Mind your business! Utilities are not Amazon.com

The skyrocketing success of e-commerce leader Amazon.com has made companies across all verticals wonder if they should be doing what the giant digital retailer has done to achieve success. Disregarding the aspects that make each business model unique may lead utilities to undermine performance, make ineffective investments and neglect core revenue sources.

Mind your business! Utilities are not Amazon.com

Digital transformation is a concern for every organization looking to remain sustainable in an increasingly competitive and innovative environment. Influenced by the success of digital-native retailers that support their core operation entirely with technology specialized in marketing automation and e-commerce, utility providers are pondering on whether their enterprise systems should be updated in that direction to stay in the same ballpark.

However, utilities must ask themselves: does our company do what Amazon does? Is digital commerce our core business? Are we focusing on the core areas that drive revenue and performance? The root of the problem resides at the heart of these predicaments. Utilities should allocate their resources and efforts towards improving processes that drive customer satisfaction, and that should be their priority.

When thinking of an iceberg, e-commerce is the tip of a giant block of ice that represents the entire utility business. From above the surface, only this tip of ice can be seen, which leads utilities to shift their focus to that.  However, the bulk of the iceberg plunges out of sight and can cause an imminent crash if this significant section of the business continues to be ignored: the improvement of customer satisfaction on day-to-day interactions.

Having a panoramic view of the utility business is crucial to identifying the key processes, parties, and technologies involved in these interactions throughout the customer journey. After looking at the big picture, some logical conclusions may be drawn. Processes such as billing and payment can cause customers great anxiety, becoming a determinant of satisfaction and overall customer experience for utility providers.

Once the customer-facing processes that matter the most are mapped, the task is to implement an application that spans across all business domains to support cross-functional initiatives aimed at improving the customer journey. The rule of thumb is to have the flexibility to bolster the fundamental aspects of the operation in a context characterized by evolving customer expectations.

To sum up, utilities should avoid overestimating the effect that areas, such as e-commerce and digital marketing, have on their business. These companies should not be worried about being in Amazon’s ballpark because they do not play the same sport. They should shine their efforts on the customer-facing processes and technology investments that are needed to enhance their capabilities to provide an excellent customer journey and a superior experience.

 

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