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Communicating with Consumers in the Utility Industry

     With M6 rapidly approaching, there have been some major themes surfacing which will likely be key topics of discussion at the event. One of the topics sure to be covered is the future of mobile technology and customer service. Inevitably, we live and work in a market where vast mobile adoption is common, both with customers and employees, and therefore many industries have adopted mobile technology in order to improve their communications.  A particularly interesting industry right now is utilities, because of their connection (or lack thereof) to the consumer.

     The Economist report “Utilities and the Consumer Connection” outlines the concerns that utility companies face when deciding how to go mobile. According to Rob Pratt, a scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, “Utilities are faced with a decision. They either need to embrace the vision of being a consumer-facing business, offering consumers value and convenience, or they are destined to become a ‘wires’ company- and they’ll only do that.” With what we know about the market, the question becomes: what can this industry do to communicate with consumers?

     While this seems like such a loaded question, the answer is rather simple. At this point, consumers are looking for some basic types of engagement: advice on consumption and rates (including monitoring usage), alerts about service outages in real-time, and rewards for conserving energy. By employing a few mobile apps and social media channels, energy companies could significantly improve customer satisfaction rates. Luckily, the prognosis of these deployments is positive. This year, 33% of utility executives said that mobile strategies could significantly enhance customer engagement. SAP Mobile for Utilities can help these executives get started on transforming their business to be more efficient and customer oriented. Stay tuned – you just may have a mobile app for your utilities in the near future!

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