In an internet era of constantly connected customers, the utility industry is no different from others who have adapted to new expectations for customer service, feedback, and an improved customer experience overall. “The utility industry has entered the era of the ‘always connected, always on’ consumer, who is now comparing his utility experience to the way he engages with other providers,” explains Kate Rowland in a recent Intelligent Utility article. “It’s imperative that utilities create customer relationships that are partnership-focused.”
One example of a new method to improve the customer experience are the “energy advisors” that have recently been added to Ameren Missouri’s customer support team. “These advisors can view the customer’s energy use data, access an in-house, subject matter expert if the question is complicated and apprise the caller that there’s a wealth of related information on the utility’s website.”
“The goal is to gain customers’ trust as a source of good advice, to provide solid information and to begin transitioning customers to self-service via the Web,” explains Phil Carson. “The advent of a smarter grid and distributed generation such as electric vehicles as well rooftop solar has produced a lot of new questions.”
Providing this information to customers and helping to transition them to online self-service tools that allow them to better understand and manage their own energy use will be critical to creating a successful utility customer experience for the future.