The Perfect Balance of Making Utilities Mobile

September 3, 2015

There are some things in life that are boring and compulsory. Utilities fall into category.  Using Utilities mobile sites should be simple, quick and efficient for everyday use, but it also needs to be functional, operational and advantageous over using the desktop site for more complex tasks.  Nearly one third of consumers expect increased functionality on mobile channels, leaving opportunity for utility providers to use mobile as a value driver.

A great user experience on mobile consists of knowing the customer and offering them what they want. According to Schneider Electric, consumers are dissatisfied with mobile Utilities sites because key features are often missing, load times are long, the experience is impersonal and not user friendly, the content does not display properly on a device, and the site is difficult to navigate. Over half of customers prefer to use mobile as their main channel of communication, but many utility providers are not offering an adequate user experience.

When users become increasingly frustrated with the inability to perform desktop activities on mobile, they start to look for other channels of communication.  What does that mean for utility companies?  Most significantly it means higher costs. If a user drops off mobile and opts to speak to a live person, it will cost the Utility company an average of $4 per customer.  Aside from high call center costs, companies that offer electronic billing typically reduce their associated print and postage costs by 60 to 90 percent. An effective mobile site could save the average utility an estimated $1-3 million or more annually

Some utilities are getting mobile right.  In the US, PSEG uses mobile as the hub for all activities that users might need to do.  Whether it be to pay a bill, or report an outage, PSEG offers clear call-to-actions to complete these tasks. They’ve even taken it a step further by offering a storm center to stay in contact during inclement weather.  Through the storm center, a user can access information and post storm updates. 

In the UK, Severn Trent Water offers a mobile site that is very functional and easy to navigate.  Directly from the homepage the user can clearly see all available options on mobile.  With clean design and concise organization, users will encounter a very streamlined process. 

Utility companies know they have to act in order to reduce customer dissatisfaction. As user expectations become more sophisticated, they are faced with the opportunity to make their customers’ mobile experiences better – not an easy task, but one that can be achieved with proper strategy and preparation. 

To learn more, click here to view our recently published infographic: Utilities Fall Short on Mobile.

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