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The Seven Components of A World-Class Utility Customer Experience Strategy

image credit: Andranik Hakobyan - Dreamstime

This item is part of the Customer Care - Special Issue - 05/2019, click here for more

The Customer Experience (CX) landscape is constantly evolving. A few years ago, businesses based their competitiveness on branding and pricing. CX conversations were primarily confined to the hospitality industry, where elevated service levels enabled companies to acquire and retain customers. But as Forbes points out, “customer experience is the new brand.”

With the explosion of the Internet, social media and mobile technology, customers have come to expect the best CX in every brand interaction.

What is CX and why do you need it?

Forrester Research defines CX as “how customers perceive their interactions with your company.” A J.D. Power 2018 Utility Digital Experience Study found that utilities are among the lowest-performing industry groups when it comes to delivering distinct digital customer experiences. The current environment mandates a CX strategy for all businesses—including utilities.

How to craft a world-class CX strategy

While CX strategies must be customized based on the industry and product offerings, yours should be built on the best-tested strategies across industry verticals. Here’s what world-class CX leaders rely on when crafting their strategies:

  1. See yourself as your customers do: A Bain study found that while 80% of companies believed they delivered “superior experiences,” only 8% of customers mirrored that sentiment. Calibrate with your customers on their perception of your brand.
  2. Identify your customer personas and interactions: In today’s digital and omnichannel era, customers with varied pain points interact with your business, often via multiple channels. Know your customer(s)!
  3. Map interactions to holistic customer journeys, not touchpoints: McKinsey’s CEO’s guide to Customer Experience points out that while your customers may be satisfied with individual touchpoints, the experience tied to the overall customer journey may still be poor.
  4. Personalize your offerings: Each customer persona and interaction needs to be treated uniquely. Also, identify actionable metrics that define success (e.g. customer engagement, CSAT scores, energy efficiency (EE) savings and peak load shift).
  5. Listen to your customers: Now that you’ve wired your customer personas into your CX strategy, gather customer feedback and act upon it.
  6. Enhance and evolve: Continually monitor the efficacy of your CX strategy by tracking key metrics; iterate as needed.
  7. Rinse and Repeat: Once the CX strategy has been nailed down and the efficacy metrics have consistently met and exceeded the level of personalization for customers, being able to deliver the CX value at scale across all customers for different offerings is critical to the success of utilities.

How can artificial intelligence (AI) help?

AI-powered platforms bring a comprehensive suite of solutions to help you craft your CX strategy. For example, AI call center solutions enable utilities to reduce cost/time to serve by equipping customer service representatives (CSRs) with customer usage information derived from meter data. CSRs can resolve high bill calls quickly using this information and increase customer satisfaction through recommendations that are personalized for each individual customer. These solutions tap into instant customer feedback and potentially convert detractors to promoters - elevating the overall customer experience.

Crafting and deploying the best CX strategy will increase customer engagement and satisfaction, lower customer acquisition costs, reduce customer churn and build a strong brand following. For aspiring market leaders, make CX your key differentiator and dominant strategy.

Abhay Gupta's picture

Thank Abhay for the Post!

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