How mobile apps are driving utility customer experience

October 31, 2023
According to a recent report published by market intelligence company, Guidehouse Insights, utility companies are expected to invest nearly $700 million in customer experience technologies by 2029.

In recent years, the European energy market has embraced digitalization at a rapid pace, accelerated by the pandemic, and more recently, the energy crisis. Many utility companies are developing new customer-centric business models to stay ahead of the competition and stand out in the marketplace.

Customer-facing mobile apps are leading the way in the industry’s digital shift as consumers now expect pricing transparency, personalisation, and increased flexibility over their supply.

For energy companies to futureproof their businesses, they need to ensure a satisfied customer base built on exceptional customer experience that sees consumers as partners, not just bill payers.

Improving consumer engagement through personalisation

In order to retain customers, utility companies need to ensure that consumers are engaged with their brand. In today’s digital-driven world, consumers expect personalisation. They want to be able to access their usage data in real-time. And they expect to be able to speak with a customer service agent via instant messaging within a few minutes. By providing these functionalities via a mobile app, consumers are more likely to feel valued and remain loyal.

Other use cases for mobile apps include providing consumers with usage alert notifications, billing information, and energy market updates. Apps can also be used to provide consumers with tailored energy saving advice based on their consumption habits.

For example, Finnish energy company, Fortum created an app called Oma Fortum, where consumers can keep track of their electricity consumption in kilowatt-hours, and in Euros. Alerts can be set when consumption reaches a certain level, enabling consumers to make better usage and budgeting decisions.

Easing the strain on customer service centres

Amidst rising energy prices, utility companies are experiencing a higher number of calls to their service centres. E.ON’s German branch in particular, has reported an increase in calls from consumers enquiring about sudden jumps in their bills, and asking what they can do to finance them.

With just a few clicks, an app provides consumers with access to their billing information and details of how they’ve been calculated.  

By empowering customers to answer their own enquiries, utility companies can focus on delivering more value when consumers do need to speak to an agent in person.

Providing billing transparency

Easily accessible, understandable bills gain consumer trust. As do reliable invoices that enable people to budget accordingly.  

Since the European Commission introduced price caps in early 2023, utility companies are now faced with the challenge of explaining eligibility criteria to consumers, as well as providing detailed breakdowns of how their bills are calculated. For example, price cap calculations in Germany are particularly complex, with trigger points varying depending on the previous year’s consumption.

Mobile apps provide energy companies with the opportunity to explain complex pricing structures, as well as technical terms like ‘standing charge’, and ‘kilowatt-hour’. By helping consumers understand how their bills have been impacted by price increases, they’re able to balance their budgets more effectively and make more informed decisions about their energy use.

In today’s volatile energy market, pricing regulations are ever-changing and fuel suppliers need a flexible platform that enables them to adjust their pricing systems immediately. At triPica, our platform enables dynamic pricing and dynamic invoicing, so fuel suppliers can implement changes to billing systems seamlessly.

Engaging energy prosumers as partners

An energy prosumer is someone who both produces and consumes energy. For example, a homeowner with solar panels on their roof would be classified as a prosumer. According a recent report from the German Solar Industry Association, more than 100,000 new prosumers entered the energy market between February 2019 and January 2020.  

As renewable technology continues to become more accessible, prosumer initiatives like The Hyperion Solar Community in Athens are expected to further increase over the coming years. Although the rise of prosumers and distributed energy resources (DERs) could weaken the traditional consumer-supplier relationship, forward-thinking suppliers can use their technology and expertise to position themselves as valuable partners.  

Investing in mobile apps provides suppliers with the opportunity to directly engage with prosumers and help them to navigate their decarbonisation journeys. In providing communities with consumption data, cost-saving calculators, and useful advice, suppliers can become part of prosumers’ decision-making processes.

Encouraging energy use during off-peak hours  

Energy cost-savings are high on the agenda of households and businesses alike. Utility companies that are proactive in helping consumers lower their energy costs are more likely to inspire loyalty.

Mobile apps can encourage consumers to use energy during off-peak hours. For example, Ecowatt, is a non-profit scheme set up by the French electricity network RTE and the Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe). 

Through a mobile application, consumers have access to real-time consumption data. The app aims to encourage people to limit their consumption to times of the day when there is less stress on the network.  

Similarly, Finnish energy company Helen Oy has a mobile app that enables consumers to monitor the Nord Pool spot price in Finland by the hour. It enables users to schedule their electricity use to take advantage of the cheapest hours. Consumers can also set up alerts to be notified of the highest and lowest rates for the following day.

How triPica can help utility companies improve their customer experience

Europe’s energy crisis has raised the profile of the market. As such, energy companies have an opportunity to put consumers at the centre of their attraction and retention strategies.

At triPica, our cloud-native ERP platform enables utility companies to capitalise on market opportunities by offering consumers a fully digital experience in real-time via a mobile application. With our technology, energy companies can use data to direct their customer experience strategies, while increasing agility, and reducing costs.

Migrating consumer data to the triPica platform from any legacy system is quick and easy. Multiple systems can be integrated into our real-time platform, allowing utility companies to engage with consumers more easily using the most relevant data.  

Our dynamic pricing and invoicing features enable companies to quickly address regulatory changes like price caps. Our central catalogue provides the flexibility to update prices from one central point.

What’s more, by optimising consumer-agent interactions, fuel suppliers can ease the strain on their service centres.

Find out more about how triPica can help your company be more customer-centric with our ERP platform technology.