Utility Customer Using IVR

3 Ways Utility Companies Can Improve the Use of Their Voice Channel

Voice has been the primary channel of communication between a company and its customers ever since the advent of the telephone. Not only can customers truly express their complaints to the company and explain certain issues in detail but can also use the voice channel for payment processing, account inquiries and much more. 

Utility companies are no different when it comes to meeting customers’ increasing standards. They are faced with ongoing scrutiny from government regulators. So whether its billing, interruption of service, making a payment or just a change of address the faster you resolve a customer’s issue, the better the experience.

Here are three ways utility companies can improve their voice channel for customers:

1. Offer Secure Payment Processing 

Despite the convenience of online payments, 62% of utility customers claim to prefer making a payment without logging into a system. Likewise, more than half of general customers claim to make at least one payment per month via the phone. 

Securely processing customer payments over the phone offers increased ROI, and gives customers the convenience, reliability, and flexibility they want. In addition, a cloud IVR payment application can integrate with third party databases to add personalization for improved customer experiences and faster transactions.

2. Make Account Inquiries Easy

Although customers are using more channels besides voice, many of those interactions often still end up in the voice channel. The voice channel still remains an important avenue for customers to access the information they need quickly. 

Utility companies have the opportunity to implement process improvements and technologies that simultaneously enhance customer service by delivering more personalized experiences, and lower costs by offering proactive and self-service solutions. 

Automating frequent or common interactions over the phone enables customers to quickly get to the information they are seeking. A hosted IVR solution for account inquiries can securely tap into the available databases right over the phone for the necessary account information to allow the customer to complete their journey without encountering friction. 

3. Implement Conversational AI

In the utilities industry, several factors are making customer service a strategic priority. Competition with other providers, new technologies, rising customer expectations, the proliferation of mobile communications channels, and the need to support more sophisticated customer interactions are driving the need to deliver a better customer experience. 

Now there is a path to leverage AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) in the automation of conversational dialogue. For example, ask callers “How can I help you?” instead of forcing them to navigate multiple phone menus. 

As already mentioned, customers are still heavily reliant on the voice channel. Improving how customers interact with the voice channel should not fall to the wayside. Conversational AI is the next generation of voice communications and  makes it possible to curb customer frustration and deliver a streamlined customer experience.

Interested in learning more about how IVR software can work for your company? Click here to start your free trial today.