Utility companies provide people with critical and valuable services: Heat, hydro, and other essentials that consumers have come to rely on. Given the increasing number of customers they must support, these companies would certainly benefit from implementing strong customer service offerings. Poor customer service and disorganized call centers can not only be frustrating for consumers, but also have a negative impact on the company’s revenue, customer retention, and business acquisition.
Utility companies have a huge opportunity to improve their customer service strategies and reap the rewards. By embracing modern customer service technology as a must-have ‘utility’, these brands can set themselves apart from their competitors.
The Benefits of Improved Customer Service
Industries like retail, hospitality, and healthcare have continued to raise the bar to meet customer expectations. To do so, they have taken advantage of advancements in customer service technology. Whether its social media, call back technology, or chatbots, digital solutions have allowed companies to provide faster response times and multi-channel customer engagement.
Utility companies, however, have traditionally lagged behind such other industries. A study by J.D. Power found that utility companies “are among the lowest-performing industry groups when it comes to delivering distinct digital customer experiences.” These findings have not escaped the notice of customers who are not shy about vocalizing their disappointment. A study by IBM found that negative sentiment towards utility companies was very prevalent on social media. This is likely because utility companies rely primarily on call centers that don’t make use of voice and call-back technology. This limits the avenues that customers have to engage with the company and increases wait times.
Poor Customer Service Means Poor Business Results
When it comes to a company’s bottom line, poor customer service is no joke. A study by American Express showed that 78% of customers have chosen not to make an intended purchase due to a poor customer service experience.
Not only does poor customer service prevent utility companies from acquiring new customers, it can also cause them to lose current customers to competitors. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that 74% of customers who had a positive experience with their utility company were still members after a year. On the other hand, less than half of customers who had a poor experience were still members after a year.
The Good News for Utility Companies
The good news is that a strong customer service strategy can easily help set utility companies apart. A few simple changes can dramatically improve a brand’s reputation. Allowing customers to easily make changes to their memberships, implementing 24/7 access to multichannel support, and implementing call-back technology can have a positive impact on customer satisfaction levels.
Utility companies would be wise to set themselves apart from their competitors by embracing modern customer service technology. It’s a win-win for customers and companies alike.
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