COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way businesses currently operate and it may very well influence how businesses operate going forward. While essential industries are still open to the public, the vast majority of sectors have temporarily closed down their offices and are focussing their efforts through remote work.
Although there are some businesses that have been slowly reintroducing an office workforce again, a large percentage of the world’s workforce remains to work from the comfort of their own homes, and it’s likely that a stay-at-home policy for employees is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
The adaptation to the pandemic puts particular pressure on utility providers. To ensure that these workers are able to carry out their roles efficiently, remote workers rely on their utility providers to deliver a seamless customer experience that ensures their home-office is a practical and efficient place to work.
With summer arriving in North America and the increased potential for service interruptions due to unstable weather conditions, outage notifications are now top of mind for every remote employee. These workers rely on electricity and the internet for work, and downtime could seriously impact the results they expect to achieve.
What are outage notifications?
For remote workers, a power or internet outage can be more than just frustrating. It could be the result of money out of their pockets (if they are a contract worker) or it could impact the entire operations of the small company that they are employed by.
Thankfully, with some simple measures put in place by utility providers, power or internet outages do not have to be this disruptive for stay-at-home workers. That’s where outage notifications come in.
Outage notifications are a way to communicate with your utility customers both before a storm, during a storm and after a storm. By proactively keeping them informed of the current status of their internet and power through each stage of a storm, your utility will be assuring its customers that any issues are being resolved.
These real-time notifications, which can be delivered directly to your customers' preferred device(s), gives your utility the chance to have a clear and honest dialogue with customers. You can inform them when a storm has the potential to result in downtime, you can let them know how an outage occurred, and you can tell them an estimated time for when their electricity or internet will be up-and-running again.
Outage notifications should be detailed and accurate, informing your customers why the outage occurred, what areas are affected, and estimating when their electricity or internet will be restored.
All of these utility features of outage notifications result in a far greater customer experience, higher customer satisfaction, and ensures your utility is seen as a reliable provider.
How outage notifications will improve customer satisfaction for utilities
According to the latest J.D. Power 2019 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study, the overall business customer satisfaction with electric utility scored at 779 - up 18 points from 2018.
This rise in customer satisfaction is significant because it has been driven largely by improvements in utility communication. In fact, proactive communication about power outages and estimated restoration times played a key role in the increase. Overall satisfaction increased 24 points when customers were simply alerted to an outage.
“Electric utilities around the country have been ramping up their communications efforts, often addressing everything from mobile alerts about outages to updates on citizenship initiatives. Many top-performing utilities are getting that formula right, by visibly maintaining their infrastructure and leveraging technology to ensure businesses receive timely information needed to deal with outages and support decision-making. However, several utilities are still missing the mark by not focusing on these areas that drive customer satisfaction.”
- Adrian Chung, Director of Utilities Intelligence at J.D. Power.
It’s clear that proactive communication, including outage notifications, are an essential aspect of any utility’s customer experience strategy. Here are just a few ways that outage notifications will drive utility customer satisfaction, particularly in a world where remote work is widespread:1 - Empowers User
Empower customers to plan their work day better... We all know how disruptive electricity and internet outages can be, and that’s multiplied for remote workers. With outage notification, however, that doesn’t have to be the case. By providing real-time updates that inform customers when there might be an outage and how long it may take to be restored, your utility is giving them the information they need to plan their day more productively.2 - Builds Relationship
Build reliability and trust with your customer... By sending regular information and updates to your customer about potential and current outages, you will prove to them that you aren’t just there to make a profit, but that you're creating a customer experience that’s focused on improving their quality of life. This personalization will increase trust between your utility and your customer - ensuring that your company is seen as a reliable provider.3 - Improves Communication
Improve the flow of communication between utility and customer... Utility providers do not have to work in a silo. In fact, customers are more than happy to report power outages or issues to a utility provider when there’s an easy method of communication. Outage notification can help build a two-way dialogue between utility and customer. This will help your utility see what customers are experiencing issues, what exactly the problem is and what areas are affected. This all leads to one thing - faster issue resolution.
Want to learn more about outage notifications?
The unique SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities comes with a range of functions that improves the utility customer experience - including real-time outage notification functionality. Contact our team of experts today to learn more.