How can utility providers use WhatsApp Business Platform for better customer touchpoints?Topic: WhatsApp
6 July 2023
Relations between utility providers and their customers have never been more strained. Rising energy costs mean many customers have been struggling to pay their bills and subsequently, the demand for customer service interaction has soared. As demand increases, customer service wait times rise, taking customers’ levels of frustration through the roof.
Customers need to feel more satisfied than ever. Utility providers need to act fast to build better and more effective routes for customer conversations.
So how can utility providers start to put smiles back on customers’ faces?
Utility providers simply have to offer better customer service through a more accessible and interactive range of channels. This is hugely beneficial to the customer, but it also helps providers who may be struggling with their in-house resource availability. But what does better and more accessible customer service look like?
Introducing WhatsApp Business Platform for the utility sector
WhatsApp was launched back in 2009 and by 2015, it was the world’s most popular messaging platform, and in 2018 launched for business use. WhatsApp Business Platform is unique in that it offers an array of rich and more engaging functionalities to the utility sector, catering for a vast range of services.
Providers can either choose to integrate WhatsApp Business Platform into their existing systems (via an API) or access it through secure online platforms – whatever works best for them!
How can utility providers use WhatsApp for Business?
WhatsApp can be used to provide convenience and increased performance to just about any customer touchpoint in the utility sector. But here are just some of the ways it can help utility sector customers:
- Two-way customer service interactions
Speaking with an agent is great, but it poses problems for both the customer and the provider. The customer will usually have a long and annoying wait before being able to chat, and the provider’s resources aren’t being maximised as agents can only handle one interaction at a time.
Using WhatsApp provides customers with instant access to services at any time, anywhere, while simultaneously providing agents with the ability to handle multiple customer interactions at once. For simpler tasks, utility providers can also look to bots for complete process automation, without the need for an agent at all.
- Measuring customer satisfaction
To make sure that customers are happy with the services that are being provided to them, regular surveys can be sent out via WhatsApp. The data gathered from these surveys can then be analysed in real-time via reports and dashboards, meaning that changes and improvements can be made in the most responsive way. This ensures that customer expectations are being met, whilst also giving the utility provider insight into where improvements can be made.
- Request/supply meter readings
With 24.2 million smart meters now installed in the UK, supplying meter readings has become a thing of the past for most people. But not everyone. For those not yet using smart meters, online portals, live customer service agents, and annoying IVR systems are still being used to collect readings. Enhanced convenience is required for customers if utility providers are to be able bill accurately.
This can be solved by bot-driven interactions. They are able to collect meter readings at any time or place, and customers even have the option to take a quick photo of their meter rather than entering the numbers from it.
But why should utility providers use WhatsApp?
For a start, it gives providers the opportunity to chat with customers in a place in which they’re already active daily – chatting with friends and family, organising work events and other life admin.
It also offers significant cost savings compared to traditional channels such as letters and phone calls. But what else sets it apart?
- Awesome customer reach – 60% of the UK’s population currently has WhatsApp installed on their phone.
- Utility customers want to engage via WhatsApp – 67% of mobile messaging app users said they expect to use chat more for communicating with businesses over the next two years.
- Customers are more likely to engage with a business offering WhatsApp touchpoints – 53% of customers say they’re more likely to shop with a business they can message directly.
- Ability to send rich branded messages – As well as being able to add your company logo and profile, providers can use the channel to send images, videos and personalised content; everything you can put in an email, only it’s simpler and more likely to be read!
How do utility providers get started with WhatsApp Business Platform?
We’ve worked with many utility providers to help implement Whatsapp for a wide range of applications. To find out how WhatsApp can help your business, please contact our experts here or why not start your WhatsApp Business Platform free trial?