Across our industry, member companies are transforming the energy service and are creating exciting, new customer offerings, while at the same time enhancing reliability and providing more clean energy than ever before. Our members are focused on meeting customers’ evolving needs, recognizing that in today’s energy environment, customers have high expectations in receiving world-class customer service and want more engagement and insight into energy decisions that impact them and their environment.
Part of our industry vision is to facilitate a strong relationship between our energy providers and their customers. At our recent Customer Service, Corporate Communications & Human Resource Conference we discussed how strong leadership is a critical component in maintaining exceptional customer service, but even more important is creating an institutional culture that drives an organization toward this goal.
Why is a customer-centric organisation important?
Today, we face new competition from non-traditional sources that use technology to disrupt the marketplace and bring customers services that they want. These competitors use data, now the lifeblood of the digital economy, to serve customers in new and innovative ways. Smartphones and mobile technologies, powered by the internet, have put the world at our customers’ fingertips. In short, customer service is being redefined. Our customers have high standards and expect us to give them options, control, and convenience. To win, we must be ready to compete with service that meets and exceeds these changing expectations. Here are 3 ways to become a customer-centric organisation:
- Communicate Proactively
In today’s market, customers want to feel engaged by companies regardless of the kind of service they provide. They want personal, meaningful interactions when it comes to information and updates. Be proactive in communicating with customers particularly during the hurricane season. In the days before any storms hit, communicate the potential impact to customers and communities and what is being done to safeguard the service. Following any storms keep consumers engaged every step of the way with specific information on restoration efforts within their communities via social media, text messaging, emails as well as traditional media: radio and television. With particularly extensive damage, consumers prefer more one-on-one in person interaction, so it is important to have corporate volunteers in the field and at shelters to answer questions and engage consumers.
- Create Tailored Solutions
Today’s customers expect personalized information they can act on easily, such as up-to-the-minute usage data that allows them to monitor their energy spending. However, their information needs vary, corporate customers have differing needs to household users, and it is important to identify what those needs are through research and engagement. From this feedback tailored solutions and technologies can be implemented that would enhance your customers’ user-experience. On average, customers interact with their energy provider only a few days per year. That’s a small window to make a good impression. New channels and tailored solutions can help make all the difference.
As we look to anticipate customers’ needs and proactively communicate with them, our fundamental goal must be to give them the control they want. That can take many forms, from billing options and real-time outage information to tools that help them monitor their energy spending.
- Create Lasting Change
Customer-centricity is not a one-off goal to be achieved within a year. It is a long-term endeavour. It will require our industry to adapt to new technologies and new expectations, and to create a cultural shift in how we absorb and respond to change. To be customer-centric also requires frequent engagement with customers to assess their needs and ensure that we meet and exceed them. Every employee needs to be on board, even those that are not customer facing because having a customer-centric approach to work ensures that providing exceptional value to the customer is the main driver, regardless of position within the organisation. By keeping the customer at the centre of what we do, we can create solutions, driven by data, that deliver real value for the communities we serve, now and in the future.