“We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know”: Uncovering Ways to Increase Utility Customer Engagement

“We don’t know what we don’t know, so how do we know?”

I had the pleasure of spending a day with a customer service manager and others at a gas/electric utility a couple of weeks ago. My favorite thing was hearing someone say that sentence.

It’s a phrase that could set your head spinning. But it was refreshing to hear how curious they were to understand and learn what their customers want from a utility in customer service. The excitement on my part was hard to contain. We all know it can be daunting to change, but the world is moving so quickly, it’s a necessity. We have no choice today.

In an effort to help people like that customer service manager, Interactive Intelligence and Energy Central worked together on a research project to get back to customer service basics. This uncovered what utilities should consider while setting their overall goals and strategies. Improve customer experience today and in the future will mean knowing there is a direct correlation between customer satisfaction, multichannel contact options, and self-service options.

For example, our study showed that customers want more do-it-yourself (DIY) multichannel options. For 70 percent of interactions, consumers actually prefer DIY for things like receiving a bill, paying a bill, learning about new home energy savings packages, and receiving outage information, according to an Accenture report. And according to a Chartwell report, utilities can save $0.60 to $1.50 per call by moving to DIY channels. So adding multichannel is both a customer- and budget-friendly step.

Our report will also help you:

  • Gain a better understanding of customer contact preferences: what your customer want and when they want it
  • Recognize challenges for utilities when implementing new channels and how it will impact other areas of your company
  • Explore customer service priorities
  • Plan ways to deliver on preferences and achieve organizational goals
  • Understand the benefits of moving customers from the call center to self-service channels

As we look for new and better ways to provide a great customer experience, sometimes it can’t be done “all at once”. If you focus on your company’s goals and use a prescriptive model to problem solve and adjust to customer preferences, you can better deploy the channels that best match your customers’ preferences.

To help map out your plan, read our study: 6 Undeniable Reasons Why Utilities Must Think Digital for Customer Engagement