How to Transform the Utility Customer Experience
image credit: Alexandersikov - Dreamstime
- May 24, 2019 11:58 pm GMTMay 24, 2019 11:58 pm GMT
- 888 views
This item is part of the Special Issue - 2019-05 - Customer Care, click here for more
For the utility sector, the importance of transforming customer experience is at an all-time high. Customers demand better experiences and capabilities from their utilities, as well as the personalization they have come to expect from other service providers. We’ll explore the specific challenges utility companies face when serving their customer, and recommendations for how to improve customer experience.
Deregulation in the utility sector makes the marketplace increasingly diverse and complex. Incumbent companies with long-standing customer relationships must compete with new market entrants who can be more agile and have a digital edge. Keeping the customer at the heart of every interaction is a challenge for utilities. The reality is that most utility companies are still working toward enabling basic capabilities to support existing business models. Transformation efforts range from digitizing interactions like billing, new connections, and outages to expanding the number of communication channels and increasing the adoption of such capabilities.[i]
Utility companies have a unique set of considerations in delivering a superior customer experience. They face a balancing act with performance, providing excellent customer service, and meeting regulations and compliance standards. On an individual level, they must know whether the information they have on each customer is accurate and complete. This helps the company decide how to communicate with individual customers, what messages will resonate with them, and if they have the right contact information. Targeting the wrong customer for a transaction like billing can aggravate them and affect their brand loyalty.
Therefore, we recommend a series of steps to serve your customers with a better experience. One course of action is to build a single customer view, or a consistent view of the customer across your organization based on accurate data. First, your customer data may be lying in disparate sources and systems. Centralize relevant customer data in a repository like a CRM, a marketing platform, or a data lake. Next, evaluate your data and figure out where there are trends, outliers, and gaps to focus your transformation efforts on. For example, you may need to append incomplete records or correct duplicate entries. Other action items are standardizing inconsistent formats, validating contact information, and matching up relational data. These steps help you make sure the data in your view of the customer is accurate.
Complete and accurate information about the customer is central to the transformation of the customer experience. A single customer view gives you a foundation to make decisions off the data and rely on the data as a single source of truth. For the utility sector, improving your customer experience can give you a path to a revenue boost and help you win in the market.