For utilities, CSAT scores can equate to profits. In a study conducted by Fettig/Whirlpool Fellow at Kelley, they found that for the average utility, a one-unit point increase on the ACSI index, “decreases operating costs by $29 million overall, through lowering customer service, distribution, and selling and general administrative costs” per year.
CSAT metrics allow utility teams to find out whether or not programs, campaigns, or services are actually delivering an exceptional customer experience (CX). These metrics can identify what’s going well – so teams can stick to those strategies. Or, discover pain points along the customer journey – so teams can implement new strategies.
For utilities, CSAT measurement can be applied to billing and payments, program engagements, customer journey data (including that of any internal or third-party call center), and any touchpoint a customer has along each of those journeys.
In this article, we’re providing utilities with the three essential datasets to analyze for CSAT measurement, and how teams – across the organization – can utilize these metrics to improve their customer experience strategies.
Essential Dataset #1. Call Centers
CSAT is the most effective metric for measuring how your call center experience is affecting customer satisfaction rates. As the department that has the most direct contact with customers, it’s especially important to track these metrics to analyze and make improvements where there are opportunities to raise customer satisfaction.
Utility call centers bear the brunt when customers experience times of crisis. When customers pick up the phone to speak with an agent, many times they are calling because a problem exists. Satisfaction may be low already, and if a barrier is in the way of resolving that problem, their satisfaction with your business will remain low, or get lower.
With BlastPoint’s Customer Intelligence platform, however, data provides insights into improving the customer experience. In this article about reducing call center demand and increasing customer satisfaction with data, we explain how BlastPoint’s CSAT tool helps businesses:
- Predict Customer Behaviors. With enriched data at their fingertips, teams can predict a customer’s propensity to call into the call center. Data further reveals behavioral insights including channel preferences and likeliness to enroll in utility programs.
- Offer Alternate Program Solutions. Customer Intelligence Data can help teams divert customers away from the call center towards utilizing more low-touch solution tools. Online portals, chatbots, SMS, and social media channels are just a few options utilities offer that 1. increase CSAT by offering quick, easy answers to customer inquiries and, 2. lower overall operating costs.
With CSAT metrics at your fingertips, teams – not only in your call center but across departments – can begin to create actionable insights to improve every customer’s experience along their journey.
Essential Dataset #2. Customer Assistance Programs
The second area utilities can analyze to improve CSAT is within customer assistance program (CAP) enrollment data.
Since the start of the pandemic, utilities have seen negative correlations in CAP enrollments and delinquent accounts. Electric utilities, for instance, report seeing “a growing number of consumers struggling to pay their bills that are higher on the income ladder” and those customers “may never have received help before.”
Utilities acting on internal data alone may only see a spike in delinquent accounts and move those customers into the dunning process – therefore missing opportunities to engage customers with relevant CAP information.
- Identify Factors That Drive Delinquency Spikes. Pinpoint the specific factors that affect your customer, individually, at a household level.
- Profile Customers Who Are Most At-Risk of Nonpayment. Define and assign your customers according to their propensity to pay in full, partial, or not at all.
- Target At-Risk Customers Through the Right Channels. Create actionable customer campaigns aimed at engaging income-eligible customers through the right channels with the right messages at the time when they need it most.
In one instance, a utility partner effectively targeted individual lower-income customers and engaged them via their most impactful channels. Teams dramatically increased engagement rates with email campaigns and website content seeing CAP webpage engagements increase 131% over the previous period.
When customers receive relevant programs or messaging that can assist that customer in paying their bill(s), utilities have an opportunity to raise CSAT scores, and recoup lost revenue.
Essential Dataset #3. E-Billing Enrollment
According to Fiserv’s Eighth Annual Consumer Billing Household Survey, “68% of consumers acknowledge increased satisfaction with their biller when they receive electronic statements.” For the utility, when more customers enroll in e-billing, Billing Industry Benchmarks report from Chartwell found that utilities can save an average of 54 cents per customer each month by distributing online bills rather than paper bills.
The use of E-billing has a wide range of benefits for your utility. From improved operational efficiencies, saved time, reduced error rates, and better cash flow. But also importantly, it can increase customer satisfaction in the three following ways.
- Improved engagement. Sending bills directly to a customer’s preferred device, including payment reminders, provides customers with satisfaction as they are reliant on and engaged with the service you are providing.
- Better customer service experiences. Remember Essential Dataset #1? Call centers can be inundated with billing and payment inquiries, therefore leading to longer wait times and low CSAT. E-billing provides customers with self-service opportunities to solve billing issues online allowing call center agents to provide higher-value service to the customers who truly need it.
- Establish trust between your utility and your customers. E-billing enhances the customer experience by allowing utilities to provide customers with information and programs that are relevant to their lifestyles. Energy Efficiency, EV, and relevant Customer Assistance programs are just some of the additional ways utilities can increase customer satisfaction.
As customers depend more on electronic communications to stay engaged – and increasingly become more eco-conscious – now’s the perfect time to focus on converting customers to paperless programs, meet company sustainability goals, and save on overall operating costs.
BlastPoint’s Customer Intelligence Platform for CSAT measurement.
BlastPoint aims to keep customer satisfaction high. Our AI allows your business to see customer satisfaction at an account level. Based on behavioral-level insights, each customer is assigned a CSAT score from highest to lowest risk – with the ability to track those insights daily. These insights provide the ability to see, clearly, where teams need to divert resources into campaigns that resonate toward creating happier customers.
Visit our case studies page to see more results we’ve helped companies achieve, and get in touch with our team to talk about how customer intelligence can help your team boost engagement and improve customer satisfaction across your entire organization today!