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Texting Must be Part of Your Customer Care Strategy

Utilities constantly search for better ways to interact with their customers. With mobile devices becoming a primary way for consumers to exchange information, the need to incorporate texting in customer service has become paramount for utilities, but the work is challenging.

 

Texting has worked its way into the mainstream. All age groups, even Baby Boomers, have embraced this communications option. In fact, individuals send at least a dozen and in some cases more than 100 texts a day.

 

Texting Attractions

 

This communication option has attractive features for businesses as well. Text messaging is timely and more responsive than traditional communication channels, like email. Text message notifications are immediate, and many folks read them within the first few minutes of receiving them.

 

Texting also has gained more communications capabilities, evolving from simple words to images and video. As a result, this option can be helpful in areas, like customer service. Instead of writing out lengthy, complex, sometimes misunderstood textual responses, customer service agents can send images, files, screenshots, and even how-to videos to consumers.  Consequently, problem resolution times fall, and customer satisfaction increases.  

 

Few Utilities Have Embraced Texting

 

Yet, most companies (62%) do not offer text messaging as a method of communicating with customers, according to NICE inContact’s latest Customer Experience Transformation Benchmark. Why?

 

The addition of texting has a major impact on utilities and their business processes. Staffing a new channel can be daunting in many ways. First, corporations need to understand how the novel channel operates. They must create baselines outlining the number of inquiries they expect to receive and then put personnel and business processes in place to respond to them.  
 

Texting creates new, sometimes unusual workflows. With texting, customers disappear on a regular basis.  They open a window, start a chat, and then become distracted. For instance a consumer starts texting as they walk toward the train and stop when they get on it.  As a result, restarts may occur in a few minutes, hours, days, weeks, and event months later.  Companies need ways to track such interactions and ideally, seamlessly pick them up at their drop off points.

 

Avoid Complexity

 

Also, texting is not useful for every inquiry. Some support calls are complex, say a person setting a smart thermostat for the first time. In this case, the client may become quite confused, so talking them through the process may be more effective than texting them.

 

Texting does not mesh with disgruntled customers. Studies found that consumers are much more willing to sever their relationship with a vendor via a text than by talking to an agent.

 

Texting has become a prime communication mechanism nowadays. Consequently, utilities need to incorporate it in their customer service area, a change that benefits themselves as well as their customers.

Paul Korzeniowski's picture

Thank Paul for the Post!

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Discussions

Gary Hilberg's picture
Gary Hilberg on Jan 7, 2020 5:24 pm GMT

Paul - I agree that generationally this would be a great channel to improve the engagement of the utility customer who traditionally has little or no engagement beyond bill payment with their utility.

I would suspect that utilities will require significant infrastructure upgrades to do this, but as we all see with so many of the companies that we deal with, text integration is here.  Even the Texas Driver's License locations have a text feature to confirm appointments - makes a tiresome process a bit easy and more efficient!

Paul Korzeniowski's picture
Paul Korzeniowski on Jan 16, 2020 12:36 pm GMT

Gary,

Yes, the issues revolve around the cost and complexity of tying this new form of customer interaction into the existing systems. At the very least, a utility should be tracking this area and trying to find an opportunity, such as an end of life system upgrade, when it makes sense to add this option.

 

Paul 

 

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