Why Customer Experience is Important in the Utilities Industry
Unlike other products that customers can see, touch or experience when they purchase them, utilities are completely different. These are services that most customers take for granted and pay attention to them when they get a bill that’s wrong, the meter is off, or the price has gone up again.
Nowadays there are several utility suppliers to choose from, with different options across regions. This makes switching much easier for customers. And they will do it with the expectations of getting improved service and getting a lower price.
Of all reasons for switching, the top reason will always be price in the utilities industry. Higher pricing is inevitable since it is often regulated. To help customers plan for higher rates, utility companies can start engaging with customers between when bills are sent.
Customer experience must be a top priority for a utility company if it wants to consistently grow. Find a way to give consumers the experience they expect; fair prices, transparent billing, supportive customer service, so that customers switch less often.
Customer Engagement to Reduce Churn
Between monthly invoices, customers don’t have any reason or motivation to engage with their utilities companies. The customer relationship is very weak in this case which leads to a risk of high churn rates. Instead you should make sure customers are actually happy and satisfied.
To slow down churn, whenever customers may consider switching, e.g. during price hikes, consider increasing communication with them. A few ideas of the types of messages to send reminders about include:
- Upcoming invoices
- Changes to services
- Price increases
- New features on your website
- Industry news that affects customers
- Tips on how customers can save on their next bill
These messages help create a positive customer experience so that even when a slip-up happens, customers are more understanding and less likely to want to switch companies.
Increase in Value-Added Services
Whether it comes from a private or public organization, price of utilities plays an important role for customer satisfaction. If prices seem to keep going up but there isn’t an added value to service quality, customers will be inclined to search for lower prices and transparency on how their bills are calculated.
To build trust with your customers, you have to be transparent about pricing and be ready to explain when it increases. Are increases because of seasonality or due to something else? When price increases happen, try to add value to the customer experience by sending messages to let customers know, well in advance, what’s coming and why. With an open and authentic approach, you have the opportunity to retain customers and improve their experience.