The Importance of Integrated Customer Communications for Utilities

by | Sep 29, 2021

Four ways your utility organization can ensure a consistent customer communication experience

Digital adoption is a key initiative across all organizations, including utilities. It will continue to grow in importance as customers are increasingly offered digital delivery channels and adopt both digital communications and account management. Recent research indicates that utility customers are engaging with digital communications from their providers more than ever before.

But even as this digital shift is occurring, one must not ignore that, in the context of metered services, print is not going away entirely – at least not anytime soon. Recent research from Keypoint Intelligence confirms that we can expect printed communications to remain a preference for a substantial segment of utility customers in the foreseeable future.

With this knowledge, it is critical to pursue integrated customer communications for utilities, which includes the marriage of print and digital communications.  This will ensure that all your utility organizations’ communications are delivering the same messaging, information, and customer experience across channels.

To see how Doxim is partnering with over 200 utilities to integrate communications, from billing to payment, seamlessly across ALL channels. BOOK A DEMO

In order to achieve a consistent communication experience, your utility needs to do four things:

1) Design for print AND digital

The design of your communications influences your customer’s ability to understand information and, in many cases, impacts bill payment. Your customer communications should therefore promote a consistent company image, communicate concise information, and maximize each communication touchpoint.

But designing for print is not the same as designing for digital consumption. For example, consider how responsive design for a digital document that needs to appear on a variety of devices is a very different task from maximizing the utility of a printed page.

Or consider that, while an advert for a new product or service in a digital format can lead to more information as well as the means to purchase it, with a single click, the call to action (or CTA) for printed communications is more complex. It could possibly entail listing a phone number or simplified URL to facilitate the purchase, or using a QR code to bridge the gap between print and digital.

KEY TAKEAWAY: To truly maximize the potential of each communication touchpoint, your utility must have in-house expertise in both digital and physical communication design or work with an outside expert with this niche expertise.

2) Organize and review all branding/messaging/data output across communications

Customer trust is of paramount importance to utilities; once lost, it is not easily regained. One of the best ways to retain customer trust is to ensure that your customer communications are accurate, timely, and consistent across channels.

Communications which do not respect brand standards can lead customers to question whether or not they are a scam.

To maintain customer trust and build a strong brand, your utility must create a distinctive “family look” across all communications, and combine that with consistent messaging across all channels, digital and physical.

KEY TAKEAWAY: To keep engagement and trust high, you need a strong, omnichannel communication strategy that consistently emphasizes the value you bring to customers.

3) Map your customer touchpoints across print/digital or combined delivery journeys

Customer communication journey mapping is the process whereby you step into the shoes of a customer interacting with your utility, and document how that journey looks currently versus how it should look.

During this process, your team identifies how well they communicate with the customer across all channels. The process highlights gaps in your customer touch-points and identifies opportunities for communication enhancements.

Recent research by Doxim and Keypoint Intelligence indicates that paperless adoption in utilities is growing, but paper documents are still an important part of the communication mix. For instance, in 2 years, utilities respondents indicated they expect the highest share of their bills and statements (45%) to be delivered in electronic-only form.

For this reason, customer communication journey mapping needs to take into account all the channels you use to communicate with your customers. Your customers may well move between channels when communicating with your utility, and their experience needs to be seamless and consistent regardless of these shifts.

KEY TAKEAWAY: To maximize customer experience (CX) and build loyalty, your customer journey mapping must account for paper-only customers, digital-only customers, and “double dippers” who receive both print and digital communications

4) Consider consolidating communications vendors to optimize customer communications management and execution

In our new, omnichannel reality, managing customer communications is more complex than ever before. This complexity is increased when a utility has a network of vendors to manage its communications – one for digital billing and secure portal provision, another for printing and mailing, and perhaps a third for email and text messaging.

Instead of starting a part-time job in vendor management, why not consider working with a single vendor for all communications? Whether you choose to outsource communication and journey design or empower your business users with a one-stop shop tool to manage the requirements in-house, a single vendor with the right technology and industry expertise is the best option.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Utility communications are complex, but managing them doesn’t have to be. Look for a partner with a complete set of integrated products for omnichannel communications and engagement across the customer journey and be sure to confirm that they have expertise in your industry.

How Doxim Can Help Deliver Integrated Customer Communications for Utilities

Doxim offers the solutions and expertise your utility needs to succeed with integrated communications, so every customer has a consistently excellent experience, regardless of channel.

Our expert team and leading-edge technology can assist you at every stage of the communication process, including:

  • Consultation: Let Doxim experts help you assess and enhance your customer journeys with print/digital communication journey mapping
  • Design: Our experienced utilities-centric design experts help you implement consistent messaging and branding to all customers, on any channel or device
  • Digital Adoption Strategy: Doxim meets you “where you’re at” to offer/enhance and streamline digital engagement
  • Single Source Communication Management: A 24/7 cloud-based communications management portal gives you the ability to view, manage, edit, and report on all communication channels for truly integrated communications

Let’s discuss your utility’s unique customer communications requirements. CONNECT WITH ME

3. Expansion of digital products

As banking customer behavior shifts, banks must move with the times, or risk getting left behind. Many banks today are exploring the power and potential of open banking, which can allow them to offer more innovative products and services to their customers, as well as to better compete with fintech companies and other non-traditional financial service providers.

As you shift your banking business model to reach new segments or provide an enhanced array of services, communication becomes even more pivotal to your success. After all, if your customers don’t know which new services they qualify for, or how those services will help them meet their goals, then they are unlikely to explore them further. CCM technology can be leveraged here to provide personalized on-statement messaging that directs customers to the right products and services, as well as 1:1 personalized “explainer” videos to help them get started.

Adjusting your bank’s priorities to thrive in 2023

In an era of constant change, the key to successfully transforming your bank’s business model will be to stay attuned to the changing needs and preferences of customers, and to be open to exploring new opportunities and technologies that can help your FI stay competitive and relevant. But these new opportunities are doomed to fail if you do not clearly communicate their benefits and make it simple for customers to access them.

That is why transforming your customer communication strategy is the best first step to broader digital transformation. By updating your approach to communications to meet omnichannel customer needs, you also position your bank to communicate the benefits of changes in your broader organization, like new or enhanced products and services. The pace of change in banking has never been brisker – but with the right strategic approach to these changes, the future is bright.

Investing in a modern customer communication management and engagement platform is an essential part modernizing your banking strategy, as it can provide the personalized digital experiences that will keep your bank or credit union ahead of the competition. It helps provide a great customer experience, and builds rich relationships, which in turn results in customers for life and a competitive advantage in the rapidly evolving financial marketplace.

How Doxim can address the banking customer communications trends identified and help future-proof your digital banking strategy

banking customer communications trends

Doxim’s experienced consultants and omnichannel platform can help transform your customer experience in many ways, including:

  • Gathering and utilizing customer data to continually improve the personalization of communications.
  • Building trust with customers via communication (via print, PDF, HTML, email, text, and online interactive experiences).
  • Leveraging interactive video to drive personalized digital customer experiences, such as interactive statements, bills, or reports, that offer visual engagement and real-time interactivity
  • Putting customer data, including customer statements, at the fingertips of your service representatives for immediate and personal service.
  • Making a meaningful connection with value-added content, like information about philanthropic activities, on customer statements.

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