According to recent research, consumers rank the utilities industry as a whole the second worst for customer experience, with a similarly dismal ranking for reputation as well. Coupled with deregulation in several states, including Texas, California and Pennsylvania, as well as digital revolution’s effect on end-user expectations’, it’s not surprising that consumers are switching utility providers and considering lesser known brands. What’s more, today’s utility customers expect more value for their energy dollar, which means utilities must do more than simply supply a commodity.

It is predicted that, by 2020, customer experience will be the brand differentiator. For companies in the highly competitive energy market, that means offering the best pricing is no longer enough. According to research, 73 percent of consumers may be willing to pay more for a better experience.

All of this means that, in order to remain competitive, utilities must make customer experience a priority, bringing it in line with the experiences delivered by retail, finance and telco providers. In fact, one of the biggest challenges for utilities this year will be to build a comprehensive customer experience. Now is the time for these companies to understand that they have to prioritize their customer experience and find new ways to engage with customers and meet their changing needs. Those who go beyond merely providing a commodity by offering timely, value-added services will be able to increase customer loyalty, decrease churn and thereby remain successful.

The Benefits of Improved Customer Experience
At this point, by prioritizing customer experience utilities companies can gain a significant competitive advantage, since so few are doing so. Transforming customer experience can strengthen customer loyalty and engagement, as well as a utility’s financial profile. According to a study conducted by McGraw Hill and J.D. Power, there is a correlation between customer satisfaction ratings (CSAT) and return on equity (ROE).

Tactics to Improve Customer Experience
As consumer expectations continue to shift, utilities who are unable to meet them will face declining customer satisfaction and loyalty. Companies, therefore, must focus on greater transparency, expansion of services, and delivery of customer experience across multiple channels. Not only should omni-channel engagement be a priority, but analysis as well. Utilities will need to utilize data analytics tools to match customer expectations and needs.

Just as utilities develop strategies to guide asset management, they should plan for the implementation of sound customer experience objectives, which are the foundation of successful implementations. Managed by engaged and articulate leadership, utilities can plan, build, and operate customer-centric organizations that deliver sustainable value to customers and owners alike.

Optimum CX has experience in helping utilities become more customer-centric, empowering customers with proactive and personalized care across channels. By solidifying customer relationships and increasing satisfaction, utilities can position themselves for future success. For more information on how Optimum CX can partner with your company to fully optimize customer experience strategy, contact us today.