The way people engage with the world around them has changed. This includes the way they interact with their utility providers. Today, people are quicker to adapt to new technologies, and they demand that the companies they deal with, keep pace with them.
For utility providers, this means offering online features that puts information at the fingertips of your customers is rapidly becoming non-negotiable. Customers want automatic updates, detailed reports on their usage, and the ability to adjust their accounts in order to meet their needs. If your utility is not providing these services, it may impact your customer service ratings.
Don’t get left behind when it comes to embracing new technologies and features for your utility company. We’ve compiled the latest research from an online survey of utility customers across the United States so you can learn exactly what customers like yours are saying.
53.5% of customers surveyed indicated their preferred method of contacting their utility provider was through the use of online forms and email. Of respondents between the ages of 18-24, 68.8% prefer a mix of online forms, email and SMS (text) messaging.
30.4% of survey respondent between the ages of 18 and 24 said they would like to give a trusted friend or family member restricted access to their utility account while they’re away, such as on an extended vacation.
46.7% of respondents indicated that they want monthly usage reports from their utility provider.
56.4% of respondents between 18-24 want to receive billing and other notification via SMS messaging.
26.3% of 25-34-year-olds want to be informed of conservation programs.
74.2% said that the ability to track usage events, such as installing a new air conditioner or transitioning to efficient lights, would be “useful to very useful.”
To be future-ready, you need to consider an affordable customer engagement solution that is easy to implement and suits your needs. A customer service portal designed specifically with utilities in mind, SilverBlaze provides a web-based solution that is feature-rich, customizable, intuitive, and easy-to-integrate with your current systems.
An effective customer portal saves your business time and money by automating processes, but the main objective is to improve your utility’s customer experience as well as provide additional value to your customers that will leave them satisfied with you as a service provider.
Through your customer portal, your utility will be able to offer next-generation engagement tools that completely revolutionize the experience your customers have with your company.
The traditional utility provider could sit back, happy in the knowledge that they had little, or probably no, competition within their marketplace. This is not the case for the 21st Century utility provider, who must meet an increased demand for superior customer service while at the same time rising to the challenge of competition from alternative suppliers, such as renewable energy options.
Thankfully, there are now plenty of new technologies that can see your utility transform the ways in which it engages with customers.
Provo City has a great customer engagement platform with the Customer Portal software for utilities. This provides convenience for key tasks, and serves to educate and inform our electric and water customers – all of which is very important to us. SilverBlaze is thoroughly engaged in understanding the needs of our customers, and our business.
A recent study on customer service from McKinsey found that three-quarters of online customers expect help within five minutes.
Customers are constantly browsing their devices and immediate communication is now essential for any company, no matter the industry. No longer are utilities just a number on a piece of paper that arrives through the door each month.
Utility customers expect increased engagement, so what if there was a way to immediately notify your customers in the event of an issue, or simply to provide information that can boost their experience as a customer?
Thankfully there is, and it’s called notifications and alerts.
Notifications and alerts can be sent straight to a customer’s mobile device and can provide important information such as ebilling, usage data, outage notifications and much more. The ability to solve a customer’s problems before they even have them with instant communication and constant engagement give your utility a superior customer experience.
The internet has driven a jump in available information, and customers are more knowledgeable now than they have ever been before. Utility providers in the 21st Century must be proactive and solve their customer's issues before they become a problem. Digital communication is the key to an engaged and satisfied customer.
Innovations in technology and the internet have helped connect a wide range of products across numerous devices. One of the most popular examples of connected devices in the utility industry right now is the smart thermostat. Smart thermostats provide customers with information about their energy usage. These devices provide customers with the data that customers need to make informed decisions about how they consume energy within their home.
Utility providers can use these connected devices to encourage consumers to be more conscious of their energy usage, helping them to both save money and cut down on their carbon footprint at the same time. According to a study from Cisco, it’s estimated that internet-connected devices will account for more than half of the world’s 27 billion gadgets by 2021. That means connected devices are set to become a huge market for utility providers, with utilities set to provide devices such as connected water heaters, electric vehicle chargers, pool pumps and much more.
Customers demand answers, seek information and request increased communication from the companies they do business with, and utility providers are no different.
Automating the way your utility approaches workflow is a key aspect to the experience of your customers.
Automated workflows allow utility providers to develop a seamless approach to the way they deal with and resolve customer issues, increasing the speed and efficiency of your customer service department. It also helps utilities to maximize resources so that staff can work on more complex queries, as well as develop a self-service strategy that empowers customers to resolve their own problems.
With SilverBlaze Smart Forms, utility customers will no longer have to deal with time-consuming, inefficient manual processes. Instead, public, private, and municipal utilities can use our workflow solution to conveniently collect data and information from their customers.
SilverBlaze Smart Forms are intuitive, and easy to use, meaning utility customers won’t need training to take advantage of their features. Once implemented, SilverBlaze Smart Forms provide your customers with an accessible avenue to connect with you.
Applications such as outage reporting, billing notifications and pre-authorized payments help your company to collect, process and respond to customer queries quickly and efficiently - giving them a customer experience they’ll enjoy.
Looking for a convenient way to send your customers their bills and a seamless way for them to make payment on time? Look no further than ebilling. Utility providers that embrace paperless billing through a self-service web portal will be able to save money, increase profit margins, and invest back into their employees and equipment. All of these will add to the customer experience, increasing customer engagement and satisfaction.
With the SilverBlaze Customer Portal, customers have the ability to view their bills on any device—from desktop computers to tablets and smartphones. And they can pay their utility bills from anywhere, at any time. By implementing online billing, your utility can save time and money on printing and mailing costs, as well as reduce the call demands placed on your customer service department.
The benefits of ebilling include speeding up your revenue cycle, reducing strain on employees, lower the costs associated with physical bills, receiving more accurate information from your customers and implementing an automated process that frees up employees to work on more complex issues.
Wouldn't it be nice if you could look into the future and see what your customers are going to expect and demand when it comes to customer service? This free report compiles research on utilities customers in the United States to help you discover the future of customer engagement for your utility company. Fill out the form and we'll email you a copy right away!
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