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Utility Providers Must Consider the Customer Journey for Increased Engagement

Posted on Nov 16, 2018 11:00:00 AM

New innovations in technology and the constant evolution of consumer expectations are forcing change across all industries, and the utility sector is no different. Utility providers must now use next-generation technology to satisfy their customers, or risk being left behind.

Customer engagement is key, with customers demanding increased communication and more information from their utility provider when it comes to energy usage, outage notifications and billing alerts.

However, when it comes to customer engagement, a successful strategy must be well thought out. Consumers don’t want to receive a barrage of communication, they want useful information delivered at the right moment.

That’s why utility providers looking to create a successful customer engagement strategy must look at the customer journey.

So, What is the Customer Journey?

The customer journey is a look into every interaction the customer will have with your company, product or service. In terms of most industries, the transaction is merely the tip of the iceberg and the customer journey is built up from all the moments both before and after the purchase.

Utility providers face a slightly different challenge compared to most industries, with the majority of utility customers only really thinking about their provider when they are starting or stopping a service, paying bills or dealing with an issue such as an outage.

However, don’t fall into the trap of believing that your customers are satisfied with this lack of engagement. Just like any other industry, customers are demanding more communication from utility providers, it just needs to be done right. Increasing your customer engagement will significantly improve your utility’s customer experience.

The customer journey for your utility is likely to involve six steps:

  • Utility service and the customer account.
  • Billing and payment processes.
  • The customer’s energy usage.
  • Programs and resources in the community.
  • Outages and other utility-related events.
  • Home and property management through smart devices, such as smart meters.

Building Value for Your Customers

Once you have mapped out your utility’s customer journey through the eyes of your customer, it’s now time for you to offer programs and technologies that add value to each stage of the customer journey.

Adding further value to your customers will help you transition from a simple name on their bill sheet each month to a partner that they can rely on to manage their home and cut down their monthly costs and energy usage.

Added-value tools will reduce customer effort, improve the customer experience and leave them satisfied with your utility. Examples of these tools could include ebilling, smart metering, notifications and alerts and much more.

Let’s take smart metering and step six of our customer journey, for example. Utilities could easily improve engagement with their customers by offering smart metering and timely advice that not only helps them to reduce monthly expenditure but also helps them to lead a greener lifestyle.

By providing tips and resources, as well as offering access to detailed easy-to-understand data that provides insight into utility usage patterns, customers can visually chart how much they consume, adjust their usage, save money, and reduce their footprint. If you can show your customers that your utility cares, they will be significantly more engaged and satisfied with your service.

How can SilverBlaze help?

SilverBlaze specializes in providing self-service customer portals and intelligent form software to utility providers in the electric, water, gas, telecom and multi-service industries.

The feature-rich SilverBlaze Customer Portal provides a platform for your utility to better connect with customers through notification and alerts, smart metering, ebilling and much more. Through these tools you can answer customer issues before they have them and proactively help them save money.

Looking to increase engagement across your utility’s customer journey? Contact us today to find out how we can help.

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Topics: Customer Engagement