In the past, Utilities primarily focused on safety and infrastructure while competitive industries like telecom and banking have set precedents for incorporating technology to improve customer satisfaction. Modern customers want to know what they’re spending and where they are spending it. They also want flexibility on when, where, and how they pay their bills. And why shouldn’t they? Utilities should engage customers via the channels and systems that customers prefer.
From the sustained pressure of consumer expectations, regulated utilities have slowly adopted digital platforms to engage better with their buyers, but more can be done.
The deregulation of some utilities has opened up a new demand for utility-focused products and services, which regulated utilities can adapt for their business. And change management agents, like PayGo, can further enable utilities through turn-key technology and marketing solutions.
In our view, here is where a regulated utility can and should be to better manage their customers in this interconnected and instantaneous world.
- Flexible, Customer Focused Products/Services
- Enhanced Call Centers process and solutions
- Social Media
- Digital Marketing
Flexible Products / Services
Customers want options and flexibility in how they consume, manage, and pay for their services. PrePay, Energy Efficiency, Bill Pay, and retail shopping payment options are ways that you can empower your customer to take control of the consumption of their energy and water.
With a variety of products and services available, Call Center Agents can pivot to becoming consultants, helping customers better identify needs and matching those needs to the programs that will provide the most benefit. Most agents are trained to be “responsive” to customer’s questions. New and innovative products and services require a proactive engagement with the customer. In our experience after training call center agents on this paradigm shift, the moral of the agents significantly increases because they are empowered to truly help the customer. Likewise, customer satisfaction scores also increase.
Digital Marketing & Social Media
It is no surprise that customers engage more with pictures and video than they do with paper bills and bill inserts. To be truly effective at communicating to consumers, utilities need to incorporate digital marketing and social media practices in their outreach strategy. This means promotional and educational videos on each product and service, supported by social media campaigns and if you are on the cutting edge, it means smart videos. A smart video combines personalization and data specific to an individual to create a one-to-one video experience. The result in terms of engagement and impact is multiplied compared to all other communication tools available today.
There are mega-trends going on in the economy and the world that are forcing utilities to be more responsive. Although regulated utilities have not historically been first adopters to new tools and technology, that no longer needs to be the norm. With the help of change management companies and technology solutions, utilities have everything they need to embrace the modern world and be an industry leader rather than follower. It’s about listening to customers and meeting them where they want to be – and today that means providing flexibility, choice, information and transparency in an engaging and interactive way.