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Customer experience is increasingly being identified as the main competitive differentiator for businesses and this is no different for the future of customer feedback in utility sector. But many studies show that energy providers and utilities are achieving significantly low levels of satisfaction and even more worrying, making key decisions on incorrect data. In fact, according to the Institute of Customer Service UK Customer Satisfaction Index, Utilities scored lower than the UKCSI average and ranked as the bottom performing sector.
Many companies conduct customer experience surveys in order to identify customer satisfaction levels and tackle any issues. However, traditional customer surveys are no longer providing relevant or accurate feedback for utility companies, who are dealing with an ever-growing diversity of customers and products and services.
First, let’s take a look at some of the issues utility companies encounter with their customer feedback.
As many confirm when engaging VirtuaTell, Utility customer experience surveys are often long, late and on the wrong contact channels so they are increasingly receiving lower and lower response rates. This essentially means that utility companies are having to invest more money to receive less feedback
Secondly, a lack of central control over survey invites means that many customers are being over-surveyed. As well as being a drain on resources, this can also put customers off from responding, as they feel harassed and spammed.
In addition to this, many surveys are not constructed in a customer-friendly way. For example, a time-poor customer is unlikely to complete a survey that is too long or complex. Many surveys also aren’t mobile friendly, so they can’t necessarily be completed at a time and place that works for the customer. And as customers expect to be able to discuss their utility account across a wider array of contact methods, the ability to offer omnichannel feedback solutions is vital.
Another key factor causing issues for utility companies is the validity of customer contact data, much of it being poor, incomplete, or out of date, making it difficult to even get in touch with customers in the first place.
Added to that, dealing with the impacts of seasonality makes assessing and controlling customer feedback extremely difficult. NPS rises and falls with the temperature, and requires sophisticated analysis that can differentiate between the seasonal and the more fundamental customer issues.
Critical customer data is also often kept across numerous different systems, making it time consuming and challenging to connect that data to the customer feedback. This delivers surface level results that lack the rich insights that are needed to truly understand the customer experience.
Finally, with many companies calling upon a combination of in-house teams and third party call centres to handle different types of customer service needs, creating meaningful and consistent agent KPIs and reporting that works across a variety of teams is highly complex.
So, what can Utilities do to improve their voice of the customer insights?
As we’ve seen, Utilities face a whole host of barriers and challenges when it comes to collecting accurate, insightful, and incredibly valuable customer feedback.
Therefore, they need an insight solution that includes a number of high performance, intuitive features and functions that will make collecting utility customer feedback far more effective and efficient, including:
- Real-time omnichannel surveys that can be used to collect feedback on whichever contact point the customer prefers and at any journey point.
- A process to centralise and merge customer knowledge with feedback results for deeper insight and a true 360 view of the customer.
- Control over who is surveyed, on what channel, and which questions are the most relevant to their real-time experience.
- Innovative implementation of communication tools and language that have been previously tested and proven to increase response rates.
- Actionable insights and analytically driven alert messages in plain language.
- All results collated and displayed in one place, with access to every level of the organisation.
- Customer friendly feedback measurement at all stages of new product roll-out or customer journey.
VirtuaTell’s specialist utility team have been helping utility companies in Europe and the USA for over 10 years and currently conducts over 3.5m customer feedback interactions a month for Utility clients. For further information about VirtuaTell and how they could improve your current feedback methodologies, please get in touch for a free review on our Contact Page