Customer service expectations are always changing, so if utilities want happy customers, they have to change too. The traditional model of customer care in the utility industry was built around the convenience of the utility, but the modern customer expects to be put first and provided with user-friendly digital experiences across a range of platforms.
This phenomenon is largely powered by changing demographics, with a growing portion of the market being dominated by people who grew up with smartphones and social media. Millennials are now buying houses and starting to pay bills, so naturally, utility companies need to consider the unique characteristics of this generation if they want to provide an outstanding customer service.
According to the National Association of Realtors, millennials now constitute 34% of all home buyers.(1)
A common misconception held by utility companies is that they don’t have competition because they operate in a monopoly. While this may be true for their core business; in the world of customer service, any company can be the competition. Other industries are providing increasing levels of convenience to your customers, and this sets the standard by which they are judging your company.
For these reasons, providing a high-quality core service is no longer enough to keep customers satisfied. Utility companies are now expected to provide:
- The ability to interact with the utility through a range of platforms
- Support for new technology (E.g Smart Meters, Photovoltaics, “bot” responders, web chat, etc.)
- Prompt access to customer service representatives
- Accessible and understandable information
- Timely information about service outages
- Evidence that the utility cares about the community and the environment
- Multiple payment options
- A fast and friendly field service operation
Companies are now, more than ever, taking pride in making customers happy and distinguishing themselves through excellent customer service. By making an effort to constantly meet and exceed customer expectations, your company can build a reputation as an industry leader in this key area.