A Focus on Customer Service Provides Utilities with Clarity in a Time of Great Ambiguity
- Nov 22, 2021 12:17 pm GMT
Utilities face uncertain times, perhaps more so than any other period in their history. They must address changing energy sources, rapid technical advances, shifting government policies, and increasing customer demands. To make the transition successfully, they need to concentrate on customer service, according to an EY survey.
Utilities executives often focus is consumed by industry trends, such as the ongoing transition to renewables; assimilating recent technology advances, such as cloud; and managing their complex grid infrastructure. To be successful moving forward, they must satisfy their customers. Only by honing that focus will they be able to embrace more sustainable energy sources, drive new revenue streams, and reduce costs. Consequently, they must realign their organizational priorities and focus on three areas: customer engagement, digital enablement, and operational agility.
Consumers have seen how much friction can be removed from their typical business transactions through the advent of new technologies, The effort they need to use utility services often weighs down the experience. In fact, effort is the third biggest experience-related determinant in customer satisfaction, according to EY.
Utilities have work to do in this area. Just over half (58%) of customers are satisfied with the ease of their energy experience. Therefore, energy companies need to provide more transparency and make delivery and support of their services simple and easy to navigate.
Energy companies must also build seamless experiences. Digital capabilities, like cloud and mobile, remove a lot of the manual work and frustration that customers often feel when trying to purchase energy or get their questions answered.
Customers understand what these new technologies offer. In fact, they prefer digital for 8 out of 10 interactions. This desire extends to all age groups: 67% of Boomers report using digital channels compared with 56% of Gen Zs.
Energy providers are lagging in this area. Sixty-two percent of consumers experienced a problem using their energy provider’s digital service, and 37% are not confident in them – that figure increases to 50% for Gen Z customers.
To provide such features, energy companies have to migrate from traditional legacy systems and embrace modern digital solutions. But understanding what needs to be done and actually doing it are two different things. Energy providers acknowledge that the speed at which their organization can move is a challenge. Embedding speed and agility across the organization starts with a clear vision from leadership, and a commitment to eliminate, simplify, and streamline processes, policies, procedures, customer channels and offerings. Next, they need to allocate funding for the work, and finally, they must act.
Energy companies face an uncertain future. A wide range of factors are coalescing to create dramatic market changes. To ensure a bright future, they must emphasize improving the customer experience, embracing digital technology, and making their systems more agile.
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