilities shows that delivering stand-out moments that go above and beyond customers’ expectations can lead to dramatically higher satisfaction.

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Customers in the past few years have come to value personalization and convenience in all areas of their lives. As a result, utility companies are beginning to see the positive impact of satisfied customers, better engagement and improved customer experiences.

In fact, many utility providers are now doing a great job at improving the customer experience - and reducing customer effort has been a driving force in that.

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All consumers, especially  these days, want a fast, easy and noteworthy experience when interacting with brands online. That’s why mobile applications have become an essential tool for customers around the world, with many using them to navigate their day-to-day life. 

As a result, according to Statista, the number of mobile app downloads each year has been steadily increasing. In 2017, there were 178 billion app downloads. That number was projected to grow to 205 billion by 2019, and more than 258 billion in 2022 - a 45 percent increase over five years.

Despite this, utility companies  still lag behind and have become hesitant to adopt mobile technology.

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COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way businesses currently operate and it may very well influence how businesses operate going forward. While essential industries are still open to the public, the vast majority of sectors have temporarily closed down their offices  and are focussing their efforts through remote work. 

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Our world relies on self-service options now more than ever, which explains why it has become one of the most transformative web services.Companies must be prepared to service customers at all times of the day because customers seek information and want answers 24x7,  at a speed much faster than traditional phone or email support. While web support may be the preferred communication tool for many people, even the digital millennials want the experience to be authentic, easy, and people-centered. So how do you automate your customer service to handle online utility service requests, and still keep it an engaging experience?

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The Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report is an annual report (produced in 1977), that analyzes factors affecting customer interaction management. You’ll frequently see it quoted in the media because it’s regarded as a useful and authoritative overview of trends in the CX industry.

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