Specialized portals for water and electric utility providers act as centralized platforms for efficiently managing various aspects of utility services, such as billing, account management, outage reporting, and resource conservation.

These portals offer a range of features, including billing, account management, outage reporting, usage monitoring, energy-saving tips, customer support, service requests, notifications, and online forms, all designed to enhance the interaction between providers and customers for seamless utility management.

However, if you aim to enhance the overall customer experience, consolidating these special use cases into a unified customer platform and utility management console is essential.

In this blog post, we will explore some of the common customer touchpoints and discuss how a customer portal with specialized features can effectively fulfill your commitment to customers.


Proactive Messaging During Outages

First, redefine who you should consider as a customer. This includes account holders, leasing managers, service stakeholders, and other customers. Next, remember that timely and actionable communications are key. Define your message and target specific communities with outbound communication through quick, omnichannel marketing.

In the end, when it comes to downed power lines, floods, boil water notices, and unplanned service interruptions, ensure you convey the Utility's outage plan while effectively informing communities of their specific outage status.

  • DELIVER THE RIGHT MESSAGE: Make your content personalized and actionable by delivering different outage communication messages.
  • TO THE RIGHT CUSTOMER: Increase your impact and avoid missed communication by dynamically targeting segments of customers.
  • AT THE RIGHT TIME: Send urgent messages like "Some customers are experiencing outages in your area" to customers immediately impacted.
  • THROUGH THE RIGHT CHANNEL: Create a seamless experience across all communication channels (i.e. portal, text, email, and social).


Multi-Service Utilities -  Customer Connections, VertexOne Communication Guide

In the end, when it comes to downed power lines, floods, boil water notices, and unplanned service interruptions, ensure you convey the outage plan while effectively informing communities of their specific outage status.


Streamlining Start/Stop Service

You understand the importance of streamlining processes such as starting or stopping utility services. Starting service may be one of the first interactions a utility has with a customer. Poor initial impressions can lead to dissatisfaction, complaints, or may even cause a utility to lose a customer. 

By simplifying these interactions, you can improve operational efficiency and deliver a seamless experience to your end-users from the very beginning of the service journey.

  • DELIVER THE RIGHT MESSAGE: Engage moving customers with messages like, "Your scheduled start date is Tuesday" based on data pulled from your CIS and MWM system.
  • TO THE RIGHT CUSTOMER: Send templated messages with personalized account information to encourage them to enroll in the portal or configure communication preferences.
  • AT THE RIGHT TIME: Automate workflows to immediately add service connection to the field workers task list and send templated emails with configurable connect/disconnect process flows.
  • THROUGH THE RIGHT CHANNEL: Send customers messages via their preferred channels via user-friendly digital forms instead of printed forms.


Multi-Service Utilities -  Customer Connections, VertexOne Communication Guide

Through efficient, streamlined processes, customers can begin their utility journey with ease. Ensure end-users are satisfied through a combination of online move in/move out requests, automated service line care sign-ups, smooth transfers or disconnects, and customer support where needed.

Facilitating Program Enrollment

For you, tasked with promoting and managing utility programs, specialized portals provide a powerful platform for facilitating program enrollment. Transparency with customers can assist the utility in reducing delinquencies and debt. VertexOne provides multiple tools that can be used in combination to communicate key information & encourage program adoption. Programs include rebate programs, customer assistance programs, community event registration, and revenue generating services.

  • DELIVER THE RIGHT MESSAGE: Send personalized message like "based on your home profile, you are eligible for our new rebate program."
  • TO THE RIGHT CUSTOMER: Set specific criteria to target specific segments of customers and track exactly which users received which campaigns.
  • AT THE RIGHT TIME: Notify users of promotional offers and program eligibility when they are already interacting with your utility.
  • THROUGH THE RIGHT CHANNEL: Allow customers to easily enroll in programs on desktop, tablet, or mobile device.


Multi-Service Utilities -  Customer Connections, VertexOne Communication Guide

Whether it's energy efficiency initiatives, rebate programs, or community assistance programs, these portals enable your customers to explore available options and sign up online with ease. By increasing program participation, you can drive positive outcomes for both your end-users and your organization.

Enhancing High Bill Communication

You understand the importance of effectively communicating with your customers, especially when it comes to sensitive issues such as high bills. Specialized portals offer personalized dashboards and usage analytics that empower your customers to gain insights into their consumption patterns and identify potential causes of high bills.

Moreover, integrated communication channels enable you to proactively reach out to customers, offering assistance and guidance to mitigate financial strain and strengthen customer relationships.

  • DELIVER THE RIGHT MESSAGE: Shortly after detecting a potential high bill, send the customer a letter or email with the projected cost of the bill.
  • TO THE RIGHT CUSTOMER: Offer enrollment in a Customer Assistance Program to the customers who most frequently make late payments.
  • AT THE RIGHT TIME: Promote utility audits to customers who recently had, or are about to have, a high bill.
  • THROUGH THE RIGHT CHANNEL: Empower customers with self-service tools and communication preference in order to message via channels they interact with routinely.


Multi-Service Utilities -  Customer Connections, VertexOne Communication Guide

A utility's efforts to communicate openly and provide practical solutions could positively influence the customer's perception, turning a potentially negative experience into an opportunity for improved energy management and customer satisfaction.


Unlocking the Power of Customer Connections

At VertexOne, we recognize that customer connections are key to your success in the utility industry. By leveraging specialized portals across key touchpoints in the utility-customer relationship, you can enhance communication, reduce costs, and deliver exceptional experiences to your end-users. Through proactive engagement and two-way communication, you can forge deeper connections with your customers, driving mutual satisfaction and success.

As you continue to navigate the evolving landscape of the utility industry, specialized portals represent a powerful tool for enhancing customer connections and driving positive outcomes for both you as a utility employee and your end-users.

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If you're interested in diving deeper into the topic, download our eBook, "Customer Connections." This comprehensive guide explores the latest trends, best practices, and case studies in customer engagement within the utility industry. From leveraging technology to fostering community partnerships, "Customer Connections" offers valuable insights to help utilities strengthen their relationships with customers.