Utilities can leverage mobile applications to better connect with customers.

Organizations must forge strong connections with customers today. This is, of course, easier said than done for utilities, most of which must allocate resources and time toward processes that facilitate high service quality. That said, there are advanced tools that make it possible to cultivate customer relationships without assigning operations staff social media duties. A mobile application is the ideal solution, as this asset offers the most reach. Why? Nearly 80 percent of American adults now own smartphones, according to data from Pew Research Center. Consequently, mobile applications are the most effective way to connect with and maintain strong ties with large numbers of customers. More importantly, the features that come along with these tools correlate to key engagement trends, like these:

Account management comes first
Enterprises of all kinds have discontinued paper billing processes in recent years, replacing these antiquated workflows with online portals that allow customers to take care of their outstanding balances and perform other essential tasks without assistance. This shift has been most visible in the banking sector. Today, an estimated 91 percent of account holders use digital tools to manage their expenses, according to research from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. And, 38 percent of these individuals access their financials via mobile applications. Of course, this trend has found its way into multiple industries, requiring businesses to hand over backend account management powers to the patrons themselves.

The utility sector is slowly but surely coming to grips with this new state of affairs. Consumers now want to connect with their power providers just as they do their banks. Consequently, utility companies must now focus on rolling out external applications that not only facilitate this kind of control but also include extras, such as online resource portals for those in need of assistance. Surprisingly, most customers are not so concerned with talking to support staff, as they are saving time, analysts at Forrester Research found. More than 70 percent say companies can best serve them by avoiding unnecessary time loss. Mobile applications are perfect for these situations, as getting help can involve as little as a swipe and a few taps on a touch screen.

"More than 70 percent of consumers say organizations can best serve them by avoiding time wastage."

Easy access in emergencies
Of course, when larger catastrophes strike, self-service portals are not the best solution. Organizations must reach out and offer as much information as possible. Mobile applications facilitate this kind of rapid-fire communication via advanced notification systems. Smartphone users in the U.S. check their devices 9 billion times per day, according to research from Deloitte. This makes the emergency message, not the call, the optimal carrier for modern consumers. This sort of strategy comes in handy for utility companies, which can update their patrons via smartphone rather than staffing up for barrages of phone calls during an outage. Additionally, applications made for power providers offer two-way communication capabilities, meaning members of the community can lend a helping hand when the lights go out.     

Utility companies looking to build true rapport with their patrons would be wise to adopt external mobile applications and capitalize on their content consumption habits. Here at DataVoice International, we offer a robust customer-facing applications that allows users to manage their accounts, communicate with office personnel and view just-in-time outage information. Connect with us today to learn more about the DataVoice customer mobile application and other products in our portfolio.


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