90% of consumers research online reviews prior to making buying decisions, and 60% of the buying process is already done before they reach out to a vendor.
Two factors are critical — quality of offering and customer service.
Do you have what it takes?
Compart can help ensure that you do, ask us
Customer Service is the New Marketing
New product offerings, discount offers, requests for reviews, product feedback and upcoming releases are now a part of all customer interactions, whether online or on the phone.
Integrating Customer Service with Marketing can transform a cost center into a powerful profit center.
Learn how customers want to be communicated with in your market, and then focus on that channel. It will most often be via chat or a phone, depending on the issue.
More complex issues require a phone call. But quick and easy answers can be provided via online chat.
New channels are coming online every day. Twitter and Facebook are excellent ways to establish a rapport with your customers.
Whatever you do, don’t just rely on FAQs to address customer concerns. Research shows that few things drive customers away as quickly as not having a real, live support person to communicate with.
The Opportunity is Immense
According to Aberdeen, the top 20% best-in-class utilities had remarkable results when compared to the remaining 80%. Best-in-class programs achieved:
- 51% higher customer retention rates
- 23% increase in customer profit margins, year-over-year
- 24% improvement in response times to customer needs, year-over-year
- 44% greater growth in annual company revenues, year-of-over year.
The choice seems clear.
All Utilities are Local
Unlike other industries, the utility market is local.
According to PwC, utilities should not assume that there is a single, best way to approach customer strategy:
There is no one right customer experience for the industry. The best customer experience offering will depend on the specifics of the company strategy, its business model, and the environment in which it operates. In other words, a company must tailor its customer strategy to its own realities.
That reality is driven by the needs of the community you serve, the regulatory environment you work within and the expectations of the local populations you serve.
Metrics are not a part of the ball game, Metrics are the ball game
Utilities are among the most metric-driven companies in the world. Everything is measured and compared as part of the regular best practice of most utility companies.
The Utility Customer Research Consortium (UCRC) notes, most utilities regularly collect customer feedback. The key is to use that feedback to drive a better experience for your customers.
The UCRC anticipates increasing competition due to customers’ desire for energy efficiency and renawable energy options, such as solar and wind power.
Alternative Energy could cause a move away from the traditional environment in which some power and utility firms operate—a virtual monopoly in some cases – and heightens the need for greater focus on customer loyalty.