Common public utilities include electricity, water, energy, natural gas, garbage, and sewer services. They are basic and essential for proper functioning of a nation’s economy.
As a part of a utility company, your aim is to make your processes efficient and customer-friendly.
But you are currently facing some challenges.
Firstly, you want the workers working on-site to be well trained. Hence, you are looking for methods for on-the-spot training to avoid mishaps.
Secondly, you always want more-and-more people to download your app. But as you use print media marketing, not many people take the effort to type the link mentioned.
Lastly, you want to make your customer experience better. Hence, you are looking for modern and tech-savvy ways to achieve this.
Hence, the public utility department is no exception to the trend. From functional use cases such as payments to promotional use cases such as advertising—QR Codes are rocking all the way. They are saving customers time by making bill payment quicker and ae making them better informed.
In this article, we will show you diverse use cases of QR Codes in utilities. Scroll down to know more.
1. To help make bill payments
QR Code-based payments are a usual sight now. In 2017, about 1.7 Billion coupons were obtained via QR Codes.
The reason behind this high figure is that QR Code based-transactions are quick, secure, and reliable.
Hence, it is no surprise that utility companies are using QR Codes to facilitate bill payments. Big names in the public utility sector are now adding QR Codes to their bills.
Tata Power, India’s leading integrated power company, uses QR Codes on its bills.
In a statement, Tata Power said:
“Tata Power has become the first power utility to introduce QR Code service for bill payments in Mumbai.”
When customers scan the QR Code, their bill details get auto captured. They can then make the payment by a UPI linked bank app without any hassle.
This way consumers can conveniently pay the bill in their home/office or on-the-go.
Similarly, New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), India has launched a ‘smart bill pay’ initiative. This entails digital payment of water and electricity bills with the help of QR Codes.
Going forward, the department has developed smiley fridge magnets. The department then distributes them to its electricity and water consumers.
“These innovative magnets will be personalised, and each consumer will have a unique QR Code mapped to their consumer account (CA) number. There will be separate magnets for both electricity and water bills.The consumers can stick these magnets on their refrigerator and scan the QR Code to make payments”
—Naresh Kumar, Chairman, NDMC
He further added:
“The initiative aims to provide convenience to consumers, who can pay by simply scanning the QR code with their smartphones”
Hence, consumers do not need to visit customer care centres or any other payment avenue. They can simply pay the bill from anywhere.
2. To enhance customer experience
Every customer wants to make the most of the money they are spending. And how QR Codes ensure this practice.
Energy suppliers in the United Kingdom have added a QR Code on customer energy bills. This QR Code helps them to monitor their energy consumption. And to even help them switch the supplier.
“We are determined to make energy markets work better for consumers. We are acting to make sure people have a quick, straightforward way to compare the best deals.”
—Edward Davey, Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change
Upon scanning the QR Code via their smartphone, customers can monitor their expenditure on gas and electricity. Plus, they can also get the data on comparison results across different suppliers.
This way customers can get data on the prevailing tariffs from the whole market. And then make an optimal choice.
So, this is how QR Codes in utilities are enhancing customer experience.
3. To give detailed information
For the uninitiated, QR Codes can link unlimited information. This includes both text-based and multimedia content.
Hence, this is one of the reasons why one can so commonly spot a QR Code on product packaging. Upon scanning, customers can get detailed information about the product they bought.
In a similar fashion, the public utility sector can use QR Codes. For example, At the Seoul Innovation Park, South Korea,solar panels and wind turbines generate energy. The park uses QR Codes, which are put up on the elevation.
Upon scanning via their smartphone, the visitors can learn about renewable energy for sustainable development.
4. To engage customers better
In areas such as travel, tourism, and event management, QR Codes are very popular in engaging people. This is because QR Codes can link any type of multimedia content such as audio files, video clips, images, and illustrations.
And now the public utility sector is using QR Codes to engage customers.
For example, a wastewater treatment plant in Boston, USA uses QR Code-Wastewater technology. It facilitates a Content Management System (CMS) with the help of QR Codes.
The QR Code encodes the link of various digital pages with content in various formats such as audio, video, graphics, key figures or quizzes. The system also has free pages for specific contents on operating technology, safety, and malfunction.
Every authorised person, i. e. every customer of the QR-Code Wastewater technology, can access the pages, which have been activated for him or via links.
Upon scanning, the customer can access the appropriate page. Hence, typing in links on a mobile browser, which is a tedious task, is no longer necessary.
This way, customers can retrieve important information easily.
Hence, this is how QR Codes in utilities are used in USA.
5. To provide on-the-spot training
You can link QR Codes to training videos on operation sites such as a power station. And place these QR Codes on different spots at the workstation. This will ensure worker safety and eliminate the risk of mishaps/accidents.
See how Ontario uses QR Codes.
Cambrian College, Ontario, uses QR Codes, which link to training videos on electrical equipment and help guide workers. The QR Codes are placed on the pieces of equipment in the lab.
Upon scanning, workers can gain necessary information such as how a piece of equipment needs to be calibrated. This way, unwanted mishaps have been reduced to much extent.
“With QR Codes, workers were able to get the information instantly without the fear of being judged by peers or calling attention to themselves. The technology helped in reducing information gaps at work by keeping them fully informed”.
—Serge Levesque, Electrical engineering professor
This way, QR Codes are ensuring a safer work environment.
6. To help customers contact you easily
Public utility services generally give their contact details on the bills or promotional material such as flyers or brochures. But here, customers need to make the effort of manually typing the contact details in their phonebook.
By creating a VCard QR Code, you can help customers save your contact details automatically. Upon scanning, customers will be prompted to ‘save as contact’.
For example, Sootless Energy, a solar power energy installer in Tamil Nadu, India, uses QR Codes for this purpose.
Thus, with QR Codes, you can help customers to contact you effortlessly.
7. To increase downloads of your mobile application
QR Codes in utilities can also increase app downloads. See how.
You probably have a mobile application. This can be to facilitate bill payment, give special offers, or for some other purposes.
And say you use print media to promote your app. You usually give the app link on print media creatives such as flyers, posters, or brochures. But not many people actually type the link in their mobile browser and then visit your app. Hence, this results in low number of downloads.
But with QR Codes, you can actually make it easier for customers to download your app. You simply need to link the QR Code with your app. And then print it on your promotional material.
When customers scan, they can access the app link for installation. And since the process becomes hassle free, your app downloads will see a spike.
Uswitch, a UK- based public utility price comparison app, uses QR Code to promote it’s app. The QR Code image is on the electricity bills which consumers receive. Upon scanning, consumers can download the app to see the comparison data.
Hence, these were some of the use cases of QR Codes in the public utility sector. But before you actually go on to create QR Codes, keep some best practices in mind.
Firstly, if you add a QR Code to print media creatives, add design to it. This will attract 50-200% more scans as compared to plain black-and-white QR Codes.
Secondly, ensure that the QR Code image is of high resolution. For this, export in vector formats such as EPS and SVG.
And finally, do not forget to add a CTA element. A simple help note such as ‘scan to download app’ will do.
So, you just read multiple purposes of QR Codes in utilities. QR Codes make the customer experience and the industry processes better.