How Improving the Utility Customer
Experience Reduces Costs

Utilities today face a dual challenge: finding ways to keep up with the needs of the modern customer while keeping an eye on budget and rising costs. Despite these challenges, there are a few things you can do to improve the utility customer experience— without breaking the bank.
Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered. Keep reading for the ultimate guide to improving the utility customer experience and reducing costs.

Look to Your Customer Journey for Ways to Boost the Customer Experience

Your customers’ experience with your utility is unending. So, one of the best ways to enhance the utility customer experience is to identify and prioritize the types of service communications you can leverage along the customer journey.  

Mapping out your customer journey requires you to analyze your customers’ data to understand how they engage with you and the initiatives and services you offer. A thorough understanding of different touchpoints will help you get your messages to your customers through the right channels at the right time.  

An often-overlooked area of improvement that helps to lower costs is the utility bill. It’s the one piece of communication that all your customers receive frequently, which makes this document a crucial touchpoint along the customer journey.  

You want to deliver a utility bill that:  

Includes a fresh, modern design (print and digital).

Incorporates the right customer data.

Is easy to read and pay.

From evaluating a touchpoint as important as the bill, it’s possible to see just how critical mapping out the rest of your customer journey is to reduce costs. So don’t forget! Mapping out the customer’s journey can help you recognize where you can reinforce strong customer ties and realize some early ROI.

A Tip: If we can leave you with one crucial idea about mapping, it’s to look at your customer journey from the customer’s perspective. It’s the only way to truly understand their needs and wants and ultimately improve the customer experience.

Adopt Digital Communications to Meet Evolving Customer Expectations

While many customers still prefer to receive paper bills and other regulatory communications, print and mail costs continue to rise. Customer expectations are also changing. Leading brands (in all industries) have adapted to provide exceptional digital experiences, including mobile-first engagement.

It doesn’t mean you need to eliminate paper, as some customers still prefer to receive printed bills and documents. It does, however, mean that you can encourage customers to switch to digital bill presentment and payment to help reduce costs. You’ll increase satisfaction in both groups by giving customers the experiences they want while reducing costs associated with print. It’s a win-win.

Other major benefits of going digital include:

Addressing environmental concerns about paper with a commitment to green and other savings initiatives.

Incorporating tailored messaging and video for greater personalization, engagement, and a superior utility customer experience.

Delivering bills, reminders, and notifications on their preferred channel anytime, anywhere.

Providing customer service representatives with quick access to customer information and historical documents for better customer support.

If you want to know about more ways to save without sacrificing customer experience, you need to read this playbook: Five Proven Strategies to Improve the Utility Customer Experience While Cutting Costs.

Make Sure Every Detail Counts with Superior Billing Accuracy

Did you know: experts estimate that 80% of utility bills send customers the wrong information 

Whether there’s inaccurate account information or payment amount, there’s nothing more frustrating for customers than receiving bills with the wrong information. And you can see the results of poor bill accuracy on your bottom line. 

Incorrect bills increase customer dissatisfaction, leading them to drive up the support efforts of your customer service teams. The costs of labor efforts associated with reissuing bills, not to mention delayed payments, can impact earnings by hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.  

The good news is paying close attention to bill accuracy is an effortless way to save costs while significantly improving the utility customer experience.  

One of the ways to improve your billing accuracy is to seek out and implement the right tools with the right solution. To improve billing accuracy, look to a solution that provides:  

Exception Handling: Proactively spot errors before the bill is sent to customers by preconfiguring rules and other criteria.

Address Accuracy: Customers move from time to time, which means attention to changes in address is crucial for the customer experience, getting bills paid, and reducing Days Sales Outstanding (DSO). The right solution will conform to the standard USPS (United States Postal Services) format and verify that the address is up to date with the NCOA (National Change of Address) database.

Preview/Approval Process: It’s crucial to have systems in place to catch errors before they’re sent to the customer. A solution with a preview and approval process to ensure documents present as expected helps to improve accuracy and reduce days-to-pay.

A Modern Approach for a Better Utility Customer Experience

The world is becoming increasingly digital. Utilities must adapt strategies to make personal connections with customers across all channels to improve the customer experience and lower costs.  

The best way to achieve this is to think about a Customer Experience Management (CXM) solution because its framework considers frequent, ongoing, connected digital engagement across all touchpoints along the customer journey.  

Sound complicated? It doesn’t have to be. Working with an experienced partner to find the right technology can help you make it happen. You too can lower costs, adapt to the modern customer’s expectations, and improve the utility customer experience.  

Ideas to consider to analyze your current bill design

If you’re seeking ways to improve the customer experience while lowering costs, reach out to one of our industry-leading experts for more information today.

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