By Rebecca Harris, Research Analyst –
Chartwell research shows that utilities need to engage customers to gain their loyalty and improve customer satisfaction. However, utility messages can get lost in the maelstrom of communications customers receive daily. How can utilities reach their customers to increase customer awareness of available programs?
Chartwell’s newest report, Delivering more effective customer communications (member login required), delves into consumer data to determine the messages and channels customers are most interested in. It also incorporates industry benchmarks to determine how aligned current industry offerings are to consumer trends.
The following are key takeaways included in the report:
• Consumers are most interested in messages about scams, outages and money-related topics.
• Email is consumers’ most preferred channel for every variety of message. For less urgent messages, the bill is also a popular channel. For outage-related messages, text messaging is the second-most preferred channel.
• Email and the bill remain the communication channels customers prefer most. However, as younger generations enter the market, utility websites, texting, mobile apps and social media will grow in popularity.
• Customers prefer calling their utilities and speaking with live agents over any other customer service channel. Artificial intelligence (AI) can enable more self-service through the IVR, email, chat and text messaging, allowing agents to focus on complicated problems.
• Personalization helps utilities get more out of their communications. Utilities are at the early stages of building the data infrastructure necessary to capture and use more customer information for better customer experiences and targeted communications.
The report also includes case studies highlighting real-life examples of utilities increasing customer awareness of outage products, implementing AI-enabled customer service and personalizing communications to increase program participation.
Utilities create satisfying products, services and resources to help customers stay updated during outages, control their usage and be involved in issues affecting their wallets. To create a better experience, utilities have to make sure customers know about these services.
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