While the services utilities provide for their members are unique, these organizations are fundamentally companies like any other, with the same need to deliver customer care and satisfaction.
Utilities that fail to provide a positive experience can end up fielding a large amount of complaints and pressure from the public. On the other hand, providers that take all available opportunities to update and improve their ability to communicate with members can unlock operational benefits and efficiencies.
Creating Clear Communication Channels Through Better IT
The key to better customer service involves harnessing the power of technology. Digital solutions have improved many elements of utility operations in recent years, and customer care is one of them. Organizations that have too many legacy systems in place may find that manual processes are slowing down their representatives’ efforts to help customers.
Interactive voice response systems provide a way to clear out antiquated processes and create a direct connection between utilities and members. These solutions allow callers to receive answers to common and simple queries without involving call center personnel. For instance, when a member calls to report a loss of power, the IVR can report on known outages that may be affecting that client, as well as expected restoration timelines if they are known.
Pairing IVR technology with caller identification tools that determine which member is on the line can enable utilities to deliver accurate solutions to issues. Customers can pay their bills via these automated systems and pull up data from their accounts. When there’s a question that can’t be answered automatically, it’s easy to transfer the caller to a live representative. Thanks to the simple questions being handled by the IVR, those reps will have more availability to resolve complex matters.
Today’s IVR solutions aren’t simply focused on audio phone calls, reflecting changing customer preferences. The ability to reach out through texts and emails helps these tech tools create a dialogue between utilities and members. When there is planned maintenance upcoming, or a breaking service alert, the automated system lets utilities stay in touch.
Customer Care and Other Upgrades Go Together
When purchasing an IVR as part of a technological refresh, a utility provider can get more than improved call center performance out of the deal. Today’s advanced IVR tech tools also help companies stay in touch with their employees. An automated call can go out when a disruption causes an all-hands alert. Workers who are not able to come in can call the IVR to update the organization on their status, rather than taking up a fellow employee’s time during a crisis.
IVR systems are at their best when the other technology used by the utility has received upgrades as well. Today, that could mean connecting smart grid data with mapping information, directing field personnel directly to disruptions and sending them messages via tablet applications. Utilities can also automate other elements of their outage management procedures, becoming faster and more efficient at resolution – this is something else that will make customers happy.
Reach out to DataVoice or read client success stories to see how technology makes utility members happier.