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With growing competition – as well as rising expectations from customers increasingly exposed to new levels of service excellence from best-in-class leaders in other industries – the pressure is on utilities firms to improve customer experience.
Earlier this summer, leading analyst firm the Temkin Group released its much-anticipated cross-industry customer experience ratings report for 2016. For anyone unfamiliar with Temkin, the benchmarking study surveys customers to find out about their recent experiences with certain companies – including how much effort they had to put into the interaction, how it made them feel, and what success they had in completing what needed to be done – and assigns each company a score out of 100.
The study covers almost 300 companies across 20 different industries. And the figures do not make great reading for those in the utilities sector. Scores ranged from a low of 44 to a high of 67 – and unfortunately, even the highest performing utilities were below the 70 considered to be a “good” rating by Temkin.
So what gives? Why aren’t utilities doing better at customer experience? After all, in Deloitte’s 2015 Global Contact Center Survey, customer experience is cited as “the only real significant brand differentiator” in an industry where technology and service are similar across all providers. With growing competition – as well as rising expectations from customers increasingly exposed to new levels of service excellence from best-in-class leaders in other industries, such as Apple, Amazon and others – the need to find a point of difference is only going to become greater.
And there’s increasingly little excuse for a poor customer experience either. The huge volumes of data being given up by consumers through smart meters, sensors and other channels mean that utilities simply must make good use of that data, providing customers with the best deals, clear communication and a seamless experience. Expectations are changing. Customer experience will be a critical differentiator moving forward.
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