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Utility Providers - How to Reduce Customer Effort to Improve Customer Experience

Posted on Jul 2, 2020 1:10:00 PM

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.

A new study from Escalent, found that “customer effort performance has emerged as the most important influencer of utility customer satisfaction and explains 90 percent of overall service satisfaction. Top-scoring utilities on customer effort have developed easy processes across their critical customer experience touchpoints.”

If you feel like your utility may be falling behind in reducing customer effort, then it’s important that you start using the customer satisfaction metric, Customer Effort Score (CES). It could help revolutionize the way you look at customer experience.

What is Customer Effort Score?

CES is a way of measuring the customer experience by looking at how much effort a customer has to exert to complete any type of transaction; such as, getting an issue resolved, a request fulfilled, a product purchased or a question answered.

Customer Effort Score is measured through surveys in which customers answer on a five-point or seven-point scale of “very difficult” to “very easy”. CES surveys generally feature questions such as:

  • “Overall, how easy was it to solve your problem today?”
  • “How much effort did you personally have to put forth to resolve your issue?”

While Customer Effort Score isn’t an exact measurement of customer satisfaction, it’s a great way for your utility provider to draw conclusions and insights in regards to customer interaction and engagement. It will give you a good idea of how your self-service and customer effort strategies are performing. 

Why is reducing customer effort important for utility providers?

An article from Harvard Business Review, ‘Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers’, concluded that “when it comes to service, companies create loyal customers primarily by helping them solve their problems quickly and easily.”

Utility providers simply must implement customer service platforms that solve real problems for customers, with minimal effort. 

Customer portal software is a great example of technology that can revolutionize the customer experience for utilities. Customer portals allow your utility to provide eBilling, accurate consumption data, outage notifications, account changes and much more in one easy-to-use application that is made available on all platforms including mobile.

Easy to use customer portals make it easy for your utility to send real-time updates to customers, as well as store information that answers customer questions without them having to contact your customer service team. This improves your self-service strategy and frees up your agents to work on more complex, higher-value queries. 

The result of using a customer portal?... Significantly reduced customer effort and a far superior customer experience. The result of superior customer experience?... A brand that has built its name to be a leader in putting their customers first.

How can SilverBlaze help?

We've all experienced an application or a website that got it right. The response is, “that was easy” - it resonates with everyone and creates positive word-of-mouth momentum. That’s exactly what users of the SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities say and do. 

The easy-to-use SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities is designed to provide high-value functionality within an exceptionally well-designed interface that utility customers find enjoyable to use. 

Our user-friendly and intuitive interface provides customers with push notifications, real-time services and outage updates, in-depth utility usage information, smart metering data and much more.

Through these innovative features, the SilverBlaze solution makes those long customer service waiting times a thing of the past. In addition,  by improving self-service and reducing customer effort, your utility will improve customer engagement, realize significant cost savings and build a world-class customer experience. 

Do you want to experience first hand how it would work for your utility? Schedule a demo today. With a guided demo, you’ll be able to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and walk through the portal to access key data and functionality. We’ll also show you administration features such as how to manage users or publish content. 

Schedule a Demo

Topics: Customer Service