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Why Propane Customers Need an App
Investing in your company’s software and a current mobile app can save time and money for your operation. Having a mobile app that is updated regularly and easy to use will improve your company’s overall value as well.
Among the advantages of introducing an app: Meeting customers where they already are – their phones.
2017 LP Gas Rising Leader Emily Willis says that’s what Blossman Gas in Asheville, North Carolina, focused on when launching its company app in January 2019.
“What features did we think the customer really needed? We wanted them to be able to order gas and pay their bill,” says Willis, vice president of marketing and public relations for Blossman and part of the fourth generation to work at the company.
Blossman partnered with MyFuelPortal to design an app that would integrate with the company’s back-office software. Since the app integrates directly with Blossman’s software, billing information changes are automatically updated on customer accounts and fuel requests are sent directly to the dispatch team.
Design and Implementation
While designing the app, Willis and the Blossman team outlined goals for the app, discussed ways it would function and looked at what would benefit customers the most.
The project implementation included a lot of back and forth with testing and analyzing, says Willis.
Keeping customer information safe was a big consideration when implementing the new app four years ago.
“We went with MyFuelPortal because they have robust security. And we have an internal IT department making sure everything is secure,” Willis says.
After the initial launch, feedback was positive from customers who had been waiting for an easy way to pay their bills digitally since so many of their other bills could be settled online.
Through the app, customers can add credit card information and save the payment method to the account or set up automatic billing.
“During the pandemic, we saw a large increase in subscribers due to the fact that some of the people who would pay their bill in person couldn’t do that any longer,” Willis says.
Through marketing efforts and new customer implementation, about 40 percent of Blossman Gas’ customer base uses the app, Willis says.
One of Blossman’s overall goals was to cut down on paper use by getting more customers to sign up for paperless billing. Willis says implementing the app has been helpful with that initiative.
“Almost everyone using the portal has signed up for paperless billing, so that has been very nice,” she says.
Willis says two major features are planned for the app going forward:
1. New customer forms. The form would collect all the necessary information needed to create a new account.
2. Chat function. Customers will be able to message the customer care team directly within the app.
“We want to keep being creative and keep improving the functionality and make things easier for our customers to interact with us,” she says.