Consumer requirements on utilities are far different than on most other industries because the services offered are considered more and more as a basic commodity. Several studies reveal that what the utility customers wants is simple and transparent services. Utilities are facing a challenge on the current business model. There are different factors that have driven to the actual process of changes, that results in utilities becoming more customer-centric.
One of the main factors is the fact that customers are more informed and have gained more knowledge about the market, so they have become more demanding and utilities are striving to meet customer expectations. Consequently, competitiveness is becoming increasingly intense and is key for the utility companies to focus on the study of customer needs, preferences and feedback. For this purpose, definitely helps the use of tools like surveys, focus groups and in general a better responsiveness towards the customer point of view. Customer perspective has become the object of study of utilities to improve their products.
Traditionally, the utility business model has been focused on supplying the customer with energy and simply requiring them to pay for the energy they use. However, it is now in the best interest of the customer to become more efficient, but at the same time is also in the best interest of the utilities. Utilities are working to find ways to partner with customers on efficiency and make energy efficiency investments while still operating in their best interest.
The reason of this lies in the growing concern for the environment and scarcity of resources, that consequently are generating new regulations and the positive trend of the introduction of renewable resources. All the aforementioned are advances that imply substantial changes in society (even if still the actions are delayed and slow considering the challenge that we have to face to preserve our planet).
Another main factor is the introduction of new technologies. With emerging analytic technology, customer data is now at the hands of the company. Using big data, utility companies can increase customer participation, personalise messages to customers, enable demand response programs, and help consumers diagnose problems quicker.
All the aforementioned advances entail the introduction of innovative products and more alternatives for customers. Nowadays, they are willing to switch providers if they are dissatisfied with the service of their existing providers. So, it has become extremely important for utilities to take into account the customer experience and besides customer satisfaction is a key point that generate customer loyalty in a climate of customer rotation.