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Digital Communication is Key for Utility Customer Satisfaction

Posted on Sep 21, 2018 11:28:00 AM

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.” 

Implementing omnichannel technology provides your customers a multi-channel and integrated customer experience with important information at the click of a button. This integrated customer experience portrays your utility as a proactive company that is working in the best interest of your customer, offering online options from a desktop or mobile device, or by telephone, or a bricks and mortar location. Additional information also empowers your customers to take a self-service approach to their issues.

The utility industry, however, is different to many other sectors. The traditional utility provider tended to shy away from innovation content in the knowledge that they either had little or no competition within the area they serve.

Since 89 percent of businesses are soon expected to compete mainly on customer experience, utility providers are now beginning to take the customer experience seriously. Some utility providers have already adopted the latest tech innovations, which will help them to maintain a happy and loyal customer base.

Digital communication really is the key here, and it’s what customers are demanding from every single industry they do business with. It gives utility providers an opportunity to send real-time and immediate communications to improve customer engagement, and it gives customers the information and ease-of-use needed to be completely satisfied with the service you’re providing.

Digital communication builds trust

Implementing better ways to engage customers not only helps to improve customer satisfaction, but it also helps to build trust. Customers that trust their utility providers are less likely to turn to disruptive competitors such as alternative renewable energy companies, think solar power for example.

A 2015 study from pwc, named “Beyond the hype: What is the value of customer satisfaction to a regulated utility?”, claims successful customer engagement will “discourage your customer base from making a change to an unknown and untried service provider.”

So, what type of digital communication can transform your utility’s customer experience and help you to better engage with your customers? SilverBlaze has created a list of three digital communications that can transform your customer satisfaction levels:

1 - Outage notifications

Perhaps the best example of proactive customer service is through the digital communication strategy of outage notifications. Most customers generally plan their day, but when their power goes out how do they adapt those plans?

Without a general idea of when their power might be back up and running or even just a simple apology about the power being down, customers can easily become frustrated with their utility provider and dissatisfied with the service that is being delivered.

A simple direct message that’s personalized to each consumer can swiftly change their experience from a bad one into a good one. An outage notification will be sent straight to your customers’ preferred device with updates on the power outage, reassuring them that you are proactively working on fixing the issue and getting their power back up and running as soon as you possibly can.

2 - Customer usage data

Customers want to be in control. This means the modern customer now wants to understand, manage, and alter their energy usage to cut down on their monthly energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint at the same time.

Implementing a digital communication channel that provides your customers with easy-to-access data, patterns or insight into their energy usage is now essential for any utility provider. A study from Accenture found that around 92 percent of consumers want to receive personalized digital notifications about their energy usage rates.

Conservation and demand management tools will provide the data consumers need to compare their usage to previous months and adjust how they use energy accordingly.

3 - Notifications and alerts

A recent study on customer service from McKinsey found that three-quarters of online customers expect help within five minutes.
 We really do live in a world where immediate communication is essential.

What if there was a way to immediately notify your customers in the event of an issue, or simply to provide information that can boost their experience as a customer? Thankfully there is, and it’s called notifications and alerts.

Notifications and alerts can be sent straight to a customer’s mobile device and can provide important information such as ebilling, usage data, outage notifications and much more. This information can solve a customer’s problems before they even have them, and make their whole experience of using your utility significantly more enjoyable.

Customers are more knowledgeable than they have ever been before, and utility providers can no longer afford to wait around until a customer comes to them with a problem. Digital communication is the key to an engaged and satisfied customer.

Want to learn how SilverBlaze can transform your digital communication strategy? Contact us today.

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Topics: Customer Engagement