Current state of customer-centricity in the energy & utilities industry
Customer expectations are always evolving and changing. Even in an industry as traditional as the energy and utilities industry, customers now expect seamless digital experiences akin to the standards set by the retailing, travel and hospitality industries. Due to poor customer service, unexplained price increases, and hidden costs, the energy and utilities industry is witnessing a surge in customers who are switching companies. Customers not only have increasing expectations they are also more aware of the choices they have. Under these circumstances, the energy and utilities industry need to adopt a customer-centric approach and identify ways through which they can build positive customer experiences.
Why companies in the energy and utilities industry should focus on customer experience
Customers expectations have also evolved and they now hold centre-stage under new market conditions. The key factors that have driven these changes are:
- Customers are digital natives: The popularity of social media and the rise of mobile connectivity has made the customers increasingly vocal on digital. Any sentiment, positive or negative, can draw attention and reach millions within a short period.
- Customers are now empowered than ever before: Customers have access to quick information and have a plethora of options available to choose from making it easy for them to switch to another company even if the experience is slightly different from what they expect.
To be successful, companies need to be obsessed about providing an exceptional customer experience. At an age where attracting and retaining new customers is turning out to be expensive for energy and utilities companies, customer centricity is proving to be the key differentiator.
A study done by Echo Managed Services found that 34% of consumers in the UK regularly switch utilities providers. This means that regions with more than one utilities company see a lot of churn and end up spending more money to attract new customers.
How energy and utilities companies can improve customer-centricity
To attain seamless customer experience and reduce churn rates, energy & utilities companies need to adopt strategies that can improve customer-centricity. Here are a few strategies that can be adopted:
1. Omnichannel Experience
Customers want more control over how they are contacted and want multiple channels to interact with the company. Identifying all possible customer touchpoints is the first step towards providing omnichannel support. Once the communication channels are identified, companies should establish consistent integration with support systems across all channels. To ensure seamless end-user experience for the customers, companies should also provide a consistent experience across all channels.
2. Integration of Social Media
Energy & Utilities Companies can leverage the power of social media to engage its customers and provide a better customer experience. A smooth digital customer experience can be attained through a comprehensive, customized and flexible social media integration strategy.
Many Energy & Utilities Companies have ventured into this space to discuss energy conservation and efficiency, customer education, branding and promotion, and to provide updates. Social media is gaining acceptance as a viable means of delivering vital communications, customer service issues and promotional offers.
3. Digital Operations
By digitizing operations, energy and utilities companies can enhance operations by improving operational efficiency and customer-centricity. As customers are moving towards smart homes powered by IoT and home automation, energy companies can further enhance the digital experience by integrating and sharing data with the customers. With the help of smart meters and built-in analytics systems, energy providers can empower customers by allowing them to monitor and control their energy usage. Companies can also leverage the data collected by providing personalized insights and recommendations to their customers.
4. Adoption of Latest Technologies
Energy and utilities industry have historically been viewed as a conservative industry. However, today, we see utilities companies adopting new technologies such as smart grid solutions and Internet-of-Things (IoT). Technologies such as Big data analytics and predictive analytics will help companies to segment users to provide personalized services to their customers. With mobile apps and geolocation analytics, utilities companies can provide real-time usage, payments, value-added services and other notifications.
Adopting customer-centric technologies and understanding individual user needs is the key towards attracting and retaining customers in the energy industry. Energy and utilities companies have to ensure that they make a positive impact at every touchpoint of a customer interaction – from onboarding, to delivery and customer service.
Utilities companies are now investing more in CX teams and technologies built specially for the industry. Understanding individual customer behaviour, providing real-time updates and creating a consistent experience across multiple channels is helping companies to delight their customers. The more transparent they are with their customers, the better their chances are of retaining them.
Smartify 365 for the Energy & Utilities Industry
Smartify 365 solution focused on the energy and utilities industry, provides a platform for integrating your operations and technology thereby enhancing your organization’s productivity and reduce downtime. We support your workforce by equipping them with the right tools, extract hidden value and uncover new revenue streams.
With advanced AI-driven customer engagement features such as customer insights, customer trend analysis, 360-degree customer view and proactive multi-channel support, Smartify 365 ensures delivery of operational excellence alongside intelligent sales.
Get Your Business Smartified Now
Schedule a demo to find out how you can improve customer experience with Smartify 365.