Embracing Digital Disruption in the Cloud to Improve Customer Service in the Utilities Sector

The digital transformation and cloud revolution presents an opportunity for utilities providers to enhance their customer service, boost operational efficiency and improve workforce management.

There has been a fundamental shift in how customers interact with their utility providers. Complex political and regulatory changes and an increasingly competitive market spurred on by emerging technology means that consumers have a huge degree of choice between potential suppliers and tariffs. Utility providers are under constant pressure to improve customer retention while simultaneously reducing operational costs.

To compete in the current market, and future-proof their presence in the landscape, providers must embrace the digital transformation and cloud revolution.  Improving the customer experience, making changes to increase operational efficiency and exploring new workforce management solutions are essential if organisations are to ensure sustainable success.

To deliver a measurable and positive impact, utility providers should harness digital transformation trends to build a detailed understanding of how consumers want to be treated, and develop a process centred on those needs. If you can embrace the emerging trends, you’ll be able to drastically improve your customer experience.

Developing the Customer Experience

Your customers expect timely communications and greater billing transparency – they demand their providers deliver solutions and services that do more and create new and improved user experiences.

There have been nearly 7 million smart meters already installed across the UK, and the number of Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices in the home has grown more than 16% year on year*. The amount of data available and its potential application is monumental. This increased information availability is rapidly redefining the approach providers take to their customers. More and more are now able to utilise the data available to them to personalise their service offerings and improve their end to end customer experience.

Crucially, adopting a digital first mentality doesn’t just entail streamlining processes, but increasing both the volume and value of data generated by connected assets across the business. As the number of connections increases, more processes can be automated.

Automation and data exchange can rapidly increase operational efficiency, enabling the proactive detection of failures, the identification of trends and patterns within IoT to boost operating efficiencies, and extending asset life and availability in compliance with ever changing regulatory requirements.

Using Digital Transformation Trends as a Competitive Differentiator

As the utilities sector sees more new entrants, differentiation becomes more important. Finding a way to set your organisation apart from the competition is fast becoming the strongest way to carve out a place in the new agile utilities landscape.

The right employment of digital transformation trends offers the chance for providers to stand out – whether this is through data driven personalisation of services, leveraging IoT insights to drive new business models or applying artificial intelligence tools to evaluate the gaps in a customer journey and build ever more effective customer engagement strategies.

Emerging technologies like chatbots present utilities providers with the opportunity to increase availability and improve responsiveness, whilst simultaneously reducing call volumes and steering more customers toward self-service channels. Using data gathered by IoT devices to inform channel availability and drive knowledge base content, providers can increase customer satisfaction and ensure faster resolutions to simple queries surrounding topics like billing or account amendments.

WFM and Collaboration Trends

It’s 2018. Odds are, your workers are increasingly mobile, moving between sites, the office and home environments. Flexibility and adaptability are crucial, and your teams should be free to access corporate working tools at any time, in any place and across any device – driving collaboration.

More and more utilities providers are now exploring systems which enable data sharing and integration as well as collaboration. Organisations can manage agent workflows and provide alerts with customisable systems which fully support an omnichannel approach and enable:

  • Integrated channel management
  • Intelligent routing of interactions
  • Smart desktop to help agents as they handle interactions
  • Quality Management, Workforce Optimization

Additionally, protecting legacy knowledge and expertise which threatens to disappear with an ageing, retiring workforce necessitates digital transformation. By improving the employee experience and facilitating agent activity, utility providers can turn their staff into digital advocates. Automation should be focused on empowerment and facilitating better connections and insights. With staff engaged and supportive of digital tools, utility providers can adopt a systematic approach to modernising and expanding their customer service offerings.

The utilities landscape is undergoing a seismic shift. By embracing the vast range of opportunities to improve efficiency, connectivity and responsiveness, utilities will be expertly placed to deliver operational excellence. Delighting customers and reducing costs, utility providers who recognise the need to adapt to emerging digital trends are poised to take their first steps on the path to true operational sustainability – a path that leads them far ahead of their competition.

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