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What customers really want from their utility

Published on 15 Oct 2019

Utility companies know they need to take a more customer-centric approach to bridge the gap between customer expectations and CX. It’s evident there is still a large discrepancy between what customers expect and what utilities are providing. 

So, what do utility customers want?

The first step is to really understand what customers want when it comes to their utility services. 

In this Reading Room, we’ve selected an eBook that looks at where utilities typically stand on a CX maturity scale; and two articles that look at what utility customers really want.    

We end off with a comment from our customer experience expert, Mia Papanicolaou, on why digital communication is a great way to bridge the expectation gap. 

The state of utility customer experience

Greentech Media Research and EnergySavvy published the findings of their survey in this eBook entitled The State of the Utility Customer Experience. The survey assessed the relative level of maturity of utilities across six key customer experience best-practice areas. The resulting score placed each utility on a scale from “Level 1: Opportunistic” to “Level 4: Strategic”. The survey concluded that the majority of utilities were in “Level 2: Emerging” meaning the majority are “starting to design and invest in modern customer experience”.


  • Publisher: Energy Savvy
  • Access: Public (with registration)
  • Download: 12.9MB

What do utility customers really want

With all the talk about improving CX for utility customers, it’s important to really understand the services that customers see as fundamental. This article spells out the most basic requirements under three headline areas: Customer Care, Outage Response and Energy Tracking. 

Achieving the right level of CX in all categories requires the utility to enhance its communication capability to ensure that information is accessible, prompt and consistent. 


Powering up the customer experience in utilities

This article likens the recent focus on CX, to utility executives learning to ‘flex new muscles’. It references the Bain Utilities Customer Experience Survey, 2019 which measured the different aspects of CX and how they differ in terms of their ability to delight or disappoint customers. The authors also look at common causes of failure (too much talk, not enough action) and how utility leaders can become customer-centric through a continuous process to understand, measure, improve, and prioritize CX initiatives. 


A comment from our utilities CX expert:

Although utility companies are focusing on CX more and more, they may still be caught in an expectation gap.

A 2017 Capgemini study showed that this industry had the highest gap between the percentage of companies who believe themselves to be customer-centric and the percentage of customers who believe the same.

Consumer And Company Perception Of Customer Centricity

Fortunately, the same study found that 8 out of 10 customers are willing to pay for better customer service from their utility provider.

A great place to start is digital communication.

Studies have shown that more than half of residential customers prefer digital communication over any other form of communication. 

Customers want to hear from their utility via digital media such as email, texts, mobile apps, social media, and websites. Utilities must launch digital initiatives that address this, in order to close the expectation gap. 

Mia Papanicolaou

COO, The Americas

We can help your utility organization bridge the customer expectation gap with personalized, interactive digital communications

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Mia Papanicolaou

Mia Papanicolaou

Vice President, General Manager at Aspire CCS

Mia heads up Aspire CCS in the US, working with companies to provide strategy and advice and is a regular speaker on digital customer communication, digital maturity and improving the customer experience.

Mia has been named as an email marketing influencer multiple times and is passionate about helping organizations improve their digital communication maturity.

Prior to joining Aspire CCS, she worked at Striata for 15 years in South Africa, the UK and then settled in the US as the COO of the company, after which she headed up consulting at Doxim Striata.

Read more of Mia's blog posts here or connect with her on the following social channels: