American utilities can automatically enroll customers in proactive alerts, according to a new ruling from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
That's great news for consumers, who overwhelmingly support proactive alerts. More than 60% of homes and businesses say they want utility notifications when they're on track for high bills, for example.
Providing those alerts is tied to higher overall customer satisfaction, greater brand value, and lower call center volume.
When you ask households what kinds of utility services they value, proactive billing alerts - ones that identify unusual bills in advance - are near the top of the list.
To date, lingering ambiguity around Telephone Consumer Protection Act compliance has slowed investment in proactive alerts. A 2015 J.D. Power study found that just 7% of customers receive alerts from their utilities.
The FCC order clarified those concerns and cleared the way for opt-out proactive alert programs. The ruling states that customers who have already provided their wireless or home phone numbers have given their consent to receive automated call updates from their utilities about things like time-sensitive billing information, advice on helping to reduce brownouts, or outage restoration updates.
The result should be a stronger customer relationship. Proactive alerts are a proven way to reduce bill shock, head of high bill calls, and steer customers toward the kind of self-service tools that raise satisfaction and loyalty.