Become a partner in the daily digital lives of your customers
Utilities have become products. But how do you make them sought after?
The role of utility providers has evolved massively and will continue to change dramatically over the next decade. Today the provision of utilities like electricity, water and telecom services are much more than basic services. Consumers choose their providers more consciously, comparing advantages and disadvantages, service, and price. Gone are the days when you signed up with a provider and, except for the monthly invoice, never heard from them again. Today, utilities, like their customers, need to be always on.
Offer autonomy, provide transparency
Which extra service do your customers expect?
Let's find out
Consumers want to be able to monitor, evaluate and control their products themselves. They know what competitors and challengers on the market offer, and today they can find their way to them much more easily. Ending a subscription or switching supplier takes just a few clicks – and often the new supplier lends a helping hand. If you want to have a real connection with your customers, it is best to step it up a notch. You can start with a frictionless digital user platform that gives customers a clear view of their account, and all of their data at a glance, which allows them to engage with the service and make forecasts proactively.
But utility providers do well to go even further, by demonstrating to consumers that they share their concerns. For example, more and more organisations are successfully offering services that transcend their traditional offerings, but respond to actual needs of their customers. An energy provider that shares energy saving and efficiency tips, for example. Or a telecom provider who partners up with other organisations to offer much needed support at home such as cleaning or ironing services, a food box subscription or a bike or step sharing service.
Know your competitors
While energy suppliers and telecom companies used to have only each other - and smaller challengers - as competitors, they are now increasingly finding themselves sharing the market with large, global technology companies and e-commerce giants. These newcomers are often already more advanced in the digital experience they offer, but they do not have the trust and local anchoring that traditional utilities have built up over decades. An energy supplier or telecom provider that succeeds in offering a consistent high-quality experience, through all channels can significantly strengthen and expand its position.
Here's how you get the consumer on your side:
Make self-reliance a matter of course
Do you want happier customers? Make sure they don't need to use your customer service. In recent years, we have helped utility companies in the initial and continuing development of their self-service platforms for customers. The ability to make simple adjustments 24/7, the easy addition or cancellation of products ensures more loyalty and conversion, and less customer turnover. At the same time, it relieves the pressure on customer service, which means that they can give better and more personal service when it is really needed.
Influence customer behaviour
With additional services and applications focused on 24/7 monitoring, customers have a better view of how they use their products. This enables them to adjust their behaviour and optimise their consumption proactively. By being smarter with their product selection and use, they are less likely to feel the need to choose other options or to respond to an offer from competing providers. The customers who strongly identify with the product they have chosen also stay longer.
Develop for growth
In a product-driven market, volume is crucial. Those who focus on user-friendly, self-service platforms that connect seamlessly to relevant additional products and services, create more sales with existing customers and generate greater customer lifetime value. This is where you find opportunities for utilities to become a true partner in the daily lives of consumers. It is no coincidence that smaller challengers and niche players often conquer a place by offering novelties that traditional players do not yet pay enough attention to.
Do you want to know how you can make a difference with your IT approach or how you can work more product-oriented?
The customer wants... a Super App tailored to his life.
How do you, as a utility company or telecom provider, shape a customer relationship? Let's rephrase that: how do you increase retention? This is only possible if you really know your customers and personalise the services you provide to them thoroughly, in every area. From a customised user portal, to offering additional services or promotions precisely when people need them, and conversational interfaces that not only help customers, but also collect data. It is no coincidence that a lot of players are looking for Super Apps that bring a variety of services together and assist their customers every minute of the day in their digital and physical lives.
Work on technology that works for your customers:
• Provide more than just energy and water
Light, heat and water are more essential today than they ever were. The role of utility providers as visible brands with long established reputations brings about exciting new possibilities. Through advice and other targeted content, they can make the lives of their customers more pleasant, and actively guide them to achieve all their ambitions. Also, because of their scale and resources, utilities can tap into new techniques to increase customer loyalty. One example of this is ensuring that their technology and service levels are sufficient to absorb the many demands and the volatility of today's consumers.
• Realise the potential of smart grids
Like energy companies, telecom providers have a broad, subscription-driven customer base. Typically, they also have a strong network of technology they can build on. Seamless integration of infrastructure, applications, and content into the lives of consumers via a smart network is a major challenge. But those who succeed become the first point of contact for customers with a variety of needs and can offer a lot more than internet and telecom products. This can be mobility solutions, entertainment, or financial services, for example. Finding strategic partners who have already accumulated expertise within their domain is crucial for marketing these service bundles.
How does iO work?
With the roll-out of the 5G and Fibre networks and other innovations, opportunities are opening up for utilities and telecom operators. The challenges in terms of security should not be underestimated when building smart networks, cloud services and applications. That is why we pay a lot of attention to infrastructure and architecture when we strategically guide players from these sectors in the relational and technological transformation of their business – for both the consumer and the business markets. It’s not enough for digital brands to be loved, they have to maintain consistent performance levels and be future-proof.
4 pillars that every energy or telecom provider can build on.
1. Provide a strong and secure technological foundation.
Utilities can only develop a sustainable digital ecosystem on the right technological architecture.
2. Build a love brand.
Building a love brand means more than offering consumers relevant and attractive products or services. Their daily experience must also be flawless and must never give rise to migration or loss of customers.
3. Group everything into one superior application.
Speed and convenience are more important to the consumer, who prefers to keep all their most important products and services in one Super App that they can access whenever and wherever they choose.
4. Use trust as leverage.
Large organisations that offer their customers basic services, to a consistent standard, enjoy a lot of trust. The effect of this built-in advantage for utility providers should not be underestimated when it comes to expanding their platforms or offering new products and services.