Online portals are no longer just a modern convenience, they are an expectation across the board. Businesses large and small are expected to provide online access to customer accounts or risk being seen as antiquated in the eyes of their customers. For utilities, the consequences of this can be extremely damaging, especially in an increasingly deregulated marketplace.
A recent JD Power survey noted six percent of customers in 2013 switched electric providers. While 64 percent of those switches were price-driven, that still leaves a significant number of customers changing utility providers for other reasons. Offering a modern, simple, always-on account interface delivered where and when the customer wants it can not only work to reduce churn, but will give the utility something to offer customers who may be unhappy with the competition.
The Benefits of Powerful Portals
Customer self-service portals work because they bring the experience that modern customers are used to into the utility space. A simplified experience and ease of use takes some of the mystery out of their interaction with the utility. Plus, a sleek, simple web application enables users to just do what they need to do, without worrying about obscure navigation controls or cryptic bill matrices. Simple, lightweight apps also make it easier to train internal reps, who can then assist customers experiencing difficulties.
By harnessing the power of support system web portals, companies can both empower customers and eliminate many headaches surrounding customer service departments. The ability to avoid confusion during support calls is a great example of enhancing customer interactions. But the true value resides in a customer’s ability to access the information they need when they need it.
24x7x365 availability means your customer service center never closes – and all of the information on your utility CIS is up and ready for viewing, with real-time information updates. This includes current balance, consumption, past bills, and the ability to make electronic payments from any web browser. And because customers can input their own data into systems, the possibility for communication-based errors drops significantly.
Of course, there is the added benefit of reducing internal customer service costs, as well. With a more automated system, organizations have the ability to re-allocate the funds previously needed to run manual-intensive, less-reliable customer service call centers.
Want to see a Support System Web Portal in action? Check out enQuesta WebConnect, which offers:
- Electronic bill viewing and payment
- An encrypted network to protect user information
- A great user experience alongside functionality and value
- Mobile workforce management and GIS integration
- IBM Cognos Business Intelligence reporting tool
- And more!
Check out WebConnect and learn the difference that it can make for your utility.
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We have never experienced such a smooth, innovative, project and such a degree of general executive support. — Detroit Water & Sewerage Department, MI