Remaining nimble in today’s business environment is one of the key challenges facing every individual organisation and industry. According to Gary Avin of Florida-based utilities company LCEC, recognising the economic hardship facing its customers was a major step forward in steering the company through the current downturn. Avin will be a speaker at the marcus evans Utility Customer Experience, January 13-14, Boston.
Located in an area that has the second highest foreclosure market in the US, yet was the fastest growing city in the country only a few years back, unprecedented challenges have presented themselves, Avin explains. Within a space of around four years, as the crisis gathered momentum, customers have found themselves in a dramatically changed landscape that many are struggling to adapt to.
The importance of reacting to this new reality is underpinned by meaningful engagement with customers to enable both sides to work together, he says.
Avin believes that among the key considerations for a company to remain nimble in today’s business climate is acknowledging and assisting customers that are experiencing economic hardship due to the economy.
“In the utilities industry it is very important to listen to what our customers are saying. Our customers are struggling in paying their current bills and a lot of the shift now is to better prepare our customers to lower future bills. Right now energy conservation programmes, trying to find what appliances in the home are affecting their bills, are the greatest way of educating our customers to lower those bills.
“I believe you have to listen to what customers are saying, their hardships, and give them agencies in the community that can help them pay those bills, because the last thing that we want to do is have our customers be without power. Even though we are not in a regulated industry here in Florida, it’s very important to treat our customers as if they have a choice and they can go elsewhere. Once we have that mentality we provide better customer service to our customers. In the long run you have a more satisfied customer who understands that we are here to help them lower future bills and offer assist agencies in the community if available.”
A progressive step is educating customers about how to manage their bills, Avin explains.
“We have a campaign here to educate all our customers who are calling about a high bill concern or a bill that they were not able to pay. We focus greatly on trying to reduce future bills by those energy conservation, daily usage views. Customers are also looking for free energy advisors and home visits at times. Customers today are now more involved in web transactions, daily usage text messaging, where a threshold for daily usage is set. The ability to provide quick, instant information is how our customer base is really changing.”
The marcus evans Utility Customer Experience, will take place on January 13-14, in Boston.
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