Capitalizing on the digital transformation
Energy companies are undergoing a digital transformation. Customers are driving this shift in business model, in part, through their choice of communication channels. Mobile is a huge part.
In 2013, utility customer communication via mobile channels reached an all-time high as customers downloaded 500,000 utility mobile apps to manage their accounts, and subsequently exchanged 11 million text messages with their utility, according to iFactor Consulting.
The increasing popularity of smartphones, decreasing use of landline phones, high rates of smartphone adoption among young consumers across all income levels, and increased use of mobile devices to access the Internet suggests that utilities should focus on providing mobile-optimized communication channels, iFactor contends.
Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution to reach customers, iFactor recommends utilities do the following to reach as many customers as possible:
- Retain at least some of their traditional forms of communication for those customers who don’t have mobile phones or Internet access in order to continue providing communication through call centers and media such as printed bills, bill inserts, and radio and television announcements and advertisements.
- Add web and mobile communication to respond to widespread Internet use and mobile phone ownership, and expand communication plans to include additional channels. As the internet becomes the new communication standard, utilities will need to adapt to continue meeting customers’ expectations.
- Make mobile-optimized websites and mobile apps a high priority to connect with the growing number of mobile Internet users. For those who access the internet most often from their phones, mobile communication methods are especially important as these customers will be frustrated by websites that are not formatted for mobile phone access.