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Top 3 Challenges and Solutions for Utility Service Providers

Authors Photo Gaston Hummel | April 5, 2022

Precisely attended and talked at UK’s Future of Utilities Smart Energy and Water events in the first quarter of 2022. Utility service providers and leaders from across the UK’s energy and water companies presented keynotes on the top challenges and opportunities faced by the sector.  Our own Paul Matthews, Strategic Director for Utilities in the UK at Precisely EngageOne, was interviewed on stage at the water event to share insights into how the latest developments in customer communication solutions help solve the top three challenges faced by the UK’s utility companies.

Utility Service Provider - Top Challenges

1 – Communicating Progress in Becoming a Net Zero Organization

Keynote speakers at both events shared their ambitious plans to become a Net Zero company and the progress they’ve made to date.  Service providers of energy and water don’t always enjoy positive press.  When there is a power outage, burst water main or energy price increase the negative news spreads fast and wide.

What can utility service providers do to make consumers better aware of the great progress they are making to become a Net Zero organization?

A picture tells a thousand words and our clients have had great success using personalized interactive video to share important information with their consumers.  When presented with the opportunity to view a personalized interactive video, 76% of consumers engage with the video for more than four minutes and 74% say they feel more cared about after viewing the video!

2 – Supporting Vulnerable Customers

Most keynote speakers at the Smart Energy and Water events expressed their organization’s intention to better help vulnerable customers.  Vulnerable customers fall into several categories including:

  1. Customers with a payment arrears
  2. Customers that have concerns but are too anxious to call for help
  3. Customers with disabilities preventing them from easily reading regular communications

Ensuring that communications are accessible for customers with disabilities is tables stakes and a legal requirement in most parts of the world.

But what can service providers do to help the other two groups of vulnerable customers?  This short video series shows how personalized interactive video and chat can help customers with payment arrears, arrange a payment plan they can afford without even needing to call and speak with someone.

Augmenting existing customer communications, like bills, with contextual chat and video is a great way to help vulnerable customers who are anxious about calling for help.  Contextual help empowers service providers to deliver the best answers to the most asked questions about bills and other complex communications.  An anxious customer can get answers to most of their questions by simply clicking a link in a section of a bill.  This simple click launches a chat or video session that knows what the customer just read, understands the data in the communication it was launched from and has access to the best answers to the most asked questions about each section of each communication.  84% of viewers of help videos say they better understand their services after viewing the video.

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3 – The Great Resignation

The third common challenge presented by the leaders of energy and water companies was The Great Resignation.  They also discussed challenges of recruiting diverse teams and shared that they still run white male organizations, for the most part.

Hearing this along with the exciting plans to become a Net Zero organization and deliver outstanding CX to their customers, suggests that the exciting career opportunities available at utility companies might not be getting communicated effectively to a diverse enough audience in the recruiting process.

Could personalized interactive video be an effective tool to educate and recruit a more diverse workforce?  It’s an outstanding medium to engage an audience with an important message.  76% of viewers are highly engaged with personalized interactive videos for more than four minutes.  Furthermore, 55% of viewers take a call to action in the video.

We currently offer a 30-day free trial for EngageOne Communicate, the only unified platform that empowers engaging, personalized customer interactions across video, chat, email, SMS and print.

If you are struggling with these challenges as a utility service provider and you think it’s time to focus on engaging your customers with the right content on the right medium at the right time instead of managing, securing, and updating your communications management infrastructure, then you might be interested in exploring Hosted Managed Customer Communication Management Services.  Platforms like EngageOne RapidCX empower you to deliver outstanding CX while we manage the rest.

Read our whitepaper Elevating CX & Eliminating Risks with EngageOne RapidCX and learn more about making sure an integrated customer engagement solution delivers the maximum return on your investment.