How to Evaluate Customer Engagement Software for Utilities

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Written by: Ali Barsamian

2021-09-GR-VertexOne-B8-CustomerEngagement

When it comes to utility providers, efficient and adaptable customer engagement solutions are vital. Consumer expectations are rapidly changing—the once acceptable “silent service provider” mentality has become a thing of the past.

Why? Because modern technology has changed how customers shop, live, and buy. Now, they want the same accessibility and speed across all digital experiences—shopping, banking, food deliveries, grocery pickups, and utilities. 

Electricity, gas, and water utilities are now expected to provide customers with convenience, fast response times, and a seamless online experience. This growing demand for constant accessibility and state-of-the-art technology means that customer engagement software must be adaptable, dynamic, and easy to use. 

Instead of calling customer service numbers that require long wait times, customers now want to log into online utility accounts to find important information. They not only wish to access their account, check their balance, and pay their monthly bills online, but also monitor their usage and payment history, update their personal information, and submit service requests. 

Today’s customers also prefer to receive service updates or important information via their preferred method of communication, which could include mobile notifications, text messages, email alerts, or phone calls. Most importantly, utility customers want to interact with providers on their own terms, whenever or wherever they are.

 

Customer Engagement Software for Utilities

Effective customer engagement technology incorporates all these abilities into a single seamless user experience. Advanced software like VertexOne’s Customer Advantage not only provides benefits to utility customers but also helps organizations better allocate their resources and improve operational efficiencies. This specialized software can help utilities save valuable time and resources and give customers the convenience they deserve.

Efficient customer engagement software should have the following features: 

  • Provides a responsive, reliable solution that promotes an excellent customer experience at a predictable total cost of ownership for the utility. 

  • Is a fully hosted, scalable, and secure solution that is entirely meter- and CIS-agnostic. 

  • Has a variety of easy-to-use and self-service capabilities. 

  • Features a dynamic messaging system that is personalized based on customer needs and feedback. 

  • Integrates with external websites and is customizable with utility-specific branding and appearance. 

  • Alerts customers using their preferred channel of communication during emergencies, service outages, critical events, and more. 

  • Reduces customer churn through an improved payment system that is proven to increase customer satisfaction. 

  • Includes visibility for utility staff to identify customer service pain points.

 

The Importance of Customer Engagement Software for Utilities

Get To Know Your Customers

Effective customer engagement software for utilities must meet each customer where they are. This means it should be available across multiple channels, including online portals, emails, texts, automated voice calls, and more. This will help utilities understand their customers’ needs and preferences and provide a better utility experience. 

Customer engagement software should also be able to integrate with other utility software, including electronic payments, rebate tracking, fieldwork management, and more. 

 

Improve Communications with Customers

In the past, utilities often advertised using bill inserts, radio ads, and public events. Now, they can use valuable consumer data to understand which communication channels are most effective when reaching out to various demographics, such as age groups and locations. These analytics will ensure that the right information is sent to the right people. 

This data will also improve optimization when promoting utility programs such as seasonal payment plans or low-income assistance, ensuring that more individuals understand upcoming changes, updates, or billing changes.

 

Is Your Utility Providing the Best Customer Experience?

Learn how to use data analysis to improve the experience of your customers in our on-demand webinar, “Using Data to Inform Digital Tactics and Improve Customer Engagement.”

Utility data segmentation webinar helps build a more effective customer journey CTA

Ali Barsamian, VP of Marketing, oversees VertexOne’s marketing activities and works closely aligned with the Sales and Business Development teams.

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