A utility’s mobile app should help customers complete tasks, find important information, and get support. According to data from the 2019 E Source Residential Utility Customer Survey, detailed in figure 1, the top five things customers want from their utility’s website or mobile app are:
- A summary of their account information, including account balance
- An ability to report or check the status of a power outage or gas leak
- Records of payment history, including current and past bills
- Payment options such as one-time payment or automatic/reoccurring payments
- The option to start, stop, or transfer service when moving
Why do utilities need mobile apps?
We live in a digital world with an abundance of information and resources available at our fingertips. According to the Pew Research Center’s Mobile Fact Sheet, roughly one in five American adults are smartphone-only internet users, meaning they own a smartphone and prefer using it over a traditional method such as a desktop computer or laptop to access the internet. After all, there’s an app for nearly everything these days!
Laura Gousha, vice president of engagement at Mindgrub, the technology consulting firm that created Exelon Corp.’s award-winning suite of mobile apps, authored Why Every Utility Needs a Mobile Application. According to Gousha, mobile apps are the most effective channel for driving satisfaction among utility customers because they:
- Improve the customer experience by allowing for a more-personalized experience
- Boost awareness of self-service offerings
- Make transactions easy by using mobile-pay abilities and making billing information readily available
- Reduce contact center costs by offering on-demand communication and the ability to report or check the status of outages or emergencies
Developing a responsive website is a great step toward setting up a mobile presence, but it isn’t enough. Utility mobile apps outperform utility websites in overall customer satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power press release Utilities Struggle to Find Right Digital Self-Service Formula, J.D. Power Finds.
What does a successful app look like?
We provide a list of the best-reviewed utility apps in our report 2019 utility mobile apps: Industry scan, available to members of the E-Channel Service. In it, we ranked 122 utility apps by average customer reviews found in the Apple App Store (for iOS devices) and Google Play (for Android devices). Con Edison’s mobile app received the best average reviews in both stores (figure 2). Customers often mention the ease and speed of the bill-pay experience in reviews.