Utility companies have long relied on traditional communications methods such as mail and the telephone to communicate with customers. While these channels still prove effective in some communities, they are beginning to fade in others, especially those with significant populations of young and middle-aged people. Why? The continued rise of mobile technology. Today, most customers expect service enterprises to provide on-the-go solutions that allow them to maintain their accounts and field related messages without having to pick up the phone or wait for statements delivered via mail.
An estimated 77 percent of Americans own smartphones, according to recent data from the Pew Research Center. Utility companies would be wise to take advantage of this trend and roll out mobile portals to meet the needs of roughly two-thirds of the population. Luckily, many have begun to do just that, Utility Dive reported. Apart from embracing new communication trends, what exactly are the benefits of investing in customer-facing mobile technology? There are a few salient advantages.
Better outage response
Customer insight can prove extremely valuable when outages occur. However, much of its usefulness is lost in translation, as dispatchers get easily overwhelmed and are forced to scrawl call notes as quickly as possible. Even operations outfitted with voice-over-IP solutions have trouble in this department. Customer mobile applications streamline this entire process, allowing users to email or text on-the-ground interruption information that is easy to consume and share. Additionally, these portals make it easy for customers to deliver updates. This saves service crews time, as they are less likely to arrive at homes that have regained power while they were en route.
“Mobile applications give utilities the power to better understand and respond to their customers.”
Improved billing processes
A large number of utilities continue to rely on paper-based billing processes. These workflows often muck up accounting operations and leave budget-conscious customers frustrated. Mobile applications address both stakeholders, allowing utility companies to easily tabulate and track bills while giving end users the power to track consumption levels and look for ways to cut back. Plus, these portals come with notification systems that are perfect for reminding chronically late or delinquent customers to clear up their account issues.
Enhanced customer engagement
Customer engagement has always been an essential concern among businesses. However, in the years since the Great Recession, it has risen to become possibly the most important variable in day-to-day operations, according to Gallup. Why? Organizations must communicate with their customers to understand their needs and achieve fiscal security. Plus, the engaged often share their support, which leads others to sign on for services. Mobile applications facilitate these connections, giving utilities the power to better understand and respond to their customers, two key steps in the recipe for growth.
Interested in adopting a customer-facing mobile application? Connect with DataVoice today. Utility companies across the country use our PowerPal solution to maintain optimal service quality and cultivate strong relationships with customers. Call us at (888) 328-2864 to learn more.