Using Messaging Apps for Effective Customer Communication in the Energy Industry
Everyone needs energy, but there are numerous energy suppliers on the market in the meantime. Competition between municipal utilities, large energy groups, and start-ups is strong, and online comparison portals add to the challenge. We will show you how to win new customers with professional communication via messaging apps, offer your existing customers a more effective service and set yourself apart from the competition.
In this article you’ll discover:
- Why should you introduce messaging apps for your customer service?
- Four use cases demonstrating how effective messaging app customer service is
- How to implement efficient, secure customer communication via messaging apps
Messaging apps give you the opportunity to reach not just some of your potential customers, but all of them! All age groups use messaging apps. Customer service via messaging apps is innovative, contemporary and fast. Consumers can use it to make targeted contact with companies in order to quickly find a solution to their problem. A recent study showed that 62% of all companies respond within 24 hours.
Cost reduction as a key advantage
A key advantage of messaging for companies in the energy industry is cost reduction. When an energy company sends a postcard or letter to its 30,000 customers asking them to return it with their current meter reading, this can get expensive quickly. Including the costs of the return shipment, the costs for the company amount to at least 12,000 Euros. If the meter reading is asked via messaging app, the majority of these costs can be saved.
What are the possible messaging app service use cases and scenarios for energy companies? Here we’ve gathered four cases to provide you with inspiration and practical tips.
1. Meter reading via messaging apps and hybrid virtual assistant
A use case that some companies already use is meter reading via multimedia messaging: the customers can just send a photo via messaging app. In the past, this was often done by postcard. The energy company sent a postcard or letter to the customer asking for the current meter reading, and the customer filled out the postcard and sent it back. This process can be made much simpler and faster by digitalization through messaging apps and a virtual assistant. After receiving a photo, the bot queries all relevant user data, such as name, customer number, tariff, etc., and then hands the conversation over to a customer agent. The customer agent is responsible for analyzing the photo and for further customer communication. In the future, it will be possible to automatically analyze images using image recognition and artificial intelligence.
2. Sending error messages via WhatsApp
Imagine this: the electricity goes out on a city block and all customers must be informed quickly. Your company can use messaging apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger to quickly and reliably reach all users. Messaging apps are the most likely channel to have access to push notifications and appear directly on the user’s lock screen. Sending notifications via WhatsApp are a way for companies to keep their customers informed at all times.
How does this work? The company can automate notification delivery using the WhatsApp Business API – so you can keep users up-to-date 365 days a year. This requires a contact form on your website. The customer opts in to receive this information, and agrees to receive notifications by ticking the checkbox and entering his or her telephone number.
3. Better customer relationships through 1:1 chat consulting
Good service is important for the relationship between energy companies and customers. Customers appreciate fast, uncomplicated and direct service. Messaging apps are the perfect solution for consulting via 1:1 chat. In contrast, e-mail often takes a long time and phone calls are inflexible and often frustrating. Messaging also saves you costs – especially if you use a hybrid virtual assistant for first-level support.
Tip: Answer frequently asked questions with a virtual customer assistant! 80% of all customer inquiries are repeated, while the remaining 20% can be processed by your customer service colleagues in second-level support. Questions that are frequently asked, such as “How is my monthly fee calculated” or “What is basic service” etc. can be answered automatically by a virtual assistant with a databank of your FAQs. You can set up a simple virtual assistant specialized on FAQ so professionally that it can even hand off conversations to human employees if it doesn’t understand the user. Our Messenger Communication Platform includes a tool to build your own virtual assistant easily.
Real life example: How the energy supply Mittelrhein uses personal consultation in 1:1 chat
The energy supply for the German state Mittelrhein offers its customers comprehensive consultation via messaging. This takes place via 1:1 chat and offers customers help with questions about invoices, cancellations, registrations or changes. The customers are informed about the service times and know exactly when their request will be processed. Requests are answered within 24 hours.
4. Contract changes with the help of a virtual customer assistant
One of the most repeated service cases for energy companies is when customers want to change their contract. If a customer has opted for a different tariff, the decision is usually based on the company’s tariff advice. You can automate this informational process via messaging apps! The five same questions are asked again and again, and can easily be asked by a virtual assistant.
All these examples can only be implemented with the appropriate tool. Our Messenger Communication Platform – which is browser-based, offering immediate access with no software downloads – helps you offer scalable, data-protection-compliant customer service. Here are the crucial points about personal data security:
- MessengerPeople is responsible for the storage of the data (contract data processing, server in Germany)
- Contact widget with link to data protection explanation (widget feature ensures active user consent)
- User should store contact in address book (corresponds to Double Opt-in and WhatsApp Terms and Conditions)
- User has to contact the company first (corresponds to Double Opt-in and the WhatsApp Terms and Conditions)
The Messenger Communication Platform is a multi-agent solution. This means that our solution is intuitive, clear and easy to use within a team. Multiple agents can handle tickets simultaneously, with structured roles and skills. The modern ticket system practically meets customer service requirements by allowing quick and easy manual ticket assignment via drag & drop, or intelligent autorouting, in which tickets are automatically assigned to the agent with the appropriate skill. With the Chatbot Builder feature, you can also create a messaging app bot in a short time and completely without programming knowledge. This greatly increases the efficiency of your customer service, saving both time and costs. You can find out more about the Messenger Communication Platform on our website.
Insider Tip: Sign up for one of our free webinars to get an inside look into our platform and get specialized knowledge on how messaging apps can strengthen the customer relationship and save resources! Our experts guide you through strategy and implementation step-by-step and answer your questions in real-time.
Have a great idea about how to use messaging app customer service, or still have some questions? Message our international energy expert Dijana to set up a time to talk and learn more!