Increasing demand, regulatory compliance, sustainability goals. There is a lot that is already expected from Water Utility companies. But the most pressing demand (and one which can give companies a clear advantage) is the need to provide a better customer experience and building customer trust. But companies are not prepared. Research shows this too. A survey by the Consumer Council for Water found that 40% of customers received little communication for their queries. This became more difficult when mass-scale incidents were present. But there are definite steps that can be taken to build better customer experience in utilities with an excellent customer service.
Onboarding customers in a quicker, seamless fashion
Did you know that with technology, the customer onboarding time can be reduced by 50%? This process is often expected to create a lasting impression on customers thus providing an excellent customer service. Water utilities can play smart here by collecting the relevant details, asking the right questions (around expected usage patterns, preferred ways of communication, etc.), and digitizing the service agreements to get started on a high-tech note. Once a request for a new connection is raised, regular updates regarding the progress and expected timelines for next steps can further exceed customer expectations.
Data to service better
Think about it yourself. If you called a customer service rep, would you like to give the details of all your past interactions? Wouldn’t it be so much better if you could simply focus on the issue at hand while the rep is able to fetch your details and provide the best possible solution? The same is the case with water utilities. Customer transactions are already present. Companies just require the right means to make sense of all the data.
Meeting regulatory compliance to offer a single, integrated customer service solution
As technology becomes table stakes, companies leveraging a water utility customer engagement, can help companies take a relook at the way operations are conducted. Customers now use multiple channels and love to be omni-present across the digital sphere. Be it sending a query through a message, chatting with a chatbot, raising a request through an email, or simply calling up an agent, customers are quite proactive and, often, unpredictable. A scalable cloud solution can help companies get all the channels together in a single dashboard so customers can be served in a holistic manner.
Automating major tasks to provide easy alerts and relevant details
Customers mainly want help in a couple of situations – while paying bills, looking for offers and facing some delays/issues with their accounts. Half of the queries can be resolved by providing a clear view of the past transactions, current usage patterns and outstanding payments. We all have multiple things to take care of, and paying bills is often forgotten leading to penalties. And we would love to be reminded at the right time so that we can take relevant actions. The same holds true for water utility customers. Self service is always a preferred mode of operation for customers to avoid delays and multiple re-routes to get their queries answered. Around 80% (understandably) said that they would bid goodbye to call centers for a better user experience (According to ForeSee’s 2018 Utilities CX Insights report). The same report also found that 25 providers surveyed / analyzed in the report had the potential to save a collective $208 million annually through call-center deflection.
Providing insights and useful tips to make lives easier
Customers want to be informed and companies can do wonders in this area with a customer engagement software. Conservation tips, past usage, outage insights, infrastructure updates etc. can all be provided through a rich dashboard. Predictive insights can be used to help customers act well in advance in case of planned outages, updates etc. Companies can also leverage data and insights collected and analyzed over a period of time to prevent leaks through high-tech investments like sensors, micro robots etc. During hot summers, the system can provide tips to keep cool while using the least amount of water. Instead of calling up the utility company, customers can raise a ticket for issues like leakages so that the field staff can be deployed and relevant actions can be taken. The customer can also be given regular, transparent updates about the field staff visits, charges, fixes, timelines etc. You get the drill, right? Basically, technology can help enhance lives and make people smarter.
The future of customer experience at Water Utility companies looks bright
Providing details about usage and giving alerts about usage swings are important criteria to get started in delivering a better customer experience. Creating applications that are mobile-friendly also goes a long way in ensuring that customers are serviced on the go. It makes it easier to initiate payments, track usage, raise requests, look at the available offers, and make better decisions. Such insights also help customers meet their sustainability objectives while also not being worried about the company’s proactiveness in terms of fixing issues since they would know where and how the field staff is taking care of them. With Bynry, managing customer experience at water utility companies is a cakewalk. Its AI-enriched water utility customer engagement software can help companies transform their customer service strategy and easily integrate the system with their existing infrastructure, thereby guaranteeing an assured way of transforming customer experience.