As customer expectations and demands continue to change, utilities need to design and implement journeys that reflect customers’ needs, wants, and preferences. Create these journeys by not only using data but also listening to customers to truly understand their needs.

Wondering where to begin on the customer-journey transformation? We’ve got some ideas.

Is your billing and payment experience up to customers’ expectations?

One of the areas that’s often a focal point for journey transformation is billing and payment. E Source Management Consulting recently worked with a utility client that wanted to improve this experience for their customers. The project covered both the physical and online bill experiences.

While it’s not unusual to gather customer feedback through quantitative data for journey work, E Source goes beyond by listening to customers through qualitative means through one-on-one customer interviews or ethnographic research. For this specific project, we conducted in-depth customer interviews to supplement our quantitative research. We were able to not only identify the key customer pain points for the billing experience but also offer greater insights into customers’ unique experiences.

Another part of our approach is to interview employees who work directly in the journey. We find that understanding employee pain paints for a specific journey helps identify the inefficiencies in the process that supports the journey.

We brought all the customer and employee research into a journey-mapping workshop and helped our client design a future-state journey by identifying the pain points and areas of improvement. The result was a thorough bill assessment that supported an improved and modernized paper bill and a billing experience for the desktop and mobile website that reflected customers’ needs and wants.

How does E Source approach the customer-journey transformation?

Here are four highlights of our transformation approach:

  • Current journey assessment. We gather voice-of-the-employee feedback, talk to internal stakeholders, and collect and analyze all data and metrics associated with that journey.
  • Voice of the customer (VOC). We conduct one-on-one customer interviews, quantitative surveys, and ethnographic research to collect real-life stories and honest thoughts from utility customers.
  • Customer journey mapping. Using our findings, we facilitate current- and future-state journey-mapping workshops to help identify customer pain points and recommendations.
  • Recommendations and prioritization. We put all the above together and work with clients to prioritize the future-state recommendations. Then we develop an implementation roadmap of priorities based on customer impact, cost, and effort.

Is ethnographic research the solution?

It can be challenging to know where to begin to understand how customers feel about their utility experience and what they desire moving forward. That’s where ethnographic research comes in. Ethnographic research focuses on VOC by examining customers’ wants, needs, and opinions in real time. This method of listening to customers has been around for years and has been used successfully across various industries.

We recently concluded a project with Con Edison using ethnographic research to understand customers’ perceptions around electric vehicles (EVs) and EV charging. We designed an ethnographic market research study to elicit New Yorkers’ true opinions via pictures, messages, and self-filmed videos on EVs, EV charging, and curbside chargers. Con Edison used this ethnographic research to guide its messaging strategy for EV and curbside charging.

E Source’s Adam Maxwell recently hosted a webinar with Con Edison’s Brian Ross to talk in detail about Con Edison’s work with E Source. We covered:

  • Con Edison’s curbside charger project
  • Our approach to the ethnographic market research study
  • Key insights regarding customers’ opinions about EVs and EV charging
  • Customer insights that helped shape Con Edison’s EV messaging

Watch on demand

Let’s put our experts to work on your toughest challenges. Contact us to learn more about how we can transform your customer journeys to create exceptional customer experiences.

Contributing Authors

Content marketing specialist, Marketing

Sara Patnaude is responsible for the E Source blog, case studies, and all other marketing collateral. Prior to joining E Source, Sara...