This September again has seen some severe weather and storms. Motorists had to be rescued from their cars after thunder storms and torrential rain caused flash flooding across the South East of England. The travel chaos which spread over the A12 and London Tube stations resulted in a surge in commuter enquiries and with further flood warnings and alerts being issued from the Environment Agency, the increased demand on customer service departments is set to continue. And it’s not only travel updates required by commuters. Utility providers have witnessed a significant surge in calls and enquiries to their contact centres from customers trying to resolve their issues. In fact, increasing water levels and blocked sewers has had energy, insurance, emergency rescue and water service suppliers’ contact centres under pressure as customers expected their enquires to be dealt with quickly and efficiently.
Using a number of digital channels to communicate with a company, and with the rapid rise in the use of mobile devices, consumers today expect instant and consistent service 24/7, especially during an emergency. It is crucial that not only the utility sector, but other sectors mentioned, have the right multi-channel customer service strategy in place to meet growing expectations of consumers to self-serve across devices. Consumers want answers to their questions, be it via a website, mobile device, live chat or social media and do not want to have to wait on hold or navigate through an endless IVR menus during a time of need. But it’s not only emergencies that require companies to rethink their customer service delivery strategy.
Utility providers especially, are under pressure - as consumers’ faith in them is at an all-time low - and comparison websites make it easier for customers to switch providers in a couple of clicks. Audrey Gallacher, Director of Energy at Consumer Futures, have said: “Energy companies have repeatedly said they want to rebuild consumer trust. Good customer service and complaints handling are key ingredients to achieving this and suppliers still have a long way to go.” Having a well implemented customer service strategy with a centralised knowledge-base at its core, is key to meeting the following challenges facing companies especially within the utility sector.
Improving operational and service cost efficiency
Increasing customer satisfaction & loyalty levels
Reducing customer contact - improving first contact resolution
Offering a consistent multi-channel customer service
Many of our utility customers already invested in the right technology supporting their customer service delivery, knowing this to be a key competitive differentiator for their business. We've put together a free guide and practical advice on implementing web self-service for utility providers, which you can download here.