Wednesday, November 15, 2017

For utility companies, as the temperature drops, customer demand and utility bills rise—along with customer frustration and concern about power outages. And consumers expect a level of service on par with their rising payments. So as winter nears, think about improving your customer service to ensure you are ready to handle the increased seasonal demands.

Less than 25% of consumers trust their utility companies, and trust is essential to loyalty. Thankfully, loyalty can be fostered by focusing on customer service improvements like increased satisfaction and exceeded expectations. Here are some ways to meet the demand and make customers happier this upcoming winter season.

1. Multi-channel approach

Your customers need multiple ways to contact you, especially during high-demand times as they expect fast responses and constant communication. Consider adding a live chat option to your website so customers can get assistance in other ways besides a traditional phone call. In addition, customers may desire to contact you via social media or a text message service. The more options they have, the less helpless they will feel getting solutions to their problems. 

2. Get proactive

One of the ways to minimize customer dissatisfaction and improve their experience is to answer their questions even before they ask. Instead of dealing with power outage customers as they call, consider notifying them that you are working on the problem—even before they have a chance to pick up the phone. This will save your company time and resources and also foster trust. Include the estimated resolution time in your message, and send updates so your customers know you are aware of the issue and are actively working on it.

3. Text message service

One solution to becoming more proactive with customers is to use a mass communication solution like a text message service. Send text messages to your customers to notify them of service interruptions, resolution times and any other information they should know that will convince them that you care about their needs. Text message services are also inexpensive. For pennies a text, you can keep your customers in the know and decrease the chance of them needing to call and tie up a customer service agent.

3. Voice broadcast

Voice broadcast is another inexpensive notification solution that allows you to mass call all of your customers within minutes to notify them of service outages and resolution times. With voice broadcasting, you can also personalize the messages and record a custom message to play when the call goes to voicemail. One additional perk of voice broadcasting is that you can use it to notify customers of past due invoices or any other important company correspondence.

5. Shorter response time

When customers call you, they expect their phone experience to meet or exceed their expectations. A positive customer experience would entail them getting their questions answered as quickly as possible. One way to facilitate this is via interactive voice response or IVR. IVR provides self-service options for customers where they can interact with their keypads and get answers to their own problems without waiting to speak to a live agent. Or if customers prefer to speak to an agent, they can get re-routed to the correct department easily. Interactive voice response saves your company resources and also improves the customer experience. It’s a win-win.

CallFire is in the business of saving utility companies money while also allowing them to improve their customer relationships. Utility companies like Waste Connections, Inc. which serves more than two million customers across 29 states, rely on voice broadcasting to keep customers informed and satisfied. After implementing CallFire's voice broadcasting solution, campaigns that once took the company three to four days and two people to execute, now require only one person and 15 minutes of time. 

If you would like to streamline your customer communication, save money and improve your customer relationships, CallFire offers a wide array of solutions including text message services, voice broadcasting, IVR and more. Review our plans here, or sign up for a free account to get started right away.


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