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.