With hundreds of thousands of residents picking up the pieces following the devastating impact of Hurricane Michael earlier this month, the importance of outage notifications during severe storms has been brought to the forefront for utility providers.
Weather-related power outages are unavoidable, and the consequences of hurricanes can be hugely damaging. That’s why utility providers must interact with their customers every step of the way. The quicker power is up and running, the sooner both households and businesses can begin getting back to normal.
Hurricane Michael was one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the US and struck on Wednesday, October 10, with 155mph (250km/h) winds. Both Florida and Georgia have declared a state of emergency, with many homes being destroyed.
It is believed that the damage costs from Hurricane Michael could top $4.5 Billion.
The effects of the hurricane were far-reaching, damaging towns and cities across Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, leaving millions of local residents without power in their homes.
For example in Danville, Virginia, one of our clients here at SilverBlaze, the outage map lit up like a Christmas tree with thousands of homes and businesses across the city losing power.
Outage notifications won’t stop the devastating impact of hurricanes and other natural disasters, but, as a utility provider, it does give you the opportunity to provide a higher level of customer support to your customer by giving them immediate information at the click of a button.
So, what exactly is an outage notification?
While utility providers cannot stop weather-related power outages, in the mind of the consumer this still impacts the reliability of your company. Outage notifications, however, are an example of how a potentially bad experience can be turned into a good one.
Outage notifications make customers aware that your utility company is working on fixing the problem, along with providing them with any associated information, such as what the problem is, when the power may be working again and which areas are affected.
With outage integration, utility providers can provide this information through simple notifications and alerts that go straight to a customer’s preferred device. Simple messages can be sent via text or voice message to regularly keep customers up-to-date.
Here are two benefits of implementing weather-related outage notifications into your customer service strategy:
1 - Provide a personal touch
Outage notifications during or after a storm improve the experience that customers have with your utility company and can make your customer service strategy seem more personalized and tailored to each specific customer.
Riding out a severe storm is no easy feat, it can destroy a customer's home, it can ruin their business and it can even take the life of someone they know. Showing you care with personalized messages during this time won’t change their experience, but it will at least show your business cares about its customers’ well-being.
2 - Regular updates that build trust in your company
Being proactive is what makes a successful business, and it’s also what creates a superior customer service strategy. Sending out important information along with notifications, as new information develops, helps to build customer trust and lets them know you are doing everything in your power to get their utility up-and-running again.
Customers who have fallen victim to severe storms want to know when their power will be back and when they can resume their ordinary lives. It could be the case that they fled their homes for shelter and aren’t sure when to return, or they simply want to know when they can go back to work and their businesses.
If you’re looking for more information about how your utility can implement outage notifications and transform customer service during severe weather, contact SilverBlaze today.