In the utilities industry firms are zeroing in on customer experience as a means of predicting and improving customer satisfaction. Their approaches to elevating customer experience vary significantly.
We have found that rather than waiting for stakeholders and regulators to force improvements, utilities gain more credibility and support by proactively designing customer interactions to be as “effortless” as possible across channels. Consistent ease across all channels is what ultimately creates differentiated value and what customers will most remember.
The West Monroe Partners’ 2015 Customer Effort Index in Utilities studied the level of effort required to do business with a select group of municipal as well as investor-owned electric, water, and gas utilities across the country. Through this research, we identified “customer effort leaders and laggards” and the practices that utilities use to reduce customer effort. To benchmark performance with respect to customer effort, West Monroe Partners created a CEI that encompassed 105 discrete tasks across four channel touch-points:
- Public Website
- Customer Portal
- Contact Center- IVR
- Contact Center – Live Agent
Examples of task measurements included “start/stop service” and “outage information” on the public website and “statement accessibility” and “tracking historical usage” for the customer portal. An evaluator scored each task on a scale of 1 (high effort; not easy) to 5 (low effort; very easy). The higher the score, the lower the customer effort. West Monroe Partners then aggregated scores to develop customer effort rankings by channel and overall.
Customer experience for the utility industry has taken on new importance and dimensions resulting from trends in technology, markets, and rising customer expectations. The CEI study offers actionable insights for utilities facing external pressures and that need to balance limited resources. This research concludes that taking steps to ensure customer experiences are effortless across channels can help utilities anticipate customer trends and avoid expensive regulatory mandates. Staying ahead of the customer provides real improvements in regulated return on investment, operational savings, and stakeholder confidence.
For more information on West Monroe Partners’ Customer Experience Index for Utilities including full benchmarking results and a copy of the white paper, please contact:
Dave Nash Jack Winter
Director-Customer Strategy & Insights Senior Principal – Energy & Utilities
If you’re at CS Week 2015, visit our team at booth #1029 – we’d love to discuss this with you!