Outages should be considered a key moment of truth (KMOT) for your customers. First, let me define KMOT. When it comes to serving customers, there are interactions that, depending on how well-planned and well-executed they are, can enhance brand loyalty or detract from it. These are called “key moments of truth,” and they can make or break a company’s relationship with its customers.
I believe that how you communicate about outages is one of those KMOTs. Having an integrated and proactive approach to outage communications and management will improve the customer experience and help build trust (and trust is the first step toward customer loyalty).
In our 2012 E Source Utility Brand Strength Study, customers rated nine utility attributes, including communication effectiveness and reliability. On a 100-point scale, the overall average ratings for communication effectiveness and reliability were 61 and 80, respectively. Our research revealed that, in an era of rapidly proliferating communications technologies and channels, preferences for channels are likewise evolving, and utilities may need to do more to keep up with these changes.
Ensuring that your customers are advised of outages that affect them and communicating expected time of restoration are basic pieces of information that customers expect their utilities to provide. But is it that easy?
I strongly recommend developing a multichannel communication plan for outages. Your customers expect you to proactively communicate about outages through the channels of their choice. To find out what those channels are, you can include outage communication preferences in your preference center. Then, when you need to communicate with your customers about an unforunate event like an outage, you know where to find them.
I’d love to hear how your utility communicates outages and restoration time to your customers. Leave me a comment!