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Improving the Utility Customer Experience With More Self-Service

February 13, 2023

Waiting until the bank or a call center opens to pay a bill, check an account, or get a question answered isn’t an inconvenience many customers have to deal with anymore. The prevalence of self-service options has made the concept of regular business hours outdated and less tolerated. Today’s customers expect to be able to pay their utility bills or check their usage as easily at three in the morning as at three in the afternoon.

It’s not just the convenience of paying anytime, anywhere that’s attractive. 67% of customers prefer serving themselves over speaking to a customer service representative (CSR). There are a few reasons for this. Some customers feel it’s more efficient if they don’t have to interact with a human, while others feel empowered when they’re able to track down information and quickly solve problems on their own. Regardless of the reason, it’s increasingly becoming a non-negotiable for most of your customers. In fact, 79% say they expect organizations to provide self-service support tools to help customers find answers without having to contact support. Utilities are listening, with many turning to customer portals to drive self-service interaction and improve customer experience. 

If you’re unsure whether investing in self-service options is worth it, we’ve put together a convincing list of benefits for creating a customer portal.

Benefits for the Customer

  • Convenience - Gives customers access to account information, billing and payment history, and usage information anytime, anywhere.  
  • Control - Lets customers control their experience rather than relying on call center representatives, chat support, etc. 
  • Time Savings - Provides customers the tools they need to find information independently, without waiting for assistance. Personalization - Delivers a more personalized experience by leveraging personal usage data, billing and payment history, alerts, and more. An important part of the self-service experience is allowing customers to manage their preferences, including how they want to be contacted and how they want to pay a bill. 
  • Easy to Use - Creates a frictionless customer journey that is user-friendly and accessible.

Benefits for the Biller

  • Increase Customer Satisfaction - Drives customer satisfaction by providing a consistent and easy self-service experience. A customer portal delivers a more interactive and personalized way to interact with you and builds stronger relationships.
  • Reduce Costs - Reduces the cost of providing customer service and decreases inbound CSRs calls, as customers can use the portal to access information and services on their own.
  • Increase Efficiency - Cuts down on the number of calls and requests to customer service. Self-service options increase the efficiency of the customer service process for both customers and businesses.
  • Grow On-Time Payments - Provides people with all their account information and billing history data in one centralized portal to simplify paying bills. 
  • Improve Business Intelligence - Supplies utilities with a more accurate and up-to-date view of customer needs and preferences. Self-service options can help utilities gain access to and manage customer data more effectively (e.g., How do most customers want to be contacted? What payment methods are most popular?) These types of customer analytics lead to better decision-making.
  • Gain a Competitive Advantage - Increases a utility’s competitive advantage. Unlike the natural gas market, most electricity customers in the U.S. can choose their electricity provider from a competitive market. Given the option, most customers will choose one that offers a more self-serve experience. 

Empower Your Customers

Sometimes your customers just want to drive, and all it takes is for you to throw them the keys to make them happy! A self-service customer portal puts your customers in the driver’s seat, empowering them to complete tasks and find answers to questions without contacting you. But it isn’t just them that should be happy. Offering self-service solutions for bill payments, checking account balances and usage reports, and even reporting outages alleviates pressure on your call center, increases efficiency, and reduces costs. Mutually beneficial solutions don’t come around that often - take advantage! 

Discover how you can let your customers manage all of their interactions with you in one place, with KUBRA MyHQ.

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