The utility industry has witnessed widespread changes over the last two decades. New technology is ushering in a new era of electricity, gas, and water delivery. Technological innovation has also encouraged the creation of new customer service outreach methods. With more service providers than ever before, utilities are doubling down on efforts to ensure their customers stay happy. Two of the most important prongs of that strategy are customer satisfaction and customer experience. Similar in name, they have some distinct differences. To help you better grasp the role that each plays in a utility’s approach to customer relations, we wanted to recap the differences between customer satisfaction and customer experience.
What is customer satisfaction?
Customer satisfaction is a metric that has been important to businesses since the beginning. The easiest way to describe customer satisfaction is as a measurement. How happy are customers with a particular brand? There are many ways to gauge customer satisfaction, but the most popular is to ask them directly. The most common methods involve sharing a quick survey with your customers to get their opinions. It’s common for a company to ask a series of questions about customer satisfaction. Inviting the customer to provide a score between 1 and 10.
Sometimes, it might be necessary to get deeper insights into an individual customer’s experience with a company. For example, it’s a great idea to follow up on negative reviews left online. This provides an opportunity to both engage with a disappointed customer and find out what can be done to make things right in the future. Although these qualitative responses can’t be aggregated and tracked in the same way that quantitative responses can, they do offer valuable feedback.
What is customer experience?
The best way to think of customer experience is by picturing a journey and the various milestones that take place. For instance, your customers’ experiences might begin when they first visit your website to establish service. Customer experience analyzes steps throughout the process, from initial outreach through payment, dissecting the value provided in each step.
This process gives the business a chance to remove waste, redundancy, or friction that degrades customer experience. It will also ultimately impact customer satisfaction. As an example, walking through your customer’s experience may uncover that an online payment portal does not work smoothly in certain internet browsers. Armed with that information, the business can then either make the necessary updates to the portal or supply the customer with guidance on which portal to use before any negative feedback hits those surveys.
Why you must prioritize both customer satisfaction and customer experience
It’s easy to want to choose one of these strategies and go all-in. The reality is that you need both, and here’s why: They work in lockstep. Focusing intently on customer experience can help you proactively find and address potential customer satisfaction concerns. Even before they occur. The relationship between customer satisfaction and customer experience isn’t just one way. Feedback received via customer satisfaction surveys can help drive changes that enhance or improve the customer experience.d
Utility Partners of America can help your customer-focused strategy
As a company that has partnered with utilities and energy cooperatives for more than two decades, Utility Partners of America (UPA) has the knowledge and know-how your utility needs to revamp its customer-focused strategy. Contact us today to learn more.