The freedom of self-service

By Noah Solomon, Senior Research Analyst –

July 4th: the day when we Americans celebrate our country’s birthday, the day in 1776 when our founding fathers signed a declaration of freedom from the rigid control of Great Britain and began its great journey down path to nationhood.

They sought freedom from oppression and the freedom to live the way in which they chose. Today, we celebrate their earning of that freedom by spending time with friends and family, grilling out, and enjoying fireworks. It’s an American tradition going back to that day more than two centuries ago.

Today, there is a new freedom being sought, this time by customers: the freedom to interact with companies with which they do business on their terms and through their chosen channels.

The main opportunity for this is in the realm of self-service options. A recent study of the retail industry found a large majority of consumers prefer to shop using self-service and self-checkout options. Chartwell finds utility customers are no different; they are increasingly moving toward self-service options for paying their utility bills, a trend utilities would be wise to respond to and anticipate. By expanding and supporting their self-service options, utilities can seize the opportunity to cede independence to their customers, allowing them to handle bills and communications in the way they choose. And this is what they are doing; Preliminary data from Chartwell’s 2018 self-service survey indicates a majority of utilities are planning to expand the number of channels over which they offer self-service, giving customers what they want. large numbers are also working on or have recently completed projects to improve their existing self-service options, always looking to give customers the best and most independent experience they desire.

In America, we celebrate freedom and the hard work expended to grant it to us. Utilities expanding and improving self-service options for customers deserves praise of its own.

For more information on best practices, benchmarks and trends on improving your utility’s self-service options, please reach out to us here at Chartwell.

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