As necessary service providers, utilities are not exactly known for developing positive customer relationships. Fostering good customer service doesn�t just benefit customers, it benefits utilities.
Rather than exerting your efforts fighting battles to fix problems, you can take proactive steps to make customers happy before problems arise. Would you rather spend your time clearing a garden full of weeds or put the work into a healthy garden before you plant your seeds so that you are only pulling a few weeds here and there?
Here are some advantages utilities get from improved customer relationships:
- Fostering positive customer relationships require less time and manpower than clearing up misunderstandings and miseducation.
- Loyal customers become advocates for your company.
- Happy customers are more likely to be sympathetic to interruptions in service.
- Satisfied customers offer opportunities for growth.
- Open communication makes it easier to disseminate information when necessary.
Find out more about how to accomplish these goals and improve your customer relationships.
Less misunderstandings and misinformation
By making efforts to reach out to customers and establish a good relationship, you are setting the standard for success. If you offer quality information before issues arise, you will clear up misconceptions before they have the opportunity to take root.
For example, if you anticipate interruptions in service during peak hours, you might send an email to current customers that offers tips for reducing consumption during those hours before it becomes a problem. You might see that you have less consumption during those hours and more sympathetic customers when bothersome interruptions do occur.
In addition, your utility won�t have to devote extra time and man hours listening to angry rants.
Loyal utility customers are company advocates
One of the best ways to create new customers and positive public perception is word of mouth. Customers who are happy with your service become sellers, helping to promote your good service. You can foster customer relationships by
- Listening politely to complaints
- Making quick efforts to solve problems
- Offering tools and resources to improve their experience
- Making it easy to contact you
Check out these additional tips for improving your customer service.
Happy customers are more understanding
Happy customers are more likely to understand any interruptions in service or issues arising from maintenance. Rather than waiting until after there are problems, take the proactive approach and notify your customers of impending maintenance. If you expect interruptions for any reason, reach out and explain the problem. Let customers know that you are sorry for any problems and that you will be available for questions. Make your contact information easy to find.
Satisfied customers are the foundation for growing your utility
If you hope to expand your services, offerings, or locations, you will need happy customers. You are not likely to be successful in growing your business on any level if your current customer base is largely dissatisfied. No one wants more products or services from a company they don�t like. However, if a customer feels like you have gone out of your way to provide excellent service, he is more likely to be interested in your new product or service offerings.
Open communication is necessary for educating utility customers
If ever it should become necessary to communicate problems, changes in procedures (such as bill paying or metering), or general notifications, you will need an open line of communication. Taking opportunities to educate via email, web articles, or direct mail shows that you are interested in hearing from your customers. It also lends authority to your educational materials. If you ever need to reach out to your customers for help or understanding (if you need to issue a boil order, for example), you will find happy customers will be more sympathetic and open to hearing what you have to say.