A best-in-class mobile app enriches the utility customer experience
Louisville Gas and Electric Company, Kentucky Utilities Company, and Old Dominion Power Company (LG&E, KU, and ODP), part of the PPL Corporation family of companies, are regulated utilities involved in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in Kentucky and Virginia. Serving over 1.3 million customers, they consistently receive high customer satisfaction ratings and rank among the best companies for customer service in the United States.
LG&E, KU, and ODP contracted with Mindgrub to design and develop an engaging mobile application for their residential and some small business customers, providing them with another secure and easy way to manage their accounts, view and pay their bills, and report and track power outages.
In this fast-paced digital age, customers have come to expect more from their utility providers. They want on-demand access to their data and tend to prefer self-service options to address their billing and outage needs. With more convenient ways to achieve their goals, customers are more likely to have positive experiences, pay their bills on time, and stay connected to their utility company.
Many companies have leveraged mobile applications as part of an omnichannel approach to meeting customers where they are. A well-executed, high-quality app that functions as a seamless extension of a company’s brand helps them deliver superior customer service.
To define the project strategy and ensure that the needs of the LG&E, KU, and ODP teams and their customers were being met, we employed a comprehensive Sprint 0 discovery process and worked in collaborative two-week agile sprints. The information gathered from documentation, stakeholder interviews, technical assessments, API audits, and usability testing helped us create user stories, workflows, wireframes, and designs.
We built the app for iOS and Android platforms and regularly performed quality assurance testing to uncover opportunities to improve the user experience. By understanding the evolving utility customer landscape and utilizing best practices in mobile app design and development, we were able to build an app that helps users easily find the information they need, when they need it.
Building a mobile app solution with convenient self-service functionality leads to positive customer experiences.
In order to create a truly frictionless customer experience for LG&E, KU, and ODP, we identified optimal pathways needed for users to complete specific tasks. Each of the following features are an important part of the customer journey:
Edit and view user account settings and information. Toggle between multiple properties.
View bills, bill summaries, billing history, and in-app payment reminders.
View payment history, manage payment methods, and make or cancel a payment. Enroll in, edit, or cancel payment programs (e.g., Auto Pay, payment arrangements).
Answer a few questions to submit an outage report. Visit the Outage Center to view status information and the outage map.
Follow prompts to restore power after a disruption in service has occurred.
Connect with a support representative via phone or the contact form. Tap on social media links to start a conversation or share your thoughts.
Access general contact information, pay a bill, view the outage map, or report an outage as an unauthenticated user.
To accommodate mobile app users with varying levels of technological literacy, we accounted for numerous use cases, incorporated digital accessibility best practices, and leveraged user feedback. Customers with disabilities can easily enable accessibility controls (e.g., screen readers, font size support, user interface enhancements) to assist them at any point.
Since billing is a common pain point for customers, we customized the bill root screen to be unique to each user. We applied different color treatments and design techniques to show distinct levels of urgency and created expandable sections where users can drill deeper into their billing details. We also included multiple animation points in the app to modernize the design and keep users engaged. Animations appear when the user opens and closes the account picker, successfully submits a payment, and more.
In order to store data models locally and ensure communication between components, we integrated the system with LG&E, KU, and ODP’s backend service. We implemented an MVVM (Model-View-View Model) architecture by utilizing Combine for iOS and data binding for Android. Here are some of the other tools and services we used to develop and deliver a robust mobile app:
Validated that the endpoints connected to SAP returned the appropriate data
- Active Directory Federation Service (ADFS)
Used to authenticate and authorize users
Allowed us to easily port Adobe After Effects animations into code
Performed security-related audits on a regular basis to ensure the security of the app
- Firebase Crashlytics
Used to track specific metrics and crashes in the field—the data from which is evaluated to help make app improvements
Incorporated LG&E, KU, and ODP’s payment options to allow users to pay their bills with a credit card
Provided the power outage communication map and associated data points
We built the app in such a way that gives the LG&E, KU, and ODP API team control over any copy that tends to change frequently (e.g., modals, alerts, terms and conditions). The team has the ability to make changes without having to update the app in the app stores.
“Empowering our customers by giving them innovative tools to help simplify their lives and make it easy for them to do business with us is a top priority. Partnering with companies like Mindgrub has helped us create a foundational app that we can enhance to continue meeting our customer’s future needs.”
Results that Matter
Our collaborative and iterative approach to product design and development resulted in the successful launch of an app now used by thousands of LG&E, KU, and ODP customers, residential and some small businesses. Engaging design elements, a streamlined user journey, and clear calls to action help users quickly locate information and complete tasks. As an ongoing effort to improve app performance and increase customer adoption, we continue to provide LG&E, KU, and ODP with DevOps support and feature development services. The new mobile app has received two Gold Communicator Awards for Best User Experience.
By modernizing their service options to include a top-performing mobile application, LG&E, KU, and ODP have enhanced the customer experience and better positioned themselves as modern, relevant utility providers in the industry.