Skip to main content

3 reasons your customer on-boarding isn’t working

Joseph Lang Data quality

We live in a world in which people want and expect information at their fingertips at all times through all channels. In the utility space, it’s no different, and especially important during on-boarding, when you first start a customer relationship. Not having a quick and efficient on-boarding process can mean a poor customer experience and significant increases in operational inefficiencies.

A customer’s first impression of your company happens when they start services. That’s why it’s so important to make the on-boarding process as quick and efficient as possible.

Here are three primary reasons that your customer on-boarding could be problematic (and some simple ways to avoid issues):


  1. Mismatches in service address lookups

Most companies lack intelligence behind how their employees or customers search through their own service addresses. In fact, it is widely reported that more than 30% of “failure to connect” messages are caused by simple address search lookups and human error. It’s often small discrepancies between what is keyed into a search and what the service address records have on file. Using real-time search enhancing tools can help avoid these simple errors.


  1. Alternate billing and mailing addresses

You will have minor or cosmetic issues between a service address and an USPS address, you will have customers that would like their bills sent to an alternate mailing address, and you will have customers that you want to send a final bill to upon voluntary disconnect: all of these scenarios can create issues with mail being delivered. But I’m not suggesting you change all service addresses to USPS standards or perform any type of data migration or batch validation.

Instead, by allowing a check-and-standardization procedure to occur once a service address is located, by incorporating front-end address capture tools, you can fix about 90% of the discrepancies behind the scenes and the remaining 10% can be fixed by interactively prompting a customer agent to fix the mistake at point-of-entry. This practice represents a significant change in the traditional approach of cleaning up address errors on the back-end through batch processes before bill print and mailing.


  1. Bad email capture

Every utility company in the country has placed a priority on customer email. It’s trending to become the principal method of how companies will communicate with customers. But many utilities are overlooking the importance of data quality, capturing invalid emails and contributing to an ever-growing pool of messages that never reach their intended recipients. And, what many people do not realize is that too many invalid email addresses impact the ability of a utility to deliver email to even good quality addresses because of sender reputation rules—one bad apple could really spoil the bunch. By leveraging tools that validate email addresses upon capture, the volume of bad emails can be reduced.

While there are certainly many more items you could add to this list, I believe that these three elements are part of the core competency that every utility must master to have an effective and efficient customer on-boarding process. All of these steps are handled hundreds of times a day, creating a large opportunity for problems to occur.


Want to learn how to solve for these common on-boarding problems? Read my recent white paper to learn:

Getting to a better customer on-boarding experience
  • How to find a service address
  • Industry benchmarks for data quality
  • Methods for improving data quality