In the modern economy, nearly all businesses need to be mobilized via a high-functioning smartphone app to be successful. For the utilities industry, having an excellent app is especially critical. This article will explain why having a well-designed app is vital for utilities companies and what features go into making an app that your customers love. Specifically, we’ll focus on the power outage status feature as essential for a quality app.
Why Your App is so Important
For today’s consumers, convenience and accessibility are key. A utilities company app must serve the customers’ needs and boost the company’s customer service reputation.
A clean, helpful, and easy-to-use app can make a world of difference for your customers. If a customer needs to call the company, wait on hold for 30 minutes, talk to an automated robot, and then finally talk with a real person, they will become annoyed and irritated. Beyond minor inconvenience, if your client is in a power-outage situation that they need to report and cannot get in touch with you, that is potentially dangerous. However, if a helpful and easy app is available, customers will be far more satisfied and report better experiences with your company.
Outage Status Feature
Perhaps the most crucial feature that your utilities company app can have is an outage status feature. An outage status feature is a tool that allows your customers to report power outages from their smartphones. Your company can then track that data, create a map of the current power outages, and provide reliable updates for what time customers can expect to have their power back on.
It may seem like a simple feature, but the outage status feature’s importance can’t be overstated. Not only will your utilities company get more reliable data on the current power outages, but customers will feel heard and involved in the process. They’ll get more updates and be more satisfied with the service.
Consider that, in a power outage, your customers have probably lost their internet connection. Especially considering the number of people who currently work from home, losing their internet could jeopardize their grades, finances, or jobs. However, cell phone data plans are not WiFi-dependent. With this feature, your clients know that, even during an outage, they can lift their smartphone and report an outage with a click of a button. Thus, this straightforward feature calms their nerves and increases their trust in your company. Not to mention, it will prevent many angry phone calls.
In the United States, customers in many regions, including the upper northwest, lose power for an average of 214 minutes per year. To put that in perspective, customers in Japan lose power for an average of just 4 minutes per year. An outage status feature goes a long way to help this management and improve response time.
The positive impact of creating this type of feature has been empirically confirmed. Otter Tail Power Company wanted to update its app and website to get with modern times. They worked with Onsharp to create this outage status feature and update other parts of their online presence. The project was an enormous success and helped Otter Tail boost their company image and effectiveness.
Other Features to Help Your App
In addition to an outage status feature, there are plenty of other features for utilities companies to use in their app. Some smaller features can be great to help improve the usefulness of the app. For example, a flashlight feature and a home thermostat feature are easy additions that can make your app far more useful.
Having real-time usage reporting is also very helpful. Say, for example, a customer hosted their family for the weekend. They can later check how much higher their energy usage was over the course of their visitors’ stay. That kind of feature makes your company more helpful to consumers.
More features include push notifications for outages and bills to keep your consumers informed and on top of their payments and energy-efficient suggestions and tips on the app.
How to Get Help
A lot of these great features for apps can be challenging to implement without the proper expertise. You should utilize outside resources to help you create the best app and web presence possible.
Here at Onsharp, we have much experience working with companies in the utilities industry, and we can help your business excel in the modern marketplace. We work with you to figure out precisely what you want to have on your app and website. Then, we have the tools and know-how to make it look amazing. We can help you set up things like the outage status feature or other helpful tools like autopay.
Your customers, stakeholders, and partners will all benefit from working with Onsharp to develop a modern and beautiful internet presence.