Changes in customer behaviour have been significant over the past few years. As a result, the customer experience (CX) is now one of the most important focuses for customer-facing businesses. Despite the little-to-no competition within the utility sector, this is no different for utility providers which must now become CX-centric or risk falling behind.
The utility customer experience is now an essential component of increasing customer satisfaction and improving customer engagement.
And that’s not the only benefit. By implementing technologies that enhance the utility customer experience, utility providers can also realize reduced costs and improved internal efficiencies.
In fact, a study from McKinsey found that: “Utility leaders are achieving great customer experiences while driving out costs. Doing so requires customer-experience transformations around self-service and digital channels.”
Utility providers have an opportunity today to change their engagement model in a way that reduces costs, improves consumption behaviour among their customers, and better serves their customers through self-service technologies.
This represents a chance for utility providers to position their company for the future, taking that extra step to both meet, and exceed their customers’ demands for improved engagement and high satisfaction levels.
With that in mind, in this blog we take a look at what exactly the utility customer experience is, why it’s an opportunity for utility providers and the ways in which utility providers can improve their customer experience.
What is Utility Customer Experience?
Utility customer experience is the impression that customers have of their utility provider based on every interaction they have with the utility brand.
The utility customer experience is based on all interactions that a utility provider has with its customers, including queries and resolutions, incentives and rewards, billing and customer service interactions.
These interactions should all be easy and personalized for the customer. The better utility customer experience is, the higher a utility provider’s customer satisfaction levels will be, and the more engaged customers will be with their utility.
Why the Utility Customer Experience is an Opportunity
The past decade has seen the utility market, along with many other industries, make a dramatic shift in the way it delivers its services. Businesses within the field have been meeting the growth of customer expectations with the implementation of new technologies and improved engagement.
When it comes to utility providers, gone are the days when customer interactions were nothing more than sending out a paper bill each month - and the only interaction with the customer was when they were required to travel to a payment kiosk or speak directly to a member of the billing team.
Customers now expect so much more. They want to…
- track their utility usage through data and analytics
- compare usage to previous months
- learn how they can adjust their usage behaviour to save money and reduce their carbon footprint
- easily pay their bills directly from their smartphone or laptop
- receive notifications and alerts about outages and other issues that may affect their service.
Companies who don’t keep up with these advances will only continue to fall out of favour with their customers. Those that do, however, will see improved customer engagement, an increase in customers (if they have competition in their market) and an overall happier customer base.
When utility providers nail the utility customer experience, they can access benefits such as:
- Higher customer satisfaction
- Improved customer engagement
- Reduced costs
- Improved internal efficiencies
- Significant reduction in customer service calls
- Happier customers
How do Utilities Improve the Utility Customer Experience?
Digital platforms, such as the SilverBlaze Customer Portal, have improved the flow of transactions and communication between the utility provider and the end-user. With customers now expecting to be able to engage with their utility on all levels and platforms, a customer portal gives you the opportunity to do just that.
A utility customer portal enhances the utility customer experience by giving customers direct access to online billing, customer usage information, direct notifications and alerts, and so much more on one centralized and easy-to-use platform.
By focusing on a self-service platform that enables your customers to easily access the information they need and take the actions they want, your utility will enhance the utility customer experience and also access cost savings and significant internal efficiencies.
Are you looking to improve the utility customer experience and drive the profitability of your utility business? Get a free demo of the SilverBlaze award-winning platform today, and find out how our innovative utility customer portal can help you become CX-centric.