Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come a long way. I have been a staunch believer of the power of AI to help companies unearth efficiency opportunities. Utility industries especially can learn a lot from some of the best practices out there. Though I personally am proud of the progress made in this field by utility industries, there are some specific use cases focused on customer experience and engagement that are close to my heart. Sharing some here for some much-needed mid-week food for thought.
Predicting customer issues:
In our implementations, we have seen a common pattern. Based on customers’ usage, we often see certain issues popping up which can easily be handled through proactive alerts or warnings. For example, some customers might end up spending a bit more than their usual threshold. On a closer look, you might see that the data was available all along and it was simply a matter of paying attention. With an automated utility solution armed with relevant data points, alerts can be provided when a threshold is crossed to ensure the customer monitors their usage proactively (with some assistance from the solution of course). This will ensure that customers’ time, cost and resources are saved while also helping them stay loyal to your brand owing to great customer service. And companies look more empathetic and compassionate towards customers.
Providing an integrated customer service:
How many times have you personally faced this difficult situation? You call up a customer care number and explain your problem only to get disconnected just when you are about to get your problem resolved. You do not give up and open up the chat window. And, end up explaining your problem all over again. I have definitely experienced this. This is frustrating, time consuming and definitely leads to a bad taste. With an automated utility solution, this problem can be resolved. An end-to-end, integrated customer service solution can help link the data points from multiple channels to understand a customer’s historical transactions and discussions to provide a solution quickly and seamlessly, without them having to explain their problem all over again. Agents (and digital assistants) are also better equipped to handle situations since they know the history, can switch between channels and can suggest relevant solutions, leading to customer delight. After all, context is key.
Selling the relevant products/solutions:
Another favourite topic of mine (and I am sure this will appeal to you too) is the ability to personalize offers to customers. With AI, your teams will have relevant information about your customers, their transactions and their history among other important data points. In the utility industry, services might seem straightforward, but this is where the power of data and AI can really help you shine through. A constant feedback loop and a deeper analysis of vast amounts of customer data ensure that you know what your customers have and what they need additionally. So, the next time a customer calls up to know about their bill amount, you could provide a quick overview about your latest (relevant) package which can help them save money while enjoying a seamless experience. Or you could offer to fix a leakage issue which might have been highlighted in a previous conversation with one of your team members but might not have been fixed if the customer was busy. Thus, segmenting customers becomes easier while focus can also be provided to proactively offer solutions of value/relevancy. Aah, the magic of data 😊
Enhancing your team’s performance, leading to better customer experience:
A utility company, or any company for that matter, can only be as good as its employees. While a lot of focus goes on ensuring that customers are taken care of well, one important aspect that gets missed is the employee ecosystem. When a customer calls, an agent might end up opening up multiple tabs, looking at various screens or going through lengthy conversations to know about a customer. And more often than not, the agent might end up asking repetitive questions which could further impact employee morale while also getting your customer satisfaction scores a few notches lower. An automated AI-powered utility cloud based solution can make this task a lot more seamless and connected, wherein the agent can simply get access to relevant dashboards and views of customer data, and then focus on solving customer issues right away. Which leads to a happy employee and a satisfied customer. A total win-win! Additionally, with data and AI, your teams can also further enhance their work by getting tasks assigned based on their qualifications, skillsets, past performance etc. which ultimately will reflect well on the overall experience of customers.
The future looks even more exciting as we think about more use cases. A good example that comes to my mind right now is the possibility of using drones to collect images of transformers, conductors and distribution systems. Once that information is collected, AI can help make sense of the huge volumes of data that will now be available to fix issues more proactively. The key lies in making sure you have a well-thought-out strategy to make AI work for your utility challenges. If this is something that might interest you, we would be happy to help out! Get in touch with us today!