Reaching the highest levels of customer service is the ultimate goal for all organizations. The mindset isn’t confined to commercial companies but extends to public entities as well. Not surprisingly, public utilities are doing a lot to ramp up customer service levels today.
The electric utility industry has witnessed an unprecedented change in recent years as consumers expect much more than an undisrupted power supply. A culture of service can set a provider apart and strengthen its reputation. Here are some ways public utilities can go the extra mile with customer service and satisfaction.
Start from the top
Senior leadership plays a significant role in creating the right culture for an organization. The mindset of the senior management sets the tone for employees when it comes to delivering great services and support.
Engagement by top-tier people begins with implementing training and quality improvement programs for employees. Further, leaders should emphasize the value of serving the community instead of only delivering electricity. When leaders cover these aspects, employees are bound to follow the path.
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Hire the right people
While senior executives can be the driving force, the entire team is responsible for staying a step ahead of customer expectations. It is vital to hire the right people capable of understanding and matching these expectations.
Utility companies need to invest extra effort in their hiring practices. The idea is to replace the aging workforce with skilled people who can give it all to achieve consumer satisfaction. They must have an understanding of top-notch support technologies as well.
Focus on customer engagement
The core objective of utility companies is to provide reliable, affordable, and safe power to communities. But the customers of public utilities expect much more now. For example, they want self-service portals that enable them to manage accounts and pay bills from anywhere.
Similarly, they expect seamless support, accessibility, and communication when they require connecting with the provider. Utilities need to embrace innovative IT systems to ensure they provide the support and features consumers expect.
Identify and track metrics
When it comes to going above and beyond with service levels, metrics are crucial. These include factors such as call hold times, first-call resolution, and more. Unless the performance is measured, employees will not make any efforts. Moreover, metrics motivate people to give their best.
While utilities should identify and track metrics, they should also recognize and reward people who outshine. Metrics also help with pinpointing the laggards. Companies can work on training and educating these employees so that everyone comes on the same page.
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Create cultural alignment
Public utilities must see the bigger picture today. It is possible by aligning the values, policies, and procedures with customer service goals. Improving the consumer experience should be the top priority for every person in the organization, from top to bottom. Building a consumer-focused culture takes some work, but the effort is worthwhile. It pays the organization in the long run by fostering sustainability and success.
Customer service is the cornerstone of the success of any organization, and public utilities are no exception. It requires some work, but the payback is massive. So it makes sense to go the extra mile.