By Doug Thompson, Director of Product Management and Development, West Interactive
The customer service formula of yesteryear fades further into obscurity every day. Wait for a customer to become agitated, take their call, and then play damage-control. This didn’t jibe with customers even when landlines were the norm, and it’s simply unacceptable now — especially while Joe Schmo compares his interaction with an electric company to Zappos’ swiftness earlier in the week.
We get it: In an industry where unforgiving circumstances dictate all, creating a consistently rewarding customer experience can feel a lot like bailing water out of a sinking ship.While it’s easy for utility leaders to distinguish between a customer’s functional needs from their companies, all care is created equal in the eyes of that customer. And though it can be tempting to maneuver around communication obstacles instead of addressing them head on, most enterprises ultimately find that this only exacerbates struggles and masks growth opportunities.
Take outage scenarios, for instance:
On the surface, unpredictable storms can feel like one of the biggest nuisances that exist in the call center environment. When storms roll in and busy signals pile up, customers feel left in the dark and utilities feel the pressure of the Public Utilities Commission bearing down. Fortunately, this unsavory situation can be proactively remedied by directing all outage calls to a High-Volume Call Answering (HVCA) system.
HVCA is designed to take on as many calls as a storm can throw at it through a uniform phone number and prompts that evoke customer comfort when they need it most. Click here to learn more.
HVCA represents just one building block in a complete utility customer experience value chain. Utility companies seeking to stay ahead are working to drive greater value for their customers and their organization with self-service solutions and proactive communication strategies – one channel at a time.
When you’re sure you can field every call when a storm hits, it makes sense to shift focus to establishing more proactive alerts. And, once the two-way text/SMS communications are flowing freely, it’s logical to start thinking about predicting your customers’ next step – and even dynamically prescribing a better course of action.
Freeing utility customers to interact on their own terms should be an end-goal of any utility company seeking to drive mutual value. Prioritizing gaps in the customer journey and taking them one step at a time is the key to building a win-win communication strategy.
Join us at CS Week Conference 40, where we will share more best practices for utilities and help expertly navigate your customer experience. (Visit us at Booth 206 and you might even be a lucky winner of a car!)