ORIGINAL REPORTING: Why Utility Communications Are Showing Up On Customers Digital Devices
Utility customer engagement goes digital; Utilities find the best engagement experience involves meeting customers where they are — online and on mobile devices
Herman K. Trabish, June 19, 2017 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The emerging trend described in this piece is rapidly going mainstream.
More utilities are discovering that going digital puts them where their customers are. Almost any commercial transaction consumers have today includes a digital, online, and/or mobile option. Customer satisfaction measurably rises with interactions that are personal, self-service, and available 24-7. Like the rest of the retail world, utilities are turning to digital to engage customers in these ways. Utilities are now competing for better ways to engage customers and it is paying off in more than just customer satisfaction. Regulators granted utilities in the bottom quartile of customer satisfaction ratings a lower percentage of their requested rate of return than utilities in the top quartile, according to an April 2015 study by PwC.
In addition, customers who trust their utilities are less likely to turn to disruptive competitors. Successful customer engagement discourages customers from moving to an unknown and untried service provider. Successful customer engagement also helps utilities meet energy efficiency mandates, smooth peak loads, and implement new rate designs. But getting participation in programs is difficult when customers’ only interaction with the utility is a monthly bill. Digital access to customers gives utilities a “mobile front door” via smartphones and tablets and an “online front door” via a website. But digital portals, and especially apps, can be too complicated to be an effective digital customer engagement, though when it works, utilities can deliver new technologies customers want and build their own bottom lines… click here for more