POSTED : October 3, 2017
BY : Derek Phillips

We at PK are lucky to work with a very diverse set of clients, each with unique needs, opportunities and challenges. None more so, maybe, than utilities. Increasing disruptions in the industry are forcing many to prioritize their customer experience (CX) investments to ensure they stay competitive, deliver great service and build long term relationships with their customers. It’s a trend evolving nationally.

The 14th PwC Power & Utilities survey identified five “megatrends” disrupting the utilities market:

  1. Climate change and resources scarcity
  2. Rapid urbanization
  3. Shifting economics, from centralized to distributed systems
  4. Demographic and social change
  5. Technological breakthroughs

All of these megatrends—except maybe climate change—are largely a result of changing customer behaviors, expectations or options. Modern utilities must become “customer-obsessed” (to paraphrase Forrester Research) if they are to survive and grow. They all pose challenges, but also opportunities for savvy utilities, the greatest perhaps being technological breakthroughs. And we can learn a thing or two from the disruptors among us. For example, in about a year’s time Tesla went from a curiosity in the energy vertical with talk of batteries attached to homes, to developing distributed energy products that are up and running.

 

What this means is: Change is not coming, it’s here.

Embrace the change

Forrester’s Customer Experience Index report for US brands shows there’s a CX leadership gap—regardless of vertical. Our experience working with utilities has uncovered great opportunities to get out in front of this and establish themselves as not just service providers, but as valued resources for their customers; and that is where savvy organizations can remain competitive.

Remember the three digital truths:

  1. Connection is everything.
  2. Companies that are loved, win.
  3. It’s time to own your digital future.

Change is happening and it’s not going away. Disruptors are digital natives; the focus on CX is in their DNA and customers are responding with increased expectations for everyone they interact with. This is why it’s vital to provide consistent, high-value engagements with your customers. It’s time to transform your online experience, but where to start?

  1. Establish a north star, a vision to guide decisions
  2. Understand your customers’ journeys and needs
  3. Prioritize initiatives; from technology investments to content creation—test and learn as you go!

To learn more about how to improve the digital experience for your energy or utility company, download a copy of the Utility Digital Experience Index.


About the Author

A picture of Derek PhillipsAs Director of Content Strategy, Derek is focused on building PK’s content strategy practice and has deep experience working with regulated industries, including utilities. He works alongside other discipline leads to develop processes, templates, and best practices that enable strategic approaches to content for PK’s clients. His recent projects include Portland General Electric, NW Natural, BMC Software, Spectrum Health, Priority Health, Banner Bank, Everence Financial Services, Zimmer BioMet and Citrix.

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