Customer service and experience really has been the hot topic of 2019. Every business has been racking their brains and putting plans in place to try and improve the customer experience they offer – but why the sudden influx of focused customer service projects?
The short and simple answer is, customer expectations have risen. Since customers are now dealing with companies who provide amazing customer experiences, such as Apple, Amazon and Google on an everyday basis, it has resulted in a significant rise in what a customer now expects in service levels from every business they interact with.
With such a wide variety of websites and social media channels available for customers to either leave reviews or vent their frustrations, businesses really need to stay on their customer experience game. Any business that is now falling short of these expectations, is hearing the sound of their customers’ footsteps as they move onto one of their competitors.
The risk of losing customers to competitors solely based on customer service is no more apparent than within the utilities sector; as there is very little to differentiate between suppliers’ products, there really is a huge emphasis on the customer service they provide.
In a recent survey conducted by Citizens Advice, some alarming levels of customer service was discovered; ten energy providers are falling considerably short of the customer service standards expected today, failing to achieve even half marks on their customer service.
These ratings were based on several customer service indicators such as, number of complaints, call waiting times, and how easy the provider made it to switch.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said
“Today’s rankings continue to show a number of firms struggling to deliver acceptable standards of customer service. The new rules which come into force next month will oversee new firms setting up as energy suppliers to make sure they’re fully prepared. But there also need to be stricter ongoing requirements and monitoring to tackle existing companies who are not serving their customers well.”
The threat to business is real when it comes to customer service; ten domestic suppliers have gone bust in the last 18 months. So how can you make sure you are providing your customers with excellent customer service?
The short and simple answer is, quick, simple and convenient methods of communication. Leaving customers on hold for hours on end is a sure way to infuriate your customers. Spark Energy found this out for themselves as a Which? Investigation found that their typical on hold waiting time for their customers was 27 minutes and 21 seconds. Which may be one of the reasons that the company ending up going bust.
66% of adults feel that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer experience (Source: Forrester)
By offering your customers various communication channels, you are putting the power back into your customers’ hands, by letting them choose their preferred method of communication.
SMS chat is a fantastic way to have instant real-time conversations with customers, a very simple, effective and convenient method for your customers. Where SMS landing pages can offer your customers more detailed information, with links on where and how they can upload meter readings, book engineer appointments, and pay for their bills or switch provider, all at their own leisure without the need for human interaction.
We have many solutions to help energy suppliers provider better customer experiences; if you would like to know more, please get in touch today.