It's no secret that customer experience (CX) is a top priority for utility companies. However, with the rapidly evolving technological landscape, there is an urgent need to upgrade CX and provide personalized experiences to customers. As we move towards a more intelligent and connected future of energy and water, technology plays a crucial role in creating an exceptional customer experience. Utilities need to focus on areas such as data-led customer empowerment, the use of AI and machine learning for predictive and proactive customer care, and a rising focus on privacy and security. Upgrading CX can be a daunting task, but with the right direction and efforts, it can lead to a true transformation and improve customer satisfaction.
Here are some of the key technological advancements that are worth bookmarking and welcome deep dives:
- Data-led customer empowerment - Energy and utilities companies can leverage data to empower customers with highly personalized experiences. By analyzing usage patterns, customer feedback, and other meter data, utilities can offer personalized products and services that meet their specific needs. For example, utilities can offer tailored energy-saving tips based on a customer's usage patterns, which can help them save money on their bills while reducing their carbon footprint. Additionally, companies can use data to provide customers with effective nudges and recommendations that help them make smarter energy choices.
- Evolutions in Digital Self-Service - Consumers have become more resourceful and self-reliant, and energy and utilities companies can meet their needs by offering the right self-service solutions. For example, companies can provide online platforms and mobile apps that enable customers to monitor their energy usage, pay bills, and report outages. By offering these platforms, companies can improve the overall customer experience while reducing support costs.
- Proactive and Predictive Customer Care - Customers today want utilities to predict what will happen and actively protect them from difficulties. Energy and utilities companies can use artificial intelligence and machine learning to assist with this. For example, companies can use predictive analytics to identify potential equipment failures before they occur and dispatch maintenance crews to fix the issue proactively. This can help reduce downtime and improve customer satisfaction.
- The Growth of Total Experience - Energy and utilities companies need to focus on "Total Experience" (TX), which means considering every part of the experience journey holistically. Business leaders need to consider how various factors such as business, user, and employee experience affect the end result for the customer. For example, companies can focus on improving the overall user experience of their websites and mobile apps, as well as enhancing the employee experience of their support staff. By doing so, they can create a more seamless and satisfying experience for their customers.
- Rising Focus on Privacy and Security - Energy and utilities companies can earn the trust and respect of their customers by demonstrating what they're doing to keep their data as secure as possible. This can include implementing robust security measures, such as two-factor authentication and encryption, as well as providing transparency about how customer data is being used. By doing so, companies can build stronger relationships with their customers and increase brand loyalty.
As customers become more accustomed to digital self-service, they are less likely to use traditional customer services channels, such as phone calls and in-person support. But it all boils down to the fact that if the self-service platform is not easy to use, or is not connected then your customers won't use it.
Customer experience is a well-recognized pivot point that organizations increasingly rely on as a competitive differentiator and enabler of growth. Not at all surprisingly, the experience customers have as they transact and interact with a business has become increasingly dependent on following digital touchpoints.
- Social Media Customer Care - Offering support through social channels, like Facebook and Twitter – enables utilities to meet customers where they are and quickly answer questions.
- Omnichannel - Giving customers a choice of interaction channels and making customer journeys seamless by capturing, analyzing, and sharing real‐time data across the journey.
- AI-Powered Chatbots - Leveraging Al and NLP to get people fast, convenient answers to frequently asked questions and handle more complex processes. Instead of waiting for customers to ask their questions, use self-service to respond to and address customer issues proactively.
- Augmented Customer Experience - Combination of AI and Extended Reality - XR offers next-level customer success and service experiences. Customers can now perform a complex onboarding process with an employee from a B2B team by putting on a VR headset and walking through the installation process for their new tools with a virtual assistant.
While digital self-service has improved convenience and efficiency, it has also required increased reliance on technology and data management. As the industry continues to evolve, it will be necessary for utilities to balance the benefits of digital self-service with the need for cybersecurity and robust customer service channels.
How SEW Can Help?
At SEW, we operate with a connected customer-workforce experience model – SCM, SMW & SIQ, Powered By AI/ML/IoT. Our #1 digital CX solution, Smart Customer Mobile, is available for providers worldwide and harnesses the power of digital to better address customer needs and build future-ready businesses. It is a single integrated digital platform, accessible through an online portal and native mobile apps, providing 24/7 digital connectivity for personalized and proactive communication, intelligent and powerful customer insights with predictive analytics, and 360-degree visibility of customer interactions throughout the customer journey. Know more about the platform here: https://sew.ai/product/smart-customer-mobile