Why utility providers need the right partner to develop their customer app
In the past, utilities were mostly state owned and customers didn’t have much choice regarding their provider. But the opening of the market to competition has seriously changed the customer-provider dynamic. Customers don’t take long to change operators if the quality of the service or their relationship doesn’t meet expectations.
So what can utility providers do to serve ever-more discerning and price-sensitive consumers? To find out, we spoke to Patrik Larm, Chief Revenue Officer at Bright Energy AB, an innovative Swedish company that specializes in customer apps for utility providers.
You can listen to our full discussion below, recorded live at the e-World Energy & Water event in Essen, Germany.
Providers that don’t engage with customers will lose them
Consumers are better educated about utility options than ever before, and with rising prices, utilities face an uphill battle to keep customer retention high. A key factor here is engagement. Today’s utility customers don’t want to receive their bill once a month or quarter, they want to know about sustainability, how they could reduce their consumption, and be more eco-friendly. And they want that in a manner that is easy to do and interact with.
One way operators can reduce customer attrition is to engage with them through a customer-facing app. According to Mr Larm, “The possibility to communicate, visualize these insights and to provide guidance and recommendations, that’s the essence of the matter.”
When it comes to improving engagement and customer satisfaction, an app can fulfill these needs of communication and provide the information customers need to manage their energy use more effectively.
Utility companies don’t need to do it alone
Customer apps are a great way to improve engagement and satisfaction, but utility providers don’t need to go through the process of developing one alone. “Utility companies are experts in grid management and providing energy and water in time and place” says Patrik. No one expects them to also be experts in mobile app development, and that’s why they should look into finding the right partner for their projects.
Having this strategic long term partner by your side will help you in every step of the building of the application, including:
- Finding what are your customers’ needs and wishes to build a platform that answers real demands.
- Finding the right tools that you and your customers need – such as mobile meter reading so they can scan their own meters through the app
- Building an app that provides great user experience.
- Guaranteeing that your mobile app will be updated over time to always support customers the way they need to be.
In the end, there is no need to reinvent the wheel to build your customer app. From his experience at Bright Energy, Larm told us that apps are “a future-proof solution. (Utility apps) are going to support customers today, tomorrow, but it will also support them in a period of 3 to 5 years.” For utility providers, that’s the insurance that their customer app will be a relient and powerful engagement tool for years to come.
If you want to learn more on this topic, you can watch the full episode of Plugged In, our podcast dedicated to the utility industry.