Today’s customers want fast, easy experiences when interacting with a company, both in-person and online. For utilities, that means offering a way for customers to successfully manage their account with as little friction as possible. A well-optimized mobile app helps your customers connect with you and provides a positive customer experience.
Beyond having a mobile optimized website, having a mobile app provides your customers with more personalized solutions and information right at their fingertips at any time of day. Mobile energy apps can guide consumers in their energy consumption habits by providing detailed information on how much energy they use, and can provide both consumers and the energy provider with insight that can be used to adjust behaviour patterns to become more energy efficient, according to the data acquired by the app.
Mobile apps can also monitor and analyse household energy usage and show users how energy efficient they are compared to local and regional averages. The app can also provide suggestions and tips on activities that would decrease energy consumption, tailored to specific consumption habits. A substantial array of features and services can be provided to your consumers through your mobile app, but it is important to identify those that would provide the most value. Here are some features that can be included in your mobile app that can put more information in the hands of your consumers to assist them in making wise energy choices.
Make a payment – One of the most important features of mobile apps is to make payment of electricity bills as seamless as possible. In addition to payment via credit or debit card, there can also be options for pre-pay or pay as you go where applicable.
View account details – Consumers can access their account details through a dashboard that gives an overview of account information, including account number, account name, service address, contact number for account, email address and the ability to change password.
Make a fault complaint – Access to your company’s fault department either via email, instant messaging or telephone. Consumers can make a fault complaint and view the status of their complaint through the app, be notified when the fault is rectified and receive updates in real time on the actions being taken toward a solution.
24-hour emergency contact – Consumers can have quick access to emergency numbers; simply click and call.
Monitor energy usage per month – It’s the energy usage feature that really appeals to customers as an innovative tool. It provides data on how much and when your home uses energy, comparing that with your historical energy usage, determines what the heavy energy users in your home are and even receive estimates of upcoming power bills based on past usage and environmental conditions.
Receive tailored energy saving advice – Based on energy consumption, energy saving tips and information can be made available for consumers. For even more tailored tips, consumers can answer a quick survey on their energy usage for deeper insight into the changes that can be made to their daily practices for greater energy efficiency.
Live chat / chatbot – Consumers can chat through the app to get their frequently asked questions answered in real time. In the event that questions are complex and need human feedback, consumers can be directed to the best avenue to get the solutions they need.
Electronic bills and statements – Do your part to help save the environment and encourage your app users to opt for electronic bills as opposed to print. If a physical bill is needed, there’s the option to download and print your bills from the app.
Power outage reports – Following a natural disaster, users could navigate an interactive map of outages, find expected power restoration times and report concerns or outages of their own. This increased interaction helps customers be better prepared to respond to emergencies, while giving utilities the ability to stay more connected and fix issues more quickly and efficiently.
Gamification – Create a rewards program that allows customers to earn points, later redeemable for discounts off their future bills, if they consistently checked and improved their household’s energy use. Reducing energy use provides financial benefits on its own, but consumers who see their energy reductions through the lens of keeping score like it’s a game and ‘winning’ discounts are more likely to adopt new and energy efficiency habits, making apps with this feature, truly innovative.
Consumer feedback – Electricity companies also need to look at user insights in order to craft a mobile solution that creates an effective user experience, encompassing the users’ perceptions and feelings before during and after their interaction with the app. This type of development promotes user engagement which is especially useful when companies come under fire from consumers when something goes wrong.
Being able to engage with consumers through mobile app technology is an effective and informative way of enhancing your value to consumers and bringing previously inaccessible data right into consumer’s hands using a fully responsive solution.