Are Utility Companies Falling Short When It Comes to Web Usability?

Utility companies don’t seem to have progressed as much as other businesses, yet customers are mostly satisfied with the service they receive online. The problem arises in that some tasks are easier to handle online than others. Because it’s more affordable for companies to handle consumer issues online, utility companies should work to insure that needed services and information are offered online.

Customer Satisfaction

As stated above, customers are mostly satisfied with the services offered by utility companies. Customers report being able to easily make payments for utilities online and view account information. Out of a scale of 500, customers accessing the desktop version of utility websites had a satisfaction rate of 416. There’s only one problem. More and more people are accessing the internet through mobile devices and the satisfaction rate was lower for utility company mobile websites.

Where Companies Could Improve

General areas companies need to improve in are creating an account, logging in, providing information on gas leaks, and the ability to update their services online. Mobile customers are further discouraged by the fact that the information available on mobile websites if there even is one, is limited. Companies need to focus on this information, especially electric and telephone companies. When the power goes out, customers don’t have access to their home internet service and will use their mobile phone to research outage information. If the company doesn’t have information available for mobile users, the customer will call the company, which is much more expensive for the business.

Why Sites Are Limited

Many utility companies are running websites that haven’t been updated in 10 years. This means that mobile access is almost impossible on some devices. Many sites may not have invested in a mobile website at all. The lack of funding is usually the cause. That’s why many companies focus on the bare minimum of what customers expect to see, which usually means being able to check the account and pay bills. This is actually a common problem with a lot of websites. Many new developers opt for simpler templates, or use Magento free templates, to make the transition nicer and smoother – but others are using very old sites that aren’t working well.

Utility companies need to realize that investing in website updates could save them money in the long run. Customers prefer being able to handle their account needs online. With the boom of mobile devices, many customers want mobile websites that are easier to navigate on their smartphone or tablet. A good mobile website will not only include access to the account and the ability to make payments but should also include important information on outages. In other words, companies need to make it easier for customers to find all the information they need by updating current websites and creating mobile websites.

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