Improving Customer Experience in Four Steps
Utilities have traditionally enjoyed a competitive advantage via a stable, unchallenged customer base. However, new competitive threats from non-utility service providers will continue to increase and threaten these long-standing relationships. An established relationship between a non-utility service provider and customer can drive new revenue streams, via other products and services, outside of the utility – impacting its bottom-line revenue. In a best-case scenario, this is a missed opportunity for utilities; at worst, this will threaten the utility’s long-term financial viability. The need to drive an improved customer experience has never been more vital to utilities.
To begin improving your customer experience, complete these four steps:
- Get to know your customer – Understand customers’ needs and behaviors leveraging data, trends, and other qualitative methods (interviews, etc.).
- Define the customer journey and identify pain points – Understand the customer journey and touch points, and identify opportunities to reduce friction and improve customer interactions through your processes and technology.
- Define and baseline your measurement framework – Ensure you have a clear set of KPIs that measure the improvements you want to make, including both the Customer and Employee’s perception of impact.
- Develop a long-term plan – This plan should be designed for transforming the customer experience, including the value anticipated and both the costs and people impact. Remember, quick solutions won’t fix a broken customer experience for the long term. To deliver a better experience, you must lay a solid foundation.
Customer Experience can be a significant competitive advantage for utilities over non-utility energy service providers, particularly as both consumers and C&I customers exercise more choice and involvement in the energy value chain. Utilities have an inherent advantage with their existing customer base, but it must be leveraged to avoid disruption and revenue erosion.