What is the cost of a bad communications strategy?

Zahra Dhanani, Industry Analyst –

Clarifying miscommunications, to both customer and employees themselves, can cost a company a good deal to fix. In larger companies, these minor mistakes can lead to an average loss of $60 million dollars annually, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

Is it possible for a utility to avoid such pitfalls, while still delivering a great multi-channel communications strategy? The answer is not a simple yes. It requires a great deal of investment in employee training, the right technology, and clear plan for the future.

In 2018, Chartwell conducted its first ever Communications Industry Benchmark Survey, covering the customer and internal aspects of utility communications, with an emphasis on types of messaging and performance measurement. Participants included utilities from across the United States and Canada, with a total of 90 million customers.

The utility landscape is slowly but surely reaching a state of complete channel saturation. More than two-thirds of utilities agree that digital channels and self service are the future of communications. This means the race for omnichannel communications has already started and you don’t want to be the one to fall behind. Chartwell research shows that all utilities reported communicating with customers through the contact center/CSRs, website, social media and email. While the type of messaging sent through these channels differs, its more important that your utility has a presence.

But just being there is not enough. You need to understand what’s going through your customers’ minds. Ninety one percent of utilities state they are measuring the performance and engagement of their customer communications, with customer satisfaction being the most commonly used KPI.

Listening to your employees is equally important to your communications strategy. By providing them with the right training, as well as the best tools and technology, you create the best possible ambassadors for your brand. According to a Gallup study of the American workplace, 70% of employees are not engaged at work. Actively engaged and connected employees can increase a company’s productivity by 20-25% and one way to achieve that is through a well integrated platform or intranet. Our research indicates that around 84% of utilities communicate internally via intranet, but are they truly using this channel to its full potential?

If you’re interested in learning more about our first foray into communications benchmarking, as well as other great publications and research from the first quarter of 2018, make sure you register for Chartwell’s quarterly review webinar on Wednesday, April 4 at 2 p.m. Eastern.

Interested in becoming a participant in cutting-edge Chartwell research? Contact Zahra Dhanani at zdhanani@chartwellinc.com for more information about our currently active Outage Communications surveys.

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