Settling into his evening commute on the train, one of your customers accesses your website via an app on his mobile phone. A mobile-enhanced version of your website appears and he logs in to complete a transaction he started earlier on his tablet in his office. The app lets him pick up where he left off entering data about establishing electrical service to a new apartment he’ll be renting. The app shows him the power consumption history of the unit and prompts him with recommendations about discount plans based on past usage. In turn, he links the IP addresses of the new smart refrigerator, washer and dryer in the unit to his account to see if their energy consumption will qualify for an off-hours pricing discount. A text message confirms a service start date and notes that the energy consumption reports will go straight to his email address.

This is the type of omni-channel, always-available, do-anything service that today’s consumers increasingly expect from service providers – and that utility providers increasingly fall short of offering. This is not a cosmetic problem: for a growing population of consumers, the ease, efficiency and functionality of a utility’s web and/or mobile presence are becoming as critical in terms of customer service as receiving uninterrupted power, gas and water supplies.

Millennial generation customers in particular measure satisfaction by comparing their experiences with digitally savvy brands like Amazon.com and Apple. These customers—a growing percentage of whom are utility customers–may soon equate “poor service” with an inability to manage their utility account from a smartphone (…) Read the full article >

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