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Data security is vital for small, medium and large businesses, and utility providers are no different. Protecting your customer data is not only important for customer satisfaction metrics, it's also required by Canadian law. 

Cybercrime can also have a huge impact on your utility's bottom line. Research from Cybersecurity Ventures found cybercrime will cost the world in excess of $6 trillion each year by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015. Meanwhile, data published on Wikipedia estimates the average cost of one single data breach will be over $150 million by 2020.

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Now more than ever, consumers are demanding the ability to interact with all types of service providers - from electric, water and sewer, natural gas, and telecom to multi-service utilities - on their own terms.

With the rise in mobile technology, web self-service options that can be accessed from anywhere and any device are quickly becoming a necessity for utility providers hoping to improve their customer experience (CX).

At the same time, utility providers face pressure to do more with less in an effort to save money and improve margins.

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Paperless billing, often known as ebilling, is the process of sending your customer's utility bills to them online, whether it be via a desktop computer, tablet or smartphone. In turn, this gives consumers the ability to receive, pay, manage and track their bills all at the simple click of a button.

By giving customers the ability to view their utility bills on any device, as opposed to the traditional method of sending a paper bill each month and then waiting for payment, your utility can empower its customers to pay their bills from the place and time that is most convenient for them.

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In the digital age, allowing your utility customers to take the initiative and choose their own terms of communication and research will empower them to be more engaged with your company and also enhance their customer experience.

That’s why adopting an innovative customer portal solution that allows your utility to implement self-service is crucial for the satisfaction of your customers. 

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Customer service has transformed over the past decade, and customers now demand answers, seek information and want engagement with their utility provider no matter what hour of the day. Automating your workflow is now essential to high-quality customer experience.

In fact, according to marketing research firm IDC, companies lose between 20 percent and 30 percent of their revenue annually due to inefficiencies in their customer service department. 

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Technology has been driving the way we do business in all industries for decades, but in the last few years, it seems to be accelerating dramatically, with innovations and changes happening almost overnight.

Think about some of the technology we use today that really wasn’t around or popular 5-10 years ago. The internet has grown from an information portal to a connector of data, devices, and people.

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Interactions between customers and their Utility providers traditionally have been very one sided, customers would only get in contact when they have a billing problem or an outage, so insight into customer interests or behavior was very limited.

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We live in an on-demand world. One of the most transformative aspects of the web is self-service; customers seek information and want answers 24x7, and at a speed many times greater than traditional phone 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 engaging and a pleasant experience?

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Providing your utility customers with a self-service customer portal can help improve your billing capabilities and reduce the strain on your resources. Perhaps most importantly, it can help you engage with your customers and provide them with a better overall experience. When choosing a self-service portal, there are a number of factors to take into account to ensure you make the best choice for your utility. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of of 5 considerations to keep in mind when choosing your self-service utility provider.

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If your Electric, Water, Telecom or Gas Utility is considering incorporating a self-service portal into your strategy, or you’re considering replacing your system with one that’s more up-to-date, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with self-service web portals and how they work.

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