If the average utility customer spends only eight minutes per year thinking about energy or water, then it is incumbent on the companies that serve them to make those precious minutes as positive as possible. Software as a service (SaaS) solution, Aptumo, can customise customer-billing experiences to see your utility retail services valued – in competitive or regulated settings.

The average Australian’s experience of utilities, in recent years, has been marred by rising bills, fraught politics and slow digitisation. It’s left the retail energy or water offer seemingly out of step with rapidly rising consumer expectations on service and experience.

Australian water company performance has been met with patchy reviews on customer experience, with payment issues representing 25 per cent of complaints in Victoria. For energy, the consumer, via the AEMC, has recently come back with a resoundingly negative verdict; trust in the sector has fallen more than 10 percentage points, from 50 per cent in 2017 to 39 per cent in 2018. It’s a warning to companies that there is more to be done, and for those ready to act, an opportunity to seize.

Billing remains the most fundamental touch point for utility customers: a monthly or quarterly interaction where even the disengaged have the need to interact. It’s the time, and therefore the opportunity, to influence a customer’s experience with the entirety of the complex sectors that supply them with the essential services of energy and water.

Getting billing right — in a way that delivers accuracy, agility and personalisation, to meet both company and customer needs — has the potential to be transformative for a sector that has drawn political ire and customer contempt. If customer needs can be made central to the experience, utilities can begin the process of creating direct relationships with the customers they serve, and rebuild trust.

A UK born SaaS solution already breaking new ground in Victoria

Aptumo, a highly configurable, regulatory compliant and future-proofed billing solution, provides the tech platform for utilities to re-establish positive relationships with their customers, dramatically improving the experience of billing, with services that can be personalised to consumer needs.

Created by specialist UK customer engagement and billing systems provider, Echo Managed Services, the tech trailblazer has architected Aptumo specifically for water and energy utilities.

Software Services Director of Echo Managed Services, Andy Mack, said the Aptumo SaaS solution streamlines the challenge of better billing and customer engagement for any utility ready to face the challenge.

“Aptumo delivers an easy-to-use and intuitive interface that is cloud based, cost effective and easily scalable. It increases the efficiency and effectiveness of utility customer services teams, as well as delivering unrivalled security and scalability,” Mr Mack said.  

With a crisis of confidence besetting utilities across Australia, Mr Mack said Aptumo could be the springboard for utilities to deliver “top tier” customer service — meeting and exceeding the unique expectations of individual customers, and re-building trust.

“No two customers are the same, so there is never going to be a magical, ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution that suits every customer, or every company,” Mr Mack said.

“Aptumo delivers utilities a platform to build closer relationships with customers. And that means delivering new value and rebuilding the trust they need to get ahead of regulatory reform, and in the case of energy retailers in particular, to compete more effectively and retain existing customers, particularly in the crowded and churn-prone tier-two market.”

Built on the Salesforce platform, the global leader in CRM, utility companies can reduce their integration and data synchronisation headaches via a single data model across their customer service operations by choosing Aptumo together with Salesforce. This also enables Aptumo to be easily extended, with an ecosystem of apps through AppExchange, empowering businesses to connect with their customers, partners and employees in entirely new ways.

Alternatively, Aptumo can be deployed as a standalone billing system, or easily integrated with the client’s choice of CRM package.

“Already selected as the solution of choice for an early-adopting water utility in Victoria, Aptumo isn’t simply fresh-thinking, it’s pioneering and is finally opening the door to the art of what’s truly possible,” Mr Mack said. 

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