First-Class Customer Service: What the Energy Industry Can Learn From E-Commerce
Do you offer your customers exactly the service they expect? Two thirds of energy providers would answer this question with a resounding “Yes”. However, consumers have a different view of the customer centricity of their energy providers: only one third say that the customer service meets their expectations.
What does the result of this study mean for today’s energy providers? There are big differences between the customer service that energy providers deliver and the demands that their customers make on the quality of service.
In order to find out where energy companies can still improve in terms of customer service, this blog post looks at the customer centricity champions when it comes to providing services. So, what can energy providers learn from e-commerce companies?
What you will learn in this blog post:
- Why expectations have increased and what this development means for energy providers
- What you can learn from the customer experience strategies of leading online retailers
- What energy providers can actually do to better anticipate and exceed the expectations of their customers
Whether Online Shopping or Energy Supply: It All Depends on the Quality of Service
Customer expectations have heightened across all sectors. This development is largely due to the opportunities afforded by digitalization: while a digital focus in customer service enables a higher quality of service, it also means customers expect increasingly better service.
Maximum customer centricity and an excellent service experience is what your customers are accustomed to from service winners like Ebay, Zalando or Ikea’s online shop. They are now demanding a similar service from companies in other areas of life, e.g. their energy providers.
What does this mean for energy providers?
Your customers are demanding and well informed thanks to online platforms. Low prices and green energy offers are no longer enough to attract new customers and keep those who want to switch.
Outstanding customer service has become a unique selling point in the energy market. In order to be able to hold their own in an increasingly competitive environment, energy providers must stand out from the crowd with a high level of service.
So, what can companies in the energy industry do to meet growing customer expectations despite competitive pressure? Don’t presume upon the loyalty of your customers, as changing providers is now quick and easy thanks to comparison portals such as CHECK24. Instead, invest in intelligent, automated solutions to generate greater added value in customer service and to boost customer loyalty to your brand.
What E-Commerce Service Winners Are Doing Right
There is a need to catch up in the contact centers of energy providers. Let’s take a look at customer service in e-commerce: What have e-commerce businesses recognized that will ensure sustainable customer satisfaction?
1. High service quality is only possible with innovative technology
Recent studies have revealed that classic services, otherwise known as commodity services, are becoming less important. Instead, service is number one on the priority list when it comes to providing an excellent customer journey. The e-commerce industry has understood that service quality and innovation are interrelated and that they can only deliver the highest levels of service when humans and technology work together.
2. Service can be effortless, seamless and fast
Digital, dynamic processes in customer service make it easy to get in contact and receive rapid answers. Online merchants know that today’s customers are no longer willing to wait a long time for answers. For this reason, they are making every effort to reduce response times in customer service. They are also seeking to make it as convenient as possible for their customers to contact them by guaranteeing availability and offering various communication channels. In addition to telephone and email, customers also want to use instant messaging and chat.
3. Customers want more personalization
The secret behind optimal customer loyalty is knowing the needs and preferences of your customers and offering the most individualized service possible. In other words, offers tailored to your customers’ needs rather than a one-size-fits-all package. In addition, addressing your customers by name when communicating with them and informing the agent about the customer’s history will go a long way.
What Energy Providers Can Do Now to Provide a Higher-Quality Service
E-commerce providers know how to delight their customers with excellent service. But how can energy providers follow this positive example? Implement the following key elements to ensure excellent service in your business using artificial intelligence:
Imagine you have a customer who wants to receive an immediate response to their question, but they contact you outside business hours. Solution: use chatbots on your website to answer simple questions instantaneously and at any time. Email bots and voice bots can also help you to remain available even when no service staff are free.
Personalization through data analysis
Customer communication with a personal touch and offers that are perfectly tailored to the requirements of your customer is only possible if you know how to use available customer data correctly. Your AI in customer service supports you in evaluating large amounts of data and provides you with helpful insights into the needs of your customers. This way, you make existing information accessible, enabling you to provide high-quality advice.
Communication on all channels
Your customers are demanding a wider range of communication channels to contact you. Expand your contact options and offer your customers the channel they prefer.
You should without doubt adopt an omnichannel strategy at this point. This involves linking all channels such as email, phone and chat within a system so that every agent knows about previous communication, even if conversations have already taken place via other channels.
Significantly reduced waiting times
Intelligent automation also helps you to keep your customers’ waiting time to a minimum. On the one hand, the aforementioned expansion of your communication channels and the use of bots ensures that your customers can solve simple inquiries independently. On the other hand, your AI makes it easier for agents to do their job by classifying the subject of a customer inquiry and forwarding it to the appropriate agent or even suggesting possible answers.
High customer expectations pose great challenges for many energy providers. At the same time, however, we are beginning to see some significant opportunities open up. Artificial intelligence is the technology of the future which you can use to meet your customers’ wishes in the long run. Revolutionize your customer service and secure a strong position in the energy market now.
parlamind is a Berlin-based start-up for Artificial Intelligence in Customer Service. The parlamind AI understands incoming messages from customers on a semantic level and thus determining intents, specific content and the mood of the customer in the message. Equipped with these skills, the AI engages in customer dialogue independently and quickly carries out the associated processes. Latest research results from the fields of computational linguistics and machine learning form the basis for the continuous further development of parlamind AI technology. parlamind has been part of the 4TechnologyGroup since July 2018. The 4TechnologyGroup is an association of technology companies from the communications and AI sector. Today companies worldwide in the industries of e-commerce, information and communication technology, energy management, logistics and financial services use parlamind’s AI solutions. More than 20 employees work continuously on the further development and marketing of this unique technology “Made in Germany”.
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