Many customers have troubled relationships with their utilities. Given the nature of utilities, most people are “stuck with” the companies in their area whether they like it or not, which can often make for contentious customer relationships.
In addition, utilities often have a much more urgent need to communicate with their customers than other companies – in the event of a storm, for example.
For this reason – traditionally low customer satisfaction and the high importance of having reliable communications channels – utilities have been investing heavily in their contact center infrastructures as of late.
A new study by Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) indicates that utilities may be starting to do a better job when it comes to customer service. The report, “2012 Customer Contact Experience Benchmarks—Utility Providers Industry,” had a goal of assessing customer contact experiences in telephone-live agent and interactive voice response (IVR), e-mail, website chat with live agent, and website self-services. The report benchmarks various customer contact experience attributes such as customer satisfaction, customer experience, and customer loyalty for the utility providers industry across contact channels.
What it found is that people are interacting with their utilities different today than 10 years ago. While once the telephone-based interactive voice response (IVR) channel was preferred by customers, that channel is in decline (as it is in many other industries) in favor of Web-based channels.
Results of the study indicated that utility service providers have been successful in providing customers with well-designed, intuitive, and friendly self-service websites. In fact, this channel receives the highest “overall satisfaction” score and second highest “customer loyalty” score among all channels.
The study also found that of all customers who are going mobile when using self-service sites, about one-third access utility websites via a mobile device.
A synopsis of the report and instructions for purchase may be found here.
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Edited by Braden Becker