ORIGINAL REPORTING: Electric Utilities Discover Apps As The Way To Reach Customers
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 use of software is increasing so rapidly in every aspect of the utility business that they are almost beginning to merge.
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. They 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 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. They are finding that delivering personalized information, tips, and alerts through an app is effective at winning that engagement. But digital portals, and especially apps, can be too complicated so utilities are putting time and money and effort into turning digital customer engagement into successful marketing tool. They are working with private sector giants like Oracle Utilities, Whisker Labs, Honeywell-branded Whisker Labs, Bidgely, Tendril, Powerley, and Simple Energy… click here for more