How to Drive a More Sophisticated Utility Customer Experience Around Time of Use Rates

by | Jul 26, 2021

How To Leverage TOU Rates To Improve Utility Customer Experience

Today’s utility customers are looking to their utility service providers for ways to save costs and stretch their monthly budgets. One of the ways in which utilities can assist, is to educate customers about how Time of Use (TOU) rates work and how they can be leveraged to reduce the household’s overall energy costs.

TOU refers to charging different rates based on when services are used. TOU may vary according to the time of day, the season, or the day of the week (weekend rates are typically lower than weekday). For utilities, TOU rates are a way to incentivize customers to consume energy when the cost of generation or demand is less, and to limit their usage when the cost of generation or demand is higher.

For customers, TOU rates are an opportunity to manage their household energy expenses. Armed with the knowledge that consumption costs less during certain periods, consumers can plan their usage accordingly and thus take advantage of the lower rates.

Driving a more sophisticated utility customer experience around TOU rates

Simply having peak and off-peak rates is not enough to help customers optimize their spend though, they also need information to educate themselves and tools which help them to plan. To achieve a more sophisticated experience using TOU, the utility must invest in several key elements, including online or mobile app tools, and a solution that enables personalization of TOU information on bills.

Self-serve tools via interactive portal or mobile app

A great utility CX (customer experience) includes a usage dashboard that tracks energy consumption, so the customer can understand which days and times they use the most energy. It will also allow customers to run ‘what if’ scenarios, customized according to their usage.

Example: what would I save if my overall usage remained the same, but 50% of my consumption shifted into the lower rate time of day?

The tool will also allow customers to calculate projected costs based on historical usage, including any potential rate increases.

Example: if my usage for the last 6 months stays the same, but the rate increases, what will my bill become? How much can I save by applying TOU practices?

The utility CX will include expanded notification options, such as allowing consumers to opt-in to receive a notification when they reach a selected usage threshold.

Example: notify me when my usage reaches a specific level during peak times, so that I can switch off certain appliances.

Offering these useful tools is just one part of creating a great utility customer experience. To really optimize the CX though, the entire customer journey must be consistent and seamless, including the billing and payment experience.

Bills that are personalized for each customer or household

In addition to providing tools online and via mobile app, the utility should modify the bills that TOU customers receive to identify higher and lower rates, along with cost projections based on historical usage. The bill can also include personalized cost-saving advice that helps the customer reduce their overall charges. In addition, the utility must invest in an easy-to-use, convenient payment method as part of the overall experience.

How Doxim is helping utility clients leverage TOU rates to improve utility customer experience

At Doxim, we understand how a modern, end-to-end billing and payments platform can enhance CX, reduce costs, improve processing and reconciliation and reduce the pressure internal IT and Operations teams.

We work alongside our utility clients to incorporate TOU rates into the monthly bill in a way that helps the end consumer better manage consumption, and therefore cost.

Doxim’s suite of secure, multi-channel billing and payment solutions supports the entire process, from composition, bill design and presentment to payment collections, account management and communications. Our utility clients are reducing operational burden, infrastructure costs and billing and payment complexity by outsourcing the billing and payment process to Doxim.

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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