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"High customer satisfaction comes down to awareness"

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Nevelyn Black's picture
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Nevelyn Black is an independent writer with a background in broadcast and a keen interest in renewable energy.  In the last few years, she transitioned from celebrity interviews and film shoots...

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The last two years has forced industries to rethink policy and procedure.  The demand for e-commerce has jumped and supply chain issues persist.  Increased customer interactions, both good and bad, have been the result.  As burned out CSR’s endure abuse and frustration, customer service leaders struggle to keep positions filled.  According to a recent Salesforce survey, around 70% of agents said they had considered quitting their job in the previous six months, and a comparable share were thinking about leaving the industry altogether.   Utilities face a unique challenge.  Based on ease of doing business, scores for utilities have declined overall, according to a study from human behavior and analytics advisory firm, Escalent.  “High customer satisfaction comes down to awareness and use of offerings that make a customer’s life easier. And digital service options provide the easiest experiences for utility customers. However, many utility customers are just not aware of these offerings,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Escalent. “Anticipating customer service needs and offering solutions before customers initiate contact is the new bar for top-performing utilities. Proactive and self-service options provide the greatest opportunities for exceeding customer expectations.”  

Salesforce is eager to provide the digital service options customers are so accustomed to.  The company announced new analytics-powered features across its Service and Marketing Cloud suites designed to “‘humanize’ engagement between companies and their customers.  The new and updated tools aim to simplify processes like conversing with customers and reconciling disparate marketing data.  "These technologies help service teams and marketers create more personalized experiences that drive lifelong customer relationships,” wrote a Salesforce spokesperson.

Many are not only applying new technologies but taking a new approach to customer service.  Currently, customer service teams are viewed as a cost center but a new research report by Accenture, entitled, End-to-Endless Customer Service, says that ‘a mindset shift’ is in order.   A shift from “viewing it (customer service) as a cost center to viewing it as value creation function responsible for delivering memorable customer experiences.” As a value-adding part of any business, customer service reps can play a massive role in developing positive relationships with customers.  Technology that empowers the customer and the customer service team combined with assigning additional value to each customer service representative could reduce burnout and turnover rates.

As the competition increases, utility providers can improve their customer’s experience through increased awareness, anticipation and ease of doing business.  What additional avenues are utilities utilizing to raise the bar for customer service?

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Mark Wilkinson's picture
Mark Wilkinson on Apr 13, 2022

Great post.  We see clients looking for increased transformation of customer service features to digital self-service, and examining ways to help customers become more aware of those new capabilities.  It's important not just to launch features that replace the most common types of calls that can be self-service enabled, but also to let customers know about the new options.  A quick reminder in the IVR may be standard, but why wait until customers have the problem.  Utilities can build digital engagement and create some proactive good will by communicating with customers about new features and new self-service options. 

 

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