The world runs on electricity – whether it’s in work or play. So when there is a power outage, lives grind to a halt. Businesses and home lives are disrupted.
Because of this disruption, power restoration times affect customer satisfaction levels – for better or worse. The key to success in power outage management is understanding how these events impact the customer experience of your utility and then doing everything you can to restore power as quickly as possible.
This article will cover how a power outage impacts your consumers and how you can react. While you cannot prevent power outages, how you react will go a long way towards putting your consumers’ minds at ease and maintaining that customer relationship.
Of course, optimizing your power restoration process begins with the correct data. Storm Impact Analytics allows you to know where extreme weather will hit your area and how hard, allowing you to quickly respond and get the right resources in place.
The Impact of Power Outages on Consumers
Power outages, regardless of their estimated restoration time or severity, can negatively impact your customers. Power affects the way consumers go about their daily lives and how they spend their money, so this is an area where you don’t want to fall short.
For residential consumers, the impact may be minimal. If power is restored quickly, there might be a few hours of inconvenience and frustration for them to get their electronics and appliances back online. However, a power outage that lasts days may put the consumer in a more difficult situation if they have responsibilities or emergencies outside of their home while power is offline.
The impact on vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, disabled, or those with medical needs, also needs to be seriously considered. Electricity runs life-saving equipment and refrigerates medications, so that any power outage can be especially risky for these vulnerable individuals.
Of course, that does not include damage from downed power lines or power surges when power is restored.
For businesses, the power outage may be a much bigger deal in terms of impact on their customers and employees. For instance, if the power goes out at a location where water damage or mold has occurred due to the energy being offline for days or weeks (yes- it happens!). The result may not be just downtime and lost revenue, but the business’s reputation may also suffer.
Significant power outages, like those that struck Texas in February 2021, cost an estimated $80-$130 billion. This accounts for costs like lost business activity to contaminated water supply.
When thinking about businesses, you need to consider how the world now operates on a global level. Power outages in the U.S., Europe, or Asia can significantly impact power grids across the globe due to interconnected networks for power distribution.
This issue will continue to rear its head. According to a Climate Central study, the most recent decade has seen a 67 percent increase in major power outages (affecting 50,000+ customers).
In the event of a power outage that leaves customers without power for days or weeks at a time (or if your business is in an area where power goes off frequently), there will be damage to your company’s reputation. While it may be difficult to measure precisely how this will affect you, today’s consumer has little patience or tolerance for inconveniences.
How can you prove to your customers that you are reliable and provide for their safety and well-being?
Power Restoration and Customer Service
The key to keeping your customers satisfied during a problematic situation lies in two key areas: managing expectations and exceeding expectations. Customers have created a standard that they expect your utility to meet, whether fair or not. A failure to do so results in frustration, disappointment, and resentment.
The core of customer service is good communication, and this holds during a power outage. Communicate – whether through social media or other means – with your consumers regularly with detailed information.
The most crucial information that your consumer needs to know is “when is the power going back on?” When answering that question, you are creating an expectation in your customer’s mind. While you consider it to be an estimate, they are relying on that timeline.
Therefore, make those estimates as carefully and accurately as possible. Those timelines may change depending on damaged areas, so continually update your consumers on your progress.
As well, having a reasonable expectation of when power will be restored will empower your front-line workers. Knowing this essential information will allow them to manage your customer’s expectations.
Optimizing your power restoration process allows you to provide better service than your customers may anticipate.
Using power restoration as an opportunity to show your customers just how valuable you can be is a great way to elevate your brand.
Look at each step in your current power restoration process and see if there are opportunities for improvement. Review your previous restorations and key metrics from those processes.
Optimizing your power restoration process also ensures that you are in the driver’s seat when an outage strikes. Especially when facing severe weather, you need to know what you are going to be confronting. How powerful will the weather become? Where is it likely to hit hardest?
As well, you need to know your own utility’s infrastructure. How old is your infrastructure, and where is it most likely to sustain severe damage? Where are your power lines, and what kind of vegetation surrounds them? What sort of tree-trimming schedule do you have, and is it sufficient?
Then, you need to know when to seek help and where to use it resourcefully. What about mutual assistance? How do you know when it is time to call in more help?
Answer these questions to see opportunities in streamlining your process and getting the power back on as quickly as possible.
Therefore, to provide consistently excellent customer service to your consumers, you need the correct data.
Storm Impact Analytics uses a sophisticated, machine-learning approach to damage and outage predictions. Not only does it provide an accurate, detailed weather forecast for your area, but it also factors in your specific utility’s facilities and equipment.
Remember: with power restoration, you are not only restoring power but also your customer service reputation. Learn how Storm Impact Analytics can help you manage and exceed your consumer’s expectations today.