‘I want it now!’ That’s how a customer reacts today when they see new technology that makes their life easier. They want an experience like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter, as mentioned by our President, Eric Dresselhuys at ETS 2018. The internet has made the customers hungry for information and today 99% of the population in America between the ages of 18 to 49 owns a cell phone. They get a notification from a Restaurant when their seat is ready so why not send them a notification from their utility?

20 years ago, it was literally impossible for utilities to contact all their customers at one time if necessary or to send individual notifications without mailing a letter or making individual phone calls. With today’s technology, this kind of communication is possible. Rather than getting a bill in the mail once a month, customers can now get regular information and updates from their utility about a range of issues that are important to them such as billing, payment, or service interruptions.

The utility industry has always embraced technology innovations and now they must embrace digital customer engagement. Digital customer engagement along with self-service options and notifications help build a trusting relationship between customers and utilities. It is a proven fact that the cost of acquiring a new customer is always higher than retaining an existing customer. For retail energy providers in the competitive market, it’s important to enable and nurture trust and consider customer expectations as they design their operational strategies.

Smart Energy Water supports sending customers proactive alerts based on the customers’ choice of communication channel. Proactive prompts not only empower customers but also enable operational efficiencies for utilities. Customer engagement can improve a utilities’ customer satisfaction score. Our flagship product, SCM® provides enhanced digital customer engagement functionality for utilities, giving them a competitive edge. By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the most important brand differentiator (via Gartner). Utilities should bring proactive communications into their business strategy for improved performance and customer satisfaction.