Tag Archives: bill pay

Don’t Shun Non-Technical Users – Teach Them

Working in tech support for a large electric company, I see customers with a wide variety of technical website issues – some issues are user error while other issues stem from a “blip” in a back-end process. Conservatively speaking, I’ve fielded between 2,000 and 2,500 technical website issues and, more often than not, it’s some combination of customer and company issue.

While my company trains our customer service representatives on how to use the website, who can do the same for customers in an attempt to reduce user error? If utilities are serious about catering to all customers, they should take the initiative and offer FREE, online, website navigation workshops for all customers who want to participate.

The obvious question you’re asking yourselves is: ‘what responsibility does a utility (or any company) have to educate its customers on how to use its website?’ Stakeholders would argue the company’s responsibility is to make money. If customers can’t use Company A’s website to pay their bill or view their daily usage, for example, assume that they’ll look for another company, Company B’s website, that does. I’m no economist but that can’t be good for Company A’s bottom line.

Or maybe a majority of customers don’t feel like they need to know the website or don’t believe a free workshop would help them anyway. Maybe they feel like it’s easier to simply call Customer Care who will submit a web form to Tech Support who will call them back in less than three business days.

But if there’s data supporting the fact that enough customers are struggling to figure out the exact same website functionalities, and said company has the resources and the means to educate them, it would be foolish for the company to dismiss those customers as “lost causes.”

Great, I’ve identified that there are customers who could have self-served on the website, but didn’t. Now what? If I was running the show, I would want my Tech Support person to sit down with my Training person and my Customer Service Supervisor and hash out a few things:

  1. What is the most frequent complaint that the Care Center hears (“I can’t pay my bill online”) AND;
  2. Does that align with the most common technical support issue (“I click ‘Submit’ on the Pay My Bill page and nothing happens”) AND, if so;
  3. How do I give the customer the knowledge and tools to work through the issue themselves, via an online workshop?

If it’s check and check, I would move forward with a pilot workshop to address the third item.

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